The open source GlobusĀ® Toolkit is a fundamental enabling technology for the “Grid,” letting people share computing power, databases, and other tools securely online across corporate, institutional, and geographic boundaries without sacrificing local autonomy. The toolkit includes software services and libraries for resource monitoring, discovery, and management, plus security and file management. In addition to being a central part of science and engineering projects that total nearly a half-billion dollars internationally, the Globus Toolkit is a substrate on which leading IT companies are building significant commercial Grid products.

The toolkit includes software for security, information infrastructure, resource management, data management, communication, fault detection, and portability. It is packaged as a set of components that can be used either independently or together to develop applications. Every organization has unique modes of operation, and collaboration between multiple organizations is hindered by incompatibility of resources such as data archives, computers, and networks. The Globus Toolkit was conceived to remove obstacles that prevent seamless collaboration. Its core services, interfaces and protocols allow users to access remote resources as if they were located within their own machine room while simultaneously preserving local control over who can use resources and when.

The Globus Toolkit has grown through an open-source strategy similar to the Linux operating system’s, and distinct from proprietary attempts at resource-sharing software. This encourages broader, more rapid adoption and leads to greater technical innovation, as the open-source community provides continual enhancements to the product.

Essential background is contained in the papers “Anatomy of the Grid” by Foster, Kesselman and Tuecke and “Physiology of the Grid” by Foster, Kesselman, Nick and Tuecke.