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Adobe, GridIron Bring Grid To The Masses

Adobe Systems and GridIron Software have partnered to deliver the first mass-market Grid computing product, a Grid-enabled version of Adobe After Effects.

"You'll be able walk into CompUSA and buy this," says GridIron marketing VP Gord Watts. "This is a significant evolution in Grid computing."

The companies say the next release of Adobe After Effects Professional software will be "the first commercially available solution for consumers and small to medium businesses to harness the power of Grid computing." Adobe plans to include a version of GridIron XLR8 in the next release.

After Effects produces motion graphics and effects for film, video, DVD and the Web. Adobe will use GridIron's software to increase the speed of the preview and rendering capabilities by dividing and distributing the work ordinarily performed on a single computer among several computers joined together in a network.

Adobe says the addition of GridIron "provides Adobe After Effects with increased speed at a low cost without the need to spend time allocating resources or configuring your network."

GridIron's technology addresses one of the biggest challenges facing Grid computing: Grid-enabling applications so they can run in parallel or distributed environments. The company provides a software development kit for developers to modify code and recompile applications so they can run in Grid environments, without having to use "tremendously complex" protocols for message passing such as MPI, Watts says.

"If the software developer knows the code, they should be able to go in and Grid-enable it," Watts says.

The application-embedded approach requires no special skills and provides linear performance improvement with as few as two computers, allowing the benefits of Grid computing to be realized for the first time in non-traditional markets, such as digital content creation, GridIron says.

GridIron also released version 2.0 of its XLR8 software, boosting Grid security through job and Grid authentication. The software, installed on each processing node, will only execute jobs from applications authenticated by using a strong standards-based PKCS7 certificate. The nodes work from a Grid I.D. and password model to prevent unauthorized access to Grid resources.

XLR8 2.0 also introduces new capabilities for transferring large amounts of data to many computers in a Grid without using network-congesting technologies such as broadcasting or multicasting. The technology allows data to be moved from one computer to all machines in a Grid as quickly as it would take to move it to a single computer, GridIron says.

XLR8 2.0 also extends operating system support to Solaris versions 2.7, 8 and 9, adding to current support of Windows XP/NT/2000/2003, Mac OS X and Linux. The GridIron development environment supports C/C++ and Java.