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EMC VP Chuck Hollis has written up a nice synthesis of how grid computing and virtualization are related:

Given that IT organizations will end up having both — applications
that are smaller than a server, and applications that are larger than a
server, it’s a useful exercise to think what’s in common, rather than
what’s different.  And the list is pretty similar.

  • Both abstract an application from the underlying resources.
  • Both need the ability to dynamically react to the need for less or more resources.
  • Both need similar capabilities to be invoked, orchestrated and service-level managed.
  • Both need a common data space to do their work — no hard-binding of information to application will work here.

I also think Chuck gives the good 50,000 foot view in the first part of his entry — it’s all about the  containers. Once the compute workloads are in the logical containers (virtual machines) you can then spindle, fold, and mutilate as you need — server partitioning, grid computing, or a future desktop made of a swarm of cooperating virtual appliances that may even live back on the server.