Why We Joined the Open Grid Alliance

3 min read
Apr 14, 2021

Open Grid Alliance Logo

Why We Joined the Open Grid Alliance

At Vapor IO, our mission has always been to rearchitect the internet at the edge. We’ve built and deployed dozens of edge data centers. We’ve trenched miles of cables. We’ve written thousands of lines of code. We’re in 36 U.S. markets actively building networking, data center and interconnection infrastructure. We’re very confident in what we’re building.

But the edge is not an island. You can’t just rearchitect the edge if there are other parts of the internet that also need upgrading or unifying.

Don’t get us wrong, the internet is fabulous, but it grew organically from the core out, and the core of the internet does not go everywhere. It does not extend all the way to the edge, and it needs to.

The edge is also at risk of being balkanized as multiple projects implement their own solutions on single-tenant infrastructure with isolated resources. We, as an industry, cannot deliver the applications of the future unless they truly can run anywhere, on demand. We need a frictionless edge with resources that can be called up as needed to solve specific problems.

This is a gigantic challenge, but if we get it right it will define the next decade of the internet. We’d be foolish not to try.

Introducing: The Open Grid Alliance

In our view, the internet should behave like an electric grid. When a city or town demands more power, the electric grid can intelligently shift where electrons go. It can spin up generators to meet peak loads, then spin them down when no longer necessary. In the Open Grid world, when applications demand resources—in a particular place, at a particular time, with particular SLAs—the grid will deliver that, on demand.This is no small feat. It sounds like science fiction. But it’s not. Not if we, as an industry, work together to make it happen.

That is why we helped launch the Open Grid Alliance, a vendor neutral organization determined to bring the Open Grid to life. (You can also read the official press release here.)

Our founding partner on this journey is VMware, the leader in enterprise software and virtualization, along with a growing list of innovators including Dell Technologies, DriveNets, MobiledgeX, and PacketFabric.

The Grid is not a New Idea

The origins of cloud computing can be traced back to the idea that compute should be delivered “like a utility.” Long before Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform were a thing, companies like Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) had this vision. In fact, Sun’s first cloud-like offering, launched in 2002, was called Sun Grid.

Grid computing” has also been a thing in research and academia. Researchers realized that if they pooled resources across campuses they would be able to run larger workloads that completed more quickly.

The Open Grid is similar, but it’s also very different. The Open Grid celebrates the same metaphor, but it uses modern technologies and it’s being embedded into the very core of the internet.

Join Us

As the Open Grid Alliance says: “The Open Grid is bigger than everyone and owned by no-one.” We are just committed enough and crazy enough to embark on this journey, and we want to bring other leaders along.



Cole Crawford


Cole Crawford is CEO and founder of Vapor IO, the creators of the Kinetic Edge™ platform. Cole is also a Forbes contributor, has been named to Data Economy’s list of The World’s Most Influential Data Economy…
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