A lightweight application hosting environment for grid computing

PV Coveney and SK Sadiq and RS Saksena and J Thyveetil and SJ Zasada and M Mc Keown and S Pickles, Proceedings of the UK e-Science All Hands Meeting 2006, 217-224 (2006).

Current grid computing 1, 2 technologies have often been seen as being too heavyweight and unwieldy from a client perspective, requiring complicated installation and configuration steps to be taken that are beyond the ability of most end users. This has led many of the people who would benefit most from grid technology, namely application scientists, to avoid using it. In response to this we have developed the Application Hosting Environment, a lightweight, easily deployable environment designed to allow the scientist to quickly and easily run unmodified applications on remote grid resources. We do this by building a layer of middleware on top of existing technologies such as Globus, and expose the functionally as web services using the WSRF::Lite toolkit to manage the running application's state. The scientist can start and manage the application he wants to use via these services, with the extra layer of middleware abstracting the details of the particular underlying grid middleware in use. The resulting system provides a great deal of flexibility, allowing clients to be developed for a range of devices from PDAs to desktop machines, and command line clients which can be scripted to produce complicated application workflows.

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