A grid computing framework for commercial simulation packages
An increased need for collaborative research among different organizations, together with continuing advances in communication technology and computer hardware, has facilitated the development of distributed systems that can provide users non-trivial access to geographically dispersed computing resources (processors, storage, applications, data, instruments, etc.) that are administered in multiple computer domains. The term grid computing or grids is popularly used to refer to such distributed systems. A broader definition of grid computing includes the use of computing resources within an organization for running organization-specific applications. This research is in the context of using grid computing within an enterprise to maximize the use of available hardware and software resources for processing enterprise applications. Large scale scientific simulations have traditionally been the primary benefactor of grid computing. The application of this technology to simulation in industry has, however, been negligible. This research investigates how grid technology can be effectively exploited by simulation practitioners using Windows-based commercially available simulation packages to model simulations in industry. These packages are commonly referred to as Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Simulation Packages (CSPs). The study identifies several higher level grid services that could be potentially used to support the practise of simulation in industry. It proposes a grid computing framework to investigate these services in the context of CSP-based simulations. This framework is called the CSP-Grid Computing (CSP-GC) Framework. Each identified higher level grid service in this framework is referred to as a CSP-specific service. A total of six case studies are presented to experimentally evaluate how grid computing technologies can be used together with unmodified simulation packages to support some of the CSP-specific services. The contribution of this thesis is the CSP-GC framework that identifies how simulation practise in industry may benefit from the use of grid technology. A further contribution is the recognition of specific grid computing software (grid middleware) that can possibly be used together with existing CSPs to provide grid support. With its focus on end-users and end-user tools, it is intended that this research will encourage wider adoption of grid computing in the workplace and that simulation users will derive benefit from using this technology.