A Grid for Every Application
I want you to pay special attention to the following two attributes:
"The application requires management automation"
"The application is composed of [discrete] work units"
I am proposing a different perspective regarding what applications are applicable for the Grid. Even though the traditional Massively Parallelizable Application (MPP) is one candidate, I want you to start looking for applications that require management automation or applications that have discrete units of work; in other words, applications that have certainty when a unit of work starts and when it ends. Grid is perfect for these common applications, although they have not been the focal point due to the inflexibility of existing Grid infrastructures.
After all, what I are actually talking about is the promise of virtualization. (In the opening paraagraph, I said I was not going to refer to virtualization) A grid infrastructure has the ability to provide your application a level of management and provisioning—and in turn reduce manpower and resource required to maintain your application.
The xFactor Factor
As mentioned in a previous article, "Messaging and the Grid, the Perfect Marriage," the xFactor product is composed of a software stack (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: The xFactor Software Stack
This layered approach allows an application to take advantage of both the data plane (Messaging layer) and the compute plane (Grid layer). The Data Plane is the area where less repetitive applications would normally exist; this is the classic EAI application where two distributed processes are communicating thru a message bus. Depending on the subscription, an application may receive a number of messages that it needs to process and respond to.
The xFactor allows for this application to be "upgraded" one layer to the Compute Plane and take advantage of the services provided by the Grid, but still have the advantage of the message bus. Traditionally, to be considered for Grid-enabling, applications had to conform to a set of rules; one key rule requires repetitive work units (Table 1). xFactor allows applications to take advantage of the Grid layer but still have the advantage of the Messaging layer; it is a powerful tool that practically eliminates the need for repetitive work units.
There are many pre-conceived notions of "what is Grid-enable-able?" In this article, Ichose a different approach to the question of Grid-enabling applications and offered some advice. Furthermore, I characterized how the xFactor product allows one to Reconfigure Your Thoughts® per se, and start thinking about Grid and applications suited for Grid, differently.
About the Author
Art Sedighi is the CTO and founder of SoftModule. SoftModule is a startup company with engineering and development offices in Boston and Tel-Aviv and a sales and management office in New York. He is also the Chief Architect for SoftModule's xFactor product that has risen from a current need in the market to manage excessive demands of computing power at a lower cost.
Before SoftModule, Mr. Sedighi held a Senior Consulting Engineer position at DataSynapse, where he designed and implemented Grid and Distributed Computing fabrics for the Fortune 500. Before DataSynapse, Mr. Sedighi spent a number of years at TIBCO Software, where he implemented high-speed messaging solutions for organizations such as the New York Stock Exchange, UBS, Credit Suisse, US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, and many others. Mr. Sedighi received his BS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Computer Science, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
 Please see my previously published article, titled "Grids, Clusters, Virtualized Environment, and All of That."
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