Although "the Grid" is still just a dream... grid computing is already reality.
Imagine several million computers from all over the world, and owned by thousands of different people. Imagine they include desktops, laptops, supercomputers, data vaults, and instruments like mobile phones, meteorological sensors and telescopes...
Now imagine that all of these computers can be connected to form a single, huge and super-powerful computer! This huge, sprawling, global computer is what many people dream "The Grid" will be.
"The Grid" takes its name from an analogy with the electrical "power grid". The idea was that accessing computer power from a computer grid would be as simple as accessing electrical power from an electrical grid".
HOW FAR CAN THIS "GRID" ANALOGY STRETCH?
Let's compare an electrical power grid with the dream "Grid":
|Electrical power grid||The Grid|
|You never worry about where the electricity you are using comes from, if it is from coal in Australia, from wind power in the U.S. or from a nuclear plant in France. You simply know that when you plug your toaster in to the wall socket, it will get the electrical power you need to do the job.
||You would never worry about where the computer power you are using comes from, if it is from a supercomputer in Germany, a computer farm in India or a laptop in New Zealand. You simply know that when you plug your computer in to the Internet, it will get the computer power you need to do the job.|
|The infrastructure that makes this possible is called "the power grid". It links together power plants of many different kinds with your home, through transmission stations, power stations, transformers, powerlines and so forth.
||The infrastructure that makes this possible is called "the Grid". It links together computing resources such as PCs, workstations, servers, storage elements, and provides the mechanism needed to access them.|
|The power grid is pervasive: electricity is available essentially everywhere and you can simply access it through a standard wall socket.||The Grid is be pervasive: remote computing resources would be accessible from different platforms, including laptops, PDAs and mobile phones, and you will simply access the Grid through your web browser.|
|The power grid is a utility: you ask for electricity, and you get it. You also pay for what you get.||The Grid is a utility: you ask for computer power or storage capacity and you get it. You also pay for what you get.|
"The Grid" doesn't yet exist in this form; however, the world already has hundreds of smaller grids...