Grid Computing: Adoption Realities
If you go to Google and search on “tipping point” “grid computing” and then read through some of the articles, you’ll see people say that grid computing has reached its tipping point. Checking the dates on those articles you can see that some folks have been saying this for a couple years. But it’s not true. If I still have to explain to people what grid computing is, then it hasn’t reached a tipping point. I don’t think that it will for about four more years. A tipping point is reached when the need for a product or service has become a “must have”.
Business adoption of Grid computing as envisioned by Globus is going to take some time. Mostly because it requires a paradigm shift. The scientific and academic communities are built on the concept of collaboration. Sharing and exchange of ideas is part of the culture. This is not to say that there is no competition, but there is a level of expected sharing. The business community is quite a bit more cut throat. It’s a “dog eat dog world” so to say. Winning in business is measured by market share and profit. And winning happens because you have more of the right information then your competitors. The competitive nature of business will keep grid solutions in-house. And the cost of using the Globus toolkit will keep those types of grid solutions in large enterprises.
Adoption will follow the steps identified by Geoffrey A. Moore in his book “Crossing the Chasm”; Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards.
The Innovators are the Globus, academic, and scientific communities. The Early Adopters are the large companies currently using grid computing. These are enterprise companies with the money, resources and time needed to build grid solutions themselves (or hire the expensive consultants to build it for them). The Early Majority are now starting to come on board because they’ve seen the ROI that the Early Adopters have gained. And they are starting to realize that they can not compete if they don’t.
The Early Majority are looking for an inexpensive and risk free way to deploy grid computing within their organization. That is where companies providing packaged, out-of-the-box grid platforms can contribute. Like Digipede Technologies, these companies will provide homogeneous systems that are inexpensive to deploy and easy to use. This is a common trend in business. The companies first into a market are like the ice breaking ships that clear shipping lanes; they’re out there getting out the message. The smaller companies with more flexible approaches come in behind filling the voids. Bridging the chasm. And this is where the grid computing market is right now. We are looking across the chasm to all those Early Majority customers, each company hoping to win over the Early Majority because only they have the power to create a tipping point.