Adobe turns to GridIron for grid tools

Ottawa-based GridIron Software ( has signed an agreement that calls for its XLR8 tools for building Grid software to be bundled with Adobe Systems Inc.'s After Effects Professional video toolset.

Bundling GridIron's tool in the After Effects professional box will make grid technology available as an off-the-shelf product, said Gord Watts, GridIron's vice president of marketing. ''This is an example of grid computing where you don't require a large infrastructure and deep IT experience. It's plug and play that has mainstream ability.''

As digital content creation has migrated into mainstream development circles, thanks in large part to the proliferation of the digital camera, there is an increased need to provide computational capability for it. Grid computing offers this vertical market the possibility of speed improvements by distributing processing tasks among multiple computers, Watts contended.

Adobe After Effects Professional, officials said, offers tools that can produce innovative motion graphics and effects for film, video, DVD and the Web. Adobe will use GridIron's software to increase the speed of preview and rendering capabilities by dividing and distributing the work from a single computer to several networked computers, officials said.

GridIron XLR8 includes two parts: a software development kit of documentation with a set of APIs, and an executable that provides processing capability, Watts said. A software developer can use the set of APIs to wrap the components of their source code. Once the application has been modified with the API set, the executable can be installed on each machine for processing and the application is then ready, Watts explained.

XLR8 relies on a peer-to-peer grid computing environment. ''The executable is part of our black magic,'' Watts said. ''All these machines discover each other and create a grid automatically. They distribute the work among themselves.''

Along with GridIron's agreement with Adobe Systems, the company has just announced Version 2 of XLR8, which is said to include a powerful new security model and a unique technology for data handling.

About the Author

Lana Gates is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at


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