Software and computing cyles are moving onparallel tracks toward a destination we call "service-oriented IT."We tend to refer to many service-focused, software advancements as "Web services," while many are now referring to on-demand, data processing services as "grid computing." But while Web services technology is now being introduced in and by several companies, the grid remains elusive. That is, grid computingdefined as real-time access to asingle, global, internetconnected network of shared computing power.
Wolfgang Gentzsch, a former leader in grid computing at Sun Microsystems who now leadsNorth Carolina's statewide grid initiative, says today's "grid-like" projects are merely meant to provide a "glimpse" of where grid computing is eventually headed."Constructing a single, global grid will mean solving difficult security, privacy and billing problems," writes the Economist. "Yet the hurdles are not so much technological as political, economic and terminological. The dream of a single grid, akin to the web in its simplicity and pervasiveness, still seems a long way off..."