Difference between Cloud computing and Grid computing

Cloud computing and Grid computing are the two words that end up confusing many people as they are similar in theory. Cloud computing and Grid computing involves massive computer network infrastructure.

On the front end, cloud computing and grid computing are newer concepts compared to other large computing solutions. Both concepts have been developed for the purpose of distributed computing, that is, computing an element over a large area, literally on computers that are separated by some or the other means.

Well there are many reasons people prefer Distributed computing over single processor computing, and here they are:

  • The reason to opt for distributed computing is to offer parallel or concurrent computational resources to the users. The concept of queue has been over taken. Requests don’t actually have to wait in a queue to get serviced one after the other.
  • Distributed computers make use of every spare moment your processor is idle.
  • Distributed computing systems are made up of many systems, so if one crashes other is unaffected.
  • Distributed model scales very well. Need more compute resources? Just plug them in by installing client on additional desktops or servers.

Cloud computing vs Grid computing

To understand the basic and complex differences between cloud and grid computing, we really need to explain both the technologies. Here’s how they are defined.

Cloud computing:

Cloud is basically an extension to the object-oriented programming concept of abstraction. Here cloud means the Internet. For the end users it is just getting outputs for certain inputs, the complete process that lead to the outputs is purely invisible. Computing is based on virtualized resources which are placed over multiple servers in clusters.

Also within the “cloud computing” family, are what’s known as a SPI model  SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. These are the services available on the cloud and do all the heavy lifting using someone else’s infrastructure. Cloud computing eliminates the costs and complexity of buying, configuring, and managing the hardware and software needed to build and deploy applications; these applications are delivered as a service over the Internet (the cloud).

Grid computing:

Grid systems are designed for collaborative sharing of resources. It can also be thought of as distributed and large-scale cluster computing. A Grid is basically the one that uses the processing capabilities of different computing units for processing a single task. The task is broken into multiple sub-tasks, each machine on a grid is assigned a task. As when the sub-tasks are completed they are sent back to the primary machine which takes care of the all the tasks. They are combined or clubbed together as an output.

Cloud vs Grid computing: Conclusion

  1. Server computers are still needed to distribute the pieces of data and collect the results from participating clients on grid.
  2. Cloud offers more services than grid computing. In fact almost all the services on the Internet can be obtained from cloud, eg web hosting, multiple Operating systems, DB support and much more.
  3. Grids tends to be more loosely coupled, heterogeneous, and geographically dispersed compared to conventional cluster computing systems.

Now read: Public Cloud vs Private Cloud difference.

Let me know if you have any questions.

UPDATE: In the interest of clarity, based on the comments received, certain lines/sections of the post have been suitably edited on 16th Nov.

Posted by on , in Category General with Tags
Azharuddin Khan, being a technology enthusiastic, loves writing blogs and updating them. Currently pursuing his Bachelors in Information Technology, he also loves in extending support via providing hardware solutions.


  1. Young & Naive

    This might be a dumb question but is grid computing kind of like a mesh network set up for the architecture of the network? I’m just now starting to study systems management, so there’s a lot of things that interest me relative to different topologys and network architecture.

  2. Khan Azharuddin12345

    Yes , kind of.. grid is usually deployed to get services from different ends or computers than to heavily rely on one CPU. The grid can be thought of as a distributed system with non-interactive workloads to be more precise. The major work is carried out on middleware. The unit that manages tasks for other processors is called as Control node, which is centralized..

  3. Lmmatoso

    Can we say?
    In cloud we’ve got a hardware and we need the software?
    In grid we’ve got a software but we need more hardware?
    Is that it?

  4. Khan Azharuddin12345

    Absolutely…But as a developer or pro in distributed computing environment. The way data is processed is different.. But it is really worth exploring these technologies.. I think we should try to analyse how systematically requests are handled in this large concepts….
    For summarizing ur words are correct…
    Thanks for sharing.. 🙂

  5. cybog

    can you compare the two technologies based on their security issue?? i find cloud more vulnerable!!

  6. Khan Azharuddin12345

    validating of security: Maintaining and validating what’s happening in the cloud can become a secondary concern. This can lead some companies to lose track of the exact security posture of their cloud environments. though companies follow strict access, Here is find cloud little bit insecure. I think there is lot to be improved on cloud, for now i see cloud as more democratized as a person with hand full of money can experience or experiment large computational power. But for security reason cloud gives lesser control to the data flow , than in server.

  7. Grid computing uses “Infrastructure as a service” while cloud computing uses “Software as a service”, ….Hmm…I dont agree with this statement..

    Cloud computing systems deliver infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service……Grid computing systems are typically not service providers….they are generally a bunch of autonomous systems trying to solve a single problem…(the problem is generally embarrassingly parallel)….The concept of service based computing comes from utility computing (cloud computing)..

    There is a philosophical difference between Cloud and Grid :
    In the Grid, every person comes with his/her own plate of biryani and solves the bigger problem of eating biryani together… In the cloud, there is a huge container of biryani and people pay per gram and eat … 😀

    Eg: of grid : SETI@home
    Eg: of cloud : Gmail, Icloud, Amazon EC2, S3, AppEngine, Force.com,etc..

  8. Ali Jawish

    if i use 3 PCs with one screen, is this Grid also ?

  9. Khan Azharuddin12345

    No that is not a Grid. The reason is the PC are not interlinked to do share the processor time. A grid could be like a PC connected to 3 printers. and you have 9 papers to print. The PC prints 3 papers on each printer concurrently. Just an example..

  10. Guest

    Can we say Cloud is more of centralized computing rather the Grid is more of distributed computing?

  11. Khan Azharuddin12345

    Cloud is not centralized in full sense. It is decentralized as well.. Example could be like. You have a web application that is stored in one data center, this is centralized and this database is replicated over different centers as well, Decentralized..

  12. Sruthi N Paul

    Is grid computing different from distributed computing or its a part of distributed computing?

  13. Raja Ram M

    Sounds like a nice example:
    Grid: Office PotLuck; People bring resources and share with others.
    Cloud: More like dining at a buffet, but here only one type of buffet, reserved, but not dedicated.

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