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Increasing complexity of power grids, growing demand, and requirement for greater 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 widely referred to as Â¿smart grid.Â¿ A framework for cohesive integration of these technologies facilitates convergence of acutely needed standards, and implementation of necessary analytical capabilities. This paper critically reviews the reliability impacts of major smart grid resources such as renewables, demand response, and storage. We observe that an ideal mix of these resources leads to a flatter net demand that eventually accentuates reliability challenges further. A gridwide IT architectural framework is presented to meet these challenges while facilitating modern cybersecurity measures. This architecture supports a multitude of geographically and temporally coordinated hierarchical monitoring and control actions over time scales from milliseconds and up.