Next-Generation Globus Toolkit Released

The next-generation Globus toolkit that combines Grid technology with Web services was released in alpha form at the GlobusWorld conference this week.

The Globus Toolkit 3.0 (GT3) implements the Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) vision for the convergence of Grid computing and Web services, an effort that began with the open-source Globus Project and IBM and grew into a broader effort of the standards-setting Global Grid Forum. The alpha release is available at .

The open-source Globus Toolkit has become a de facto standard for Grid computing and transformed the way on-line resources are shared across organizations.

Ten companies and seven research projects announced that they are committed to use of GT3 and OGSA, including Avaki, Cray, Entropia, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle, Platform Computing, Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, and Veridian. Research projects include FusionGrid, TeraGrid, the Department of Energy Science Grid, the Grid Physics Network (GriPhyN), the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, the International Virtual Data Grid Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative.

“The Grid’s promise of seamlessly sharing resources across distributed organizations takes another major step towards realization with GT3 and its implementation of the OGSA standards,” said Globus Project co-leader Ian Foster of Argonne National Laboratory. “The array of partners that we have assembled demonstrates the power of combining open source and open standards with industrial investment.”

The project’s other co-leaders are Carl Kesselman, professor of computer science at the University of Southern California and director of the USC Information Sciences Institute’s Center for Grid Technologies, and Steve Tuecke, lead architect of Argonne’s Distributed Systems Laboratory.

“The Globus Toolkit 3.0 is not only an important element of IBM’s Grid strategy, it represents a significant milestone for the computing industry,” said Tom Hawk, IBM’s general manager of Grid computing. “Over time, I believe we’ll look back on 2003 as one of the key acceleration years in Grid because of the introduction of Globus Tookkit 3.0 and its implementation of the emerging Open Grid Services Architecture standard. OGSA and the Globus Toolkit are as important to the development of Grid as TCP/IP was to the development of the Internet.”

The alpha release is the result of more than a year’s effort toward defining specifications for Grid services that extend standard Web services. The OGSA-based alpha version builds on prior releases of the Globus Toolkit, which is central to hundreds of science and
engineering projects on the Grid.

The Globus Project said GT3 will benefit from an expanding community of developers who are closely involved in helping to develop Grid standards through the Global Grid Forum (GGF), a community-based organization with public- and private-sector contributors. For example, the UK e-Science program is leading the GGF’s OGSA Database Access and Integration (DAIS) working group to build database capabilities into OGSA and GT3. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is also contributing directly to the GT3 code base.

“GT3 provides a major step forward in the functionality provided by the Globus Toolkit,” said Kesselman. “However, of equal importance is that GT3 builds on OGSA, which in turn builds on Web services. By leveraging widely supported commodity technologies, we can lower the barrier of entry to the deployment of Grids and the development of Grid technologies. As a consequence, we expect to see the base of GT3 deployment to extend into new and important user communities.”

The GT3 beta release will debut in Spring 2003, with official release in Summer 2003, Tuecke said. “The term ‘alpha’ means code that works to the best of its developers’ knowledge, but is not final or bug-free. Support for the alpha release will be on a best-effort basis, because the Globus Project development team will be focused largely on
improving the implementation for future releases.”

Development of GT3 is sponsored primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science’s Mathematical, Information and Computational Sciences Division, as well as by industry partners IBM and Microsoft Research.

“Grid technologies are essential to the scientific mission of the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Ed Oliver, Associate Director for the DOE Advanced Scientific Computing Research Office (ASCR). “ASCR has long supported this type of fundamental R&D both to further the study of computer science, and to add important new capabilities to energy-related research. We are also gratified by the Grid’s broad impact in commercial computing, which is a secondary but important benefit.”

For a sampling of responses to the alpha release of the Globus Toolkit 3.0, click here.