Grid standard groups unite to form Open Grid Forum

Grid standard groups unite to form Open Grid Forum

Two grid standards bodies will merge into a single organization sticking to their promise of unification made in February.

Two former dueling grid groups Monday made good on their February promise to merge with the mission of speeding the adoption of grid technology worldwide.

The Global Grid Forum (GGF) and the Enterprise Grid Alliance (EGA) will become the Open Grid Forum (OGF). The combined standards body will be led by Mark Linesch as OGF president and chief executive officer. Linesch was previously the GGF chairman.

"This is an opportunity to bring the entire grid community together and to more efficiently collaborate with key stakeholders in other parts of the world," Linesch said. "We'll be able to communicate with a single voice more clearly around grid and distributed computing issues." OGF will likely reach out to other standards bodies outside the grid world, notably the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Storage Networking Industry Association, he added.

In the past, despite the GGF's stronger focus on the grid requirements of IT vendors and the EGA's emphasis on meeting the needs of enterprise users, the two organizations sometimes appeared in conflict with each other. This apparent disharmony led to speculation about whether a single organization would better serve the needs of GGF and EGA constituents.

"If there was any confusion in the marketplace, hopefully that will be addressed by the OGF," said Don Deutsch, former president of the EGA. "Virtually all of enterprise technology providers will be at this table and speaking with one voice."

The GGF and EGA signed a nonbinding merger agreement on Feb. 6. As of Monday, they signed a definitive agreement to merge. The new combined entity plans its official "coming-out party" with a full lineup of board members to coincide with the GridWorld conference which is due to take place Sept. 11-14 in Washington, D.C., Linesch said.

In surveys, GGF and EGA members have called for a combined organization to link the interests of the academic, corporate and government grid communities, he added. The members also want to see openness and a democratic process from the OGF in how the body conducts its operations.

"We're attempting to really balance the capabilities of the EGA and the GGF," Linesch said. He also stressed OGF's desire to achieve balance between its membership, aiming at companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle and at individuals involved in grid technology.

The standards body will offer three levels of organizational membership -- US$50,000 for platinum level membership where an organization is eligible for one of the 10 organizational board seats, US$25,000 for gold and US$10,000 for silver. Nonprofits will be able to join at the silver level for US$5,000. Individuals pay a US$100 membership fee. There will also be five at-large board seats that will be drawn from the OGF community.

Some topics OGF is keen to weigh in on are how grids integrate with virtualization, SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and automated systems, Linesch said. As with other emerging technologies, the obstacles to adopting grid computing center around "people, process and technology," he added. Besides getting a handle on new IT products, organizations also have to retrain staff and rethink some of their core processes.

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