Grid V/S Cloud Computing – Highlighting Similarities & Differences

Grid V/S Cloud Computing – Highlighting Similarities & Differences

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Both cloud and grid computing involves large computer networks but operating concepts aren’t synonymous. Though not very old, cloud and grid computing are often mistaken as the same. They’re networks that abstract processing tasks whereas this abstraction enshrouds complex tasks, going inside the system. Users are provided with comprehensive information that’s perceivable. Primary aim is to make system more user-friendly while retaining benefits of intricate procedures.

Even though a difference does exist between fundamental concepts of grid and cloud computing, it doesn’t mean they’re mutually exclusive. It’s feasible to infuse cloud oriented services in computational grid and vice versa whereas they can be same networks, represented in different ways. To get cloud computing functional, consider three factors namely; thin clients (or those with thick-thin switch), grid and utility computing.


Grid computing connects incongruent computers, forming one large infrastructure and also exploiting unused resources. Utility computing is all about what you pay for services used over shared servers, think of it like paying utility bills. With grid, you can stipulate computing resources as a utility that can be switched ON or OFF. Cloud goes a step beyond with on-demand resource allocating. It eliminates over-provisioning to meet demands of millions of users.

Benefits of Distributed Computing

The name says it all! Distributed computing refers to network elements scattered over a large geographical area whereas cloud and grid are finest examples such architecture. Primary advantage of this environment is the tendency to tap into numerous specialized areas using single resource. With cloud computing, multiple servers perform a single task in unison so that if any server malfunctions, your work isn’t interrupted.

You can access to one or all servers with just one interface. Each computing elements have their own requisites such as appropriate storage, cloud hosting options, physical and online security, maintenance and much more. Costs are distributed as well since elements are spread out hence the name distributed computing.

Brief Overview

  • Cloud Computing

It’s an extension of object-oriented programming that removes complex working details and presents a simple output. Take example of a car driver who knows that steering the wheel would also turn the car or pressing accelerator will increase speed. Sophisticated mechanics behind all the functions is completely hidden though a driver should know in-case of any failure or emergency.

Earlier explained concept of abstraction is applied in cloud system as well as only user-perceivable data is provided, rest is hidden and most users aren’t even interested with details. Inner working is clouded hence the name cloud computing. The term is derived from UNIX paradigm comprising of multiple elements, performance of each is excellent for specific task instead of having a massive element that’s not preferred. Such cloud carried more than just rain and thunder but tons of valuable data.

  • Grid Computing

When various units work together over a single task, it refers to grid computing. Although job itself is controlled by a central computer, tasks are broken down onto different machines for users to execute. No need for processes to be mutually exclusive but if that’s so; it’d be an ideal case and as each task completes, results are assembled in a user-understandable form. There’re two benefits of grid computing; unused processing power is utilized effectively thus available resources are fully optimized and total time to complete a single task is reduced.

Coding needs to be parallelized for a task to suit grid computing. Source code must be restructured to make processing as much exclusive as possible. Information send in between can be interdependent but it takes time for a task to complete. Point worth considering; end result, whether codes are executed in serial or parallel must be equal under every situation.

Contradicting Factors

Differentiating features between both is hard to grasp as they aren’t always exclusive. In-fact, both makes computing economical by mobilizing existing resources. Additionally, infrastructure of both is abstracted extensively having distinct elements interacting with each other. Primary difference can be identified in the way tasks are processed in their respective mediums.

Cloud services allow user to avail various services without investing in core architecture. Though grid computing caters similar facility to power up computing, cloud isn’t restricted to that. From web hosting, word processing and much more, all you can avail with just one interface. Cloud can harness services to present a homogenous optimized result, benefiting users in numerous ways.

Cloud Computing is Environment Friendly

Another benefit of cloud computing is that it’s more environment friendly. Reducing number of hardware resources automatically reduce energy costs with lesser malfunction. Consolidating servers in a remote data centre allow efficient handling as a group. Secondly, cloud computing also promotes telecommuting techniques like sharing files, printing and more thus reducing office space. You can easily dispose trash and enjoy working in a clutter-free office.

With many processes carried by a single computing resource, it’s not only time and cost efficient but improves productivity as well. Cloud computing is the rage nowadays with entire businesses adapting the technology and enjoy revenue inflow.


The above article provides in-depth analysis of grid and cloud computing with examples for ease of readers. Both have numerous benefits while performance differs.

The Credit of this article goes to a leading cloud computing company middle east – eHDF.

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Asghar Paracha

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