Lessons in Grid Computing

“How’d you like to read book on grid computing?” I asked my boss.
“About as much as having my spleen removed without anesthetic,” he replied.

“Well, it could be less painful than that,” I said. “This book’s called Lessons in Grid Computing. Author Stuart Robbins, a management consultant and executive director of the CIO Collective, argues grid computing is the best thing in IT since sliced silicon.”

“Sounds dull.”

“It isn’t. You see, rather than write a boring textbook only MBAs would appreciate, Robbins has crafted each chapter as a semi-fictitious story from people he’s interviewed talking about problems they’ve encountered and how they were solved. The stories fit together to explain how a grid approach will improve an organization’s efficiency.”

The boss yawned and fiddled with his engraved Parker pen. He did that a lot. I knew I had to delve in a little deeper to gain his attention, like characters in Robbins’ stories.

“There are little asides about individuals’ quirks, which are likely imaginary,” I said. “I think they are inserted to give the stories some humour, but not distract from his main points.

“You see,” I continued, “Robbins believes IT managers are handicapped by an inability to explain themselves to executives and customers, so by using metaphors to explain things like virtualization in a non-technical way, he hopes they might learn ways of expressing revolutionary concepts to C-level executives and customers more simply.”

That perked up The Big Guy. “Revolutionary? Grid computing? Why, it’s been talked about for several years. But recently Forrester Research said it thinks grid computing is only applicable to a small portion of the applications in most enterprises.”

“Robbins, I think, would go further than that. He argues in the book that we’re on the verge of a tectonic shift in IT, and grid computing will be a key part of it. But he also argues that it won’t come about unless people in organizations change they way they work. Like a grid that borrows IT resources, teams of people will have to be created, dissolve and be re-created. Or, in Robbins’ words, we must transform ourselves to the same degree that we want to transform out systems.”

“Did you like the book?” asked the boss.

“Yes, I did.”

“Sounds like it could be a good one to review.”

“I think I will.”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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