The University of Southampton

New middleware package emphasises security and useability

Published: 22 October 2004

A new middleware package which will take grid computing out of research laboratories and into industry will be pre-released on Monday 25 October. The middleware is the first to be released by the Open Middleware Infrastructure Institute (OMII), whose mission is to become the UK source for reliable, open-source Grid Middleware. The OMII was launched earlier this year and is based in the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. OMII is a £6.5m project funded by the UK e-science programme and led by Professor Peter Henderson and Professor David De Roure. Grid Middleware is already being manufactured and promoted by several organisations, but according to Dr Alistair Dunlop, Director of OMII, greater emphasis needs to be placed on useability of these systems with a low entry cost to organisations. ‘Customers have made significant investments in tooling and standards and they want to use these existing tools to develop standard-compliant web services,’ he said. OMII has taken the middleware that exists on the market and refined the codes so that it is packaged in a way that meets users’ needs. The OMII Grid infrastructure does this by providing a number of common services, such as security and accounting, which are available to all deployed applications and which as a result benefit from a consistent security policy. Dr Dunlop said: ‘This is good news for collaborative science. OMII has invested a significant amount of time and effort on improving the ease with which the grids can be established and managed. This is an area which has befallen grids of the past. OMII’s emphasis is a major shift in taking Grid computing out of research labs and into industry.’ A public pre-release of the new software will take place on 25 October, followed by full release on 6 December 2004.

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