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Grid Application Service Provision

The GRASP project aims at studying, designing, developing and validating a new advanced system infrastructure for Application Service Provision (ASP) based on GRID technologies. The ASP middleware, realized using Grid technologies, will be characterized by a high level of scalability, reliability and security, advanced accounting functionality, quality of service and resource management representing the technological vanguard currently available. The GRASP project constitutes a quality breakthrough in the ASP domain from both a technological and business point of view. This breakthrough is realised through the provision of innovative and advanced services for supporting collaboration and Virtual Organisation business models. The main project outcome will be a technology infrastructure (architecture) based on GRID middleware integrated with commodity technologies. The project outcome will be validated through three test-beds, two in the biomedical field and one in the financial field. Objectives: The aim of GRASP project is to use distributed and heterogeneous resources, which will be integrated using Grid technologies, in order to realize current and future ASP business models.

The main project objectives are:

1. to design, implement and validate a layered architecture for service provision using GRID technologies. This choice constitutes an innovative approach that will overcome the weaknesses of current ASP solutions concerning resource management, security, definition of service level agreement and pricing mechanisms. For the realization of the services supplied by the GRID middleware, the consortium will use existing research results but, also study and evaluate the impact of COTS (such as the Microsoft.Net platform);

2. to explore and evaluate three different business models that fully exploit the GRID technologies: a classical ASP (one-to-many model with one provider and many clients); a many-to-many model (where resources are heterogeneous and distributed and clients can make available their resource in order to receive an income); a federated model (where the provider is constituted by a federation of ASPs);

3. to design three grid-aware applications, developed using the GRASP architecture, in order to validate the effectiveness of the project results;

4. to define methodologies and techniques in order to make existing ASP applications grid-aware.

Work description:

The work breakdown structure consists of 7 Work-packages. WP1 and WP2 are concerned with management and result dissemination and exploitation respectively. In WP3, an analysis of state of the art technologies and current ASP business model monitoring will be carried out. In order to keep at the leading edge of the GRID technologies and commodity technologies, which are continuously evolving, the analysis is realized in two successive phases (the first between months 1-6 and the second between months 12-18). These phases precede the first and the second cycle of architecture design and implementation. It is worth mentioning that Microsoft Research has officially expressed its interest in GRASP, and will support the consortium during this WP by providing insights for introducing Microsoft.NET technology in the infrastructure. The needs for GRID based ASP infrastructure are also analysed and the GRASP architecture specification is produced. WP4 and WP5 realise the design and implementation of the architecture respectively. In WP6, the three test beds are designed and implemented using the realized infrastructure. Two test-beds focus on ERP services for biomedical and financial fields and a third addresses the intensive data analysis and statistical study in the biomedical field (cross-references and statistical analysis on hospital patient data). In this WP, the consortium will define methodologies and techniques in order to make existing applications GRID aware. Finally, in WP7 the pilot user validation will be performed.


There were five milestones, one every six months. The main project results are:

1. A GRID based ASP architecture that will be validated by three applications, defined and designed into the user pilot domains;

2. A set of GRID middleware services, which will be implemented, where possible, using commodity technologies;

3. The definition of three different business models that will be evaluated using the three application;

4. A set of methodologies and techniques to make grid-aware existing applications.