Analysis: Open-Source Projects Offer Free Grid Computing For Microsoft .Net - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Analysis: Open-Source Projects Offer Free Grid Computing For Microsoft .Net

The open-source Alchemi and NGrids projects could make grid computing practical for midsized companies.

The open-source Alchemi project run by the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the open-source NGrid project can help jump-start the next generation of grid computing for the Microsoft .Net platform.

Until now, these virtual supercomputing platforms were accessible only to large financial firms, federal government agencies and universities. But these projects might just turn this field around and by allowing midsize companies to do massive parallel processing on any available hardware. More important, with these technologies, any solution provider with Visual Basic or C# experience can create grid-enabled programs in minutes.

For a long time now, the mysticism behind parallelism has rested on archaic methods to split logic so that logical programming processes could be broken into single tasks and work independently. Yet parallel programs also can work well on data-intensive applications, which make up the bulk of business applications.

So just about any organization that processes large volumes of data or that needs to perform data analysis can take advantage of virtual computing. Local government agencies, including policy departments, also are ideal places for deploying grids. These agencies are always interested in human intelligence and human activity tracking, which requires high computing power.

The efforts of the Alchemi and NGrid projects make grid computing extremely easy. In the case of Alchemi, setting up a grid is as easy as installing an Alchemi Manager module on one PC and an Alchemi Executor module on another. Alchemi provides a hierarchical grid model in which a manager can also become an executor. This technique forces a tree structure that always maintains a top-level manager to control all distributed agents.

NGrid, on the other hand, provides a distributed architecture--instead of a hierarchical one--by abstracting physical grids and allowing managers to share memory through a "garbage collecting" model. This model might provide new ways to perform grid computing on a massive scale.

In addition to .Net efforts, both projects aim to build platform independent grids so that Linux grids can integrate with them. However, NGrid is part of the Mono project, so it works directly on Linux machines. The Alchemi project is now at version 1, so it is a stable product. And besides grid-enabling .Net applications, Alchemi provides a file-based grid job model to run jobs. Alchemi also supports any .Net language.

Both products can be found at and

MARIO MOREJON is a technical editor for the CRN Test Center.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
How COVID is Changing Technology Futures
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/23/2020
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Special Report: Why Performance Testing is Crucial Today
This special report will help enterprises determine what they should expect from performance testing solutions and how to put them to work most efficiently. Get it today!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll