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Grid Meets P2P

A new Global Grid Forum paper examines ways to make grid computing and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications work together.

The paper, by Karan Bhatia of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Per Brand of Sweden's SICS, Sergio Mendiola of Oracle Corp., Microsoft's Alex Mallet and Karlo Berket of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was published to the grid standards group's Document Series last month.

The paper, Peer-To-Peer Requirements On The Open Grid Services Architecture Framework, is the work of the grid forum's OGSAP2P research group that looked at ways to use the open-source grid framework for P2P applications.

"As the next generation of grid computing protocols centered on Web services and the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) are developed, the peer-to-peer community must determine how these protocols can be used for building peer-to-peer applications," the authors wrote.

However, they acknowledged, "such applicability is not immediately obvious, since peer-to-peer systems have significantly different properties compared to traditional server-based grid systems."

P2P systems use different models of security and trust, with the machine user as the administrator, and they have different connectivity characteristics (machine IP addresses may change due to mobility or firewalls) and usage models (instant messaging, file sharing and collaboration).

"Despite these differences, the shear numbers of desktop systems available today make the potential advantages of interoperability between desktops and servers into a single grid system quite compelling," the authors said.

'Ubiquitous Networks' are the Future

The authors speculated that "ubiquitous network connections and interactions between devices, systems, services, people and organizations" will become "the rule rather than the exception. The realization of the full potential of all conceivable patterns of interaction and collaboration will require a sophisticated global infrastructure on top of which service providers can develop their applications."

OGSA is a step toward such an infrastructure, the paper said, combining the virtual organization of the Globus open source grid middleware with Web services.

Peer resources accessed through P2P applications "could be an important resource within the grid computing infrastructure, and peer-to-peer technologies could enable larger-scale, higher-performance grid systems," they wrote.

The paper includes a number of use cases addressing needs such as scalability, connectivity, discovery, security and availability. The paper can be found at: www.ggf.org/documents.