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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Screencasts and contrasting Sun Grid

Jon Udell, lead analyst at InfoWorld, recently posted a screencast of the Sun Grid Compute Utility (Screening Room #4: The Sun grid compute utility).

I enjoy reading Mr. Udell on his blog and in InfoWorld as well as listening to him on the Gillmor Gang.  He brings together both the broad view of an industry analyst with the deep dive on the technical only achieved by a developer.  In fact, he is a developer (for example, he recently deployed metadata searching and exploring services for InfoWorld).

In the Sun Grid Utility screencast, Mr. Udell does a good job of quickly showing the major functionality of the Utility and the Compute Server project (i.e., Java APIs for communicating with the Utility).  The screencast is not too different from the webcasts we do for the Digipede Network, our distributed computing solution for the Microsoft .NET platform.  The quality of Mr. Udell’s questions in his screencast are on par with the best questions we get in our webcasts — he clearly groks distributed computing.

Sun Grid appears simple but is deceptively hard to use.  Simplicity was a primary reason we developed the Digipede Network: we don’t think distributed computing needs to be complicated.  I think we have been pretty successful at that.  Of course, I’m biased, but: stay tuned for an upcoming independent review that contrasts the Digipede Network favorably against Sun Grid on this very point.

The Digipede Network is a Windows-focused product that shares some similarities to Sun Grid (specifically Sun Grid Engine).  Here are some differences between the Digipede Network and Sun Grid:

  • We do .NET 1.1 and 2.0, as well as command-line and other stand-alone applications.
  • We have full support for COM on both the front-end and on the distributed program.
  • .NET and COM developers can serialize assemblies, data and objects into messages do be distributed for execution.
  • Our SDK and community site includes samples in many languages (C#, Python, PHP, VB6, VB Script).  We plan to put together a Java example, though honestly the demand hasn’t been that great.
  • The SDK integrates with VS2003 and VS2005, supplying developers with samples, a developer guide, API documentations, and XML schemas for Intellisense.
  • We have a Workbench that allows you to design your jobs without writing any code.
  • Our Agents are smart about data and applications.   They can cache persistent applications and move data from and to file servers and web sites (in addition to the messaging described above).
  • Applications can be configured externally.
  • Jobs can be defined through XML or programmatically.
  • We have a much richer user experience for control and monitoring of jobs through an ASP.NET Web site.
  • You don’t need Solaris 😉

If you want to see this stuff in action, sign up for one of our webinars here or go to MSDN.  They recently hosted two webinars on the Digipede Network: Object-Oriented Programming for Grid: Grid Computing for .NET and Advanced .NET Programming for Grid Computing.

And Mr. Udell, we would love to do a screencast with you, too.

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