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Business Opportunities for Grid at EGEE07

The Business Track at EGEE’07 took a close look at Grid adoption by the commercial sector from the perspective of vendors, large and small enterprises, and technology transfer through projects like EGEE.

The Business Track at EGEE’07 took a close look at Grid adoption by the commercial sector from the perspective of vendors, large and small enterprises, and technology transfer through projects like EGEE. The Track identified new opportunities across vertical markets and a set of Case Studies showing companies how to get on the right path towards adoption. Discussions also brought to light success metrics for gauging the industrial impact of Grid technologies across different sectors, and offered some feasible solutions to common barriers.

Dr Bob Jones, Director of EGEE, opened the debate illustrating how companies can come in and deploy services on EGEE’s Grid infrastructure and easily set up applications through tools like the GILDA test-bed. Talks by EGEE’s Business Associates Avanade, Excelian, GridwiseTech, NICE and Platform, along with Philip’s Research demonstrated how they are working with the project to enhance gLite, tailor it to the requirements of future inter-enterprise Grids, and ensure compatibility with other architectures and tools in support of EGEE’s strategy for the spin-off of its technologies to business and industry.

Adoption Case Studies

One of the EU’s goals is to strengthen the ‘innovation capacity’ of SMEs as the backbone of the European economy and increase their development of new technology based products and services. New opportunities for business through Europe’s e-Infrastructures were highlighted by Kyriakos Baxevanidis from the European Commission (DG INFSO).

Connected with this was the spotlight on know-how transfer, gauging readiness for the commercial sector, and supporting the technology chain. Examples of how EGEE is enabling businesses and start-ups include Imense Ltd (UK) supported by the UK STFC, HP’s Tycoon project, the COMETA initiative, which collaborates with Oracle and Microsoft among other companies. The adoption of gLite in Business Models for the oil and gas industry through the work of CCGVeritas, a leading geophysical company, and the BEinGRID project, was also explored. Case studies for automotive, aerospace and pharma were showcased by the SIMDAT project, partnered by mainly commercial organisations, and by the European Space Agency initiative GDCD (Grid-based Distributed Concurrent Design). All these examples show how Grid projects and initiatives are helping to bridge the gaps between academic and business communities and playing a role in highlighting top-level challenges, drivers and the need for standards.

Opportunities across Verticals

Gaming is an industry where technology is moving fast with interesting openings for interactive media and media convergence. Darkworks, a French SME and partner of the Edutain@Grid project, explained why Grid adoption opportunities are ripe and how it can help develop these new products and services and bring them to market more rapidly. The main survival rule for the Telecommunications industry is investment in cutting-edge technologies, which highlights new openings for Grid. Exis-IT, a Greek company, offered a Case Study demonstrating why this sector offers a good testing ground by tackling some of the main drivers for adoption.

Grid not only plays a key role in enabling the Pharmaceutical industry but also offers huge potential for healthcare systems. NEC Lab Europe, a partner of the SIMDAT project, underscored how Grid-enabled Biotech firms can now gain from operating in new markets by providing large pharmaceutical companies with enhanced resources. Maat gKnowledge, a company based in Spain and partner of Heath-e-Child, expertly illustrated how Grid can enhance the care provided by paediatricians, while ensuring peer to peer patient privacy and hiding the complexity of Grid from clinicians using the architecture. EGEE’s WISDOM (Wide in silico Docking on Malaria) is demonstrating how Grid is speeding up drug development and reducing the significantly high costs for neglected diseases with plans to broaden tests to other diseases.

Challenges Ahead

The Business Track would not have been complete without an in-depth debate of the top-level challenges for industrial groups and barriers and solutions to Grid adoption. Top-level challenges were highlighted in several sessions, including talks on the Aerospace sector,. These challenges include “collaboration” Grid on heterogeneous environments; dynamic VOs, Security, Trust, SLA; Grid Licensing; networking issues (firewalls, etc.); as well as human factors associated with the take-up of new IT and the transition to new business models.

The MathWorks Inc is keyed to tackling some of the major licensing barriers like global licensing and academic versus commercial communities, and is working with EGEE on solving key issues related to specific project goals. More good news from EGEE regarded recent improvements to security with the project providing tried and tested restricted access to data and applications and security evaluations under way. Additionally, EGEE’s Industry Committee has a Focus Group dedicated to analysing and offering solutions to barriers to adoption by enterprises. Other issues stressed were the lack of standards, which could be driven by customer demand in the near future, as well as the need for SLA support.


EGEE’s Plan for Industrial Involvement sets out clearly defined goals to increase the industrial adoption of its OS next-generation middleware, gLite, and outlines the strategic support mechanisms to help achieve these goals. The EGEE Industry Committee comprises members from its Industry Task Force, which brings together representatives from industrial applications on the EGEE infrastructure, and selected business experts working with the Industry Forum, the first point of contact for businesses.

Source: EGEE Industry Forum

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