Globus Toolkit v. 4.0 Released

By Nicole Hemsoth

May 9, 2005

The Globus Consortium announced the release of Globus Toolkit, version 4.0 (GT4), developed by the Globus Alliance. The Globus Toolkit is an open standards building block for enterprise-level Grid implementations.

GT4 is the most stable, “enterprise ready” version of the Globus Toolkit ever — incorporating the latest Web services standards, new security and authorization features, and the collaborative efforts of a global community of open source Grid developers. GT4 can be downloaded at www.globustoolkit.org.

“Interoperability, flexibility and the freedom to choose the best vendor products and equipment is what enterprise Grid is all about,” said Ian Foster, board member with the Globus Consortium. “The leading enterprise Grid vendors and standards bodies are standing behind GT4 as the preferred open source software for enterprise Grids. By building Grids with the Globus Toolkit, and by working with vendors who support the Globus Toolkit — organizations can best position themselves to exploit the full potential of enterprise Grid.”

For nearly a decade, a global community of Grid developers have contributed to Globus Toolkit code, and this latest GT4 release includes all of the necessary tools for building an enterprise Grid. Key additions to GT4 include:

  • GT4 complies with the latest Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I) Web services standards, which provides maximum interoperability between different environments.
  • GT4 includes initial support for important authorization standards, including Security Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML). These provide business with a foundation for building a secure Web-services enabled Grid infrastructure.
  • GT4 implements the Web Services Resource Framework (WS-RF) and Web Services Notification (WS-N) specifications, which are emerging standards in OASIS backed by major vendors for Web services enablement of Grid and resource management systems.
  • GT4 features sophisticated authorization and security capabilities — Globus has always been diligent in Grid security, and GT4 is also “enterprise ready” from a security perspective.

“For nearly a decade, major vendors and standards bodies — including the Global Grid Forum (GGF) — have contributed to the open source Globus Toolkit,” said Mark Linesch, chair of the GGF. “The Globus Toolkit has seen terrific success in research, academic and commercial high- performance computing environments. By continuing to align with the latest Grid and Web services standards, GT4 is poised for broader adoption — particularly in enterprise markets where efficient resource sharing and more effective data integration are becoming increasingly critical.”

North Carolina-based MCNC, which tests and deploys advanced networking solutions on its North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN) in partnership with North Carolina universities and state government, recently performed successful “testbed” work on GT4 — with systems set up across the OC48 NCREN backbone. Vendor participants included Cisco, Gridwise Technologies, IBM, Network Appliance, Red Hat and Sun.

“GT4 brings in all the standards and interfaces,” said Wolfgang Gentzsch, managing director at MCNC who oversaw the GT4 testbed efforts. “GT4 is much more flexible — it brings in the ability to easily enhance Grid toward additional services, like accounting and billing, metering and measuring. Now that a larger part of GT4 is based on Web services — it is much easier to interface and communicate with other tools which are based on the same Web services standards. As a result, more and more commercial tools will be compliant in the near future with Grid services.”

Also standing behind the Globus Toolkit are the Globus Consortium Members — HP, IBM, Intel, Nortel, Sun and Univa — all of which have enterprise Grid products and services built on or around the Globus Toolkit. For example, IBM has offered its IBM Grid Toolbox based on the Globus Toolkit, and later this fall will announce a version based on GT4. And Grid Engine, the open source project sponsored by Sun, has been integrated into GT4 for a project at Imperial College in London. MCNC and Gridwise Technologies have also contributed to this effort.

“Globus Toolkit 4.0 allows enterprise users to bring standardized Web services into a Grid environment, further simplifying the automated allocation of resources available on a Grid,” said Greg Astfalk, chief scientist, office of corporate strategy and technology at HP. “HP sees Grid as a powerful way to virtualize and manage resources, enabling companies to respond to changing business needs and realize HP's vision of becoming Adaptive Enterprises.”

“Standards are key to accelerating adoption of Grid Computing in the commercial marketplace,” said Ken King, IBM vice president of Grid computing. “A key driver of Grid standards is the successful implementation and acceptance of Globus with enterprise customers. The new Globus Toolkit 4.0 adds more robust Web services capabilities, enhanced security and powerful authorization features that we believe will be very compelling to our customers as they look at Grid as a way to simplify their infrastructure.”

“Sun is actively engaged in bringing the productivity gains of Grid computing into the enterprise,” said Sohrab Modi, vice president of N1 Grid Systems at Sun Microsystems. “As a major supporter of open standards and open source software, Sun is pleased to see the arrival of Globus Toolkit 4 as another key tool toward achieving widespread use of Grid technologies in the enterprise.”

“Enterprises are increasingly challenged by constricting IT budgets, yet frustrated with proprietary, inflexible systems that remain under-utilized,” said Steve Tuecke, CEO of Univa Corp., a provider of commercial software, technical support and professional services for the Globus Toolkit. “Since the previous release of the Globus Toolkit, we have witnessed the emergence of many Web Services standards that are relevant for Grid infrastructure. Expanded support for these standards throughout GT4 enables enterprises to more easily integrate existing IT systems with Globus in order to optimize the use of existing computing, storage and networking resources.”

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