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In distributed heterogeneous Grid environments the protocols used to exchange bits are crucial. As researchers work hard to discover the best new protocol for the Grid, application developers struggle with ways to use these new protocols. A stable, consistent, and intuitive framework is needed to aid in the implementation and use of these protocols. While the application must not be burdened with the protocol details some of it may need to be exposed to take advantage of potential optimizations. In this paper the authors examine how the Globus XIO API provides this framework. They will explore the performance implications of using this abstraction layer and the benefits gained in application as well as protocol development.
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