The world of information technology is changing rapidly and what may be the popular method of conducting business or gathering information today may be completely phased out in a few months. Grid computing and cloud computing are two powerful – but distinct – computing systems that attempt to accomplish many of the same common goals. This article will attempt to highlight the differences between grid and cloud computing by comparing them against a number of different performance factors.
Because a grid computing system relies on numerous high powered computers linked together using the same common network, they are able to boast very high storage capacities. Hard drives in excess of 1 terabyte are commonplace in today’s modern computing world, and a typical supercomputer has the capacity to hold multiple drives. While this may seem impressive, a cloud computing solution offers virtually unlimited storage because of the way the servers are all connected via the internet. There can be thousands of dedicated servers located all around the world connected to a central server that transmits data between each server. This allows a cloud system to host thousands upon thousands of terabytes of data, much more than a grid computing system.
Speed is everything in the world of information technology, and speed is improving with each passing day. That said, grid computing is the undisputed king when it comes to speed and efficiency. Because all of the computers in the grid are located in the same central location they are able to communicate with each other and transfer data much quicker than a cloud service can. Another factor that slows down cloud-based computer services is the transfer and encryption times required to transmit data from a virtual machine to the central server, and vice versa. A grid computing system, while still requiring some level of encryption, is able to store their databases in a central location, negating the speed lost due to transfer times over the internet.
While computing power isn’t such an important factor in cloud-based networking solution, it’s the name of the game when it comes to grid-based computer solutions. A grid network is able to process information at a much quicker rate because it combines numerous computers with high powered hardware all working together to accomplish the same goal. This is in contrast to a cloud-based service that is primarily interested in storing data securely, and storing a lot of it.
An allocation request happens each time somebody or something makes a request to interact with a computing system in some way. A grid computing network is designed primarily to handle a lower number of allocation requests than cloud systems, but the number of allocations they receive in a typical request is much higher than for cloud systems. As an example – a grid network would be able to handle thousands of requests for database access seamlessly and without issue, but a cloud server would have difficulty keeping up.
To contrast this, a cloud system is able to complete a much higher number of requests, although the number of allocations in each request is typically much lower. Choosing between a grid system or cloud system is highly dependent upon which type of data you’re attempting to transmit and store, and how often you must make allocation requests to the central server or database.
While it’s not possible to pinpoint which type of system is “better” because of the varying uses each system receives, it is possible to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each system. A grid network is more suited for lower requests while a cloud system can take a much higher number of allocation requests.