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Increasing complexity of power grids, growing demand, and requirement for greater grid reliability, security and efficiency as well as environmental and energy sustainability concerns continue to highlight the need for a quantum leap in harnessing communication and information technologies. This leap toward a Â¿smarterÂ¿ grid is now widely referred to as "smart grid". A framework for cohesive integration of these technologies facilitates convergence of acutely needed standards and protocols, and implementation of necessary analytical capabilities. The paper critically reviews the reliability impacts of major smart grid resources such as renewables, demand response, storage. We observe that an ideal mix of these resources leads to a flatter net demand that eventually accentuates reliability issues further. We then present a grid-wide IT architectural framework to meet the reliability challenges. This architecture supports a multitude of geographically and temporally coordinated hierarchical monitoring and control actions over time scales from milliseconds and up.