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Welcome to Crystal Ball Sunday #3. As promised, I'm going to explore the use of distributed computing for the workplace today. Whether you call it grid computing, distributed computing, volunteer computing, or some other name, it is the same animal: Donation of distributed (remote) computing power to a central project.

Most distributed computing projects focus on worldwide issues such as solving cancer-curing molecule syntheses, finding extraterrestrial life, or solving some high-end mathematical problems.

My prediction for distributed computing is that it will invade the workplace in the next year or so as the next big thing. Projects will emerge in great number in the coming year to assist in distributing OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) queries, some application processing and delivery, network services overhead, and possibly even backup processing or caching.

LAN grids will be formed so that idle computing power will be donated to the greater corporate cause. Idle CPU, unused memory, spare network bandwidth, and available disk space will all be donated into a network resource cloud for on-demand use by data center applications.

You may be asking how Linux will fit into this corporate distributed computing scenario. Linux, most likely, will be the platform of choice to manage the LAN resource cloud. Linux is used for the large compute clusters in research laboratories worldwide and has a long history in this area. Linux will also most likely be the Desktop platform due to its more efficient use of resources even when a window manager like GNOME or KDE is used.

Distributed computing is coming to a network near you in the not-so-distant future. Embrace it as the future of computing.

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