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Despite many competitors, Ethernet became the dominant protocol for local area networking due to its simplicity, robustness, and efficiency in wide variety of conditions and technology. Reflecting on the current frailty of much software, grid and otherwise, we propose that the Ethernet approach to resource sharing is an effective and reliable technique for combining coarse-grained software when failures are common and poorly detailed. This approach involves placing several simple but important responsibilities on client software to acquire shared resources conservatively, to back off during periods of failure, and to inform competing clients when resources are in contention. We present a simple scripting language that simplifies and encourages the Ethernet approach, and demonstrate its use in several grid computing scenarios, including job submission, disk allocation, and data replication. We conclude with a discussion of the limitations of this approach, and describe how it is uniquely suited to high-level programming.
Date of Conference: 22-24 June 2003