Clouds are just the latest in a range of computing technologies which are available to researchers. Although clouds and grids overlap in parts, the two technologies can also complement each other as they offer users different benefits.
By integrating clouds and grids, users could reduce the amount of time and money needed to ‘port’ their application onto the service as they would only need to do it once. Grid providers could also benefit from lower operational costs for running grid sites and expansion on demand at short notice.
Surging "proof-of-concept" developments are investigating ways of integrating cloud-based services with existing grid-enabled applications across a number of disciplines, from nuclear physics to gene expression.
For example the StratusLab project aims to integrate cloud technologies into the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) to make it simpler to manage software deployments.
The benefits of this integration is apparent in the positive response from participants, however few if any have yet made the transition from pilot application to larger scale use.