Mar 26, 2010
The EGEE community enters the era of EGI
From April 2010 the grid infrastructure, which has been nurtured and managed by Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE), composed of sites in every corner of Europe, is being coordinated by EGI.eu, the central organizing kernel of the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI).
Many details that we have been wondering about over the past months are becoming defined, and some aspects that we thought we understood are being revisited. A meeting at the beginning of February between all of the activities in EGEE covered a lot of ground. A detailed document explaining the outcomes from this meeting and the current status of the transition is available at https://edms.cern.ch/file/1060619/1/EGEE-III-MNA1.5-1060619-v0_1.pdf.
The EGI statutes were approved by the founding member states. The central organizing body, EGI.eu, has been established in Amsterdam and is now able to start advertising positions (www.egi.eu/cms/about/jobs) and hiring personnel. Because this can take several months, at the start of May EGI.eu will likely have only a skeleton staff in place. Priority will be given to filling positions in the senior management team so that National Grid Initiatives (NGIs) and users will have someone as a contact point.
We need to revisit how users will be cared for in the EGI. At the time of the all-activity meeting, feedback from the European Commission indicated that several proposals that focused on continuing support for our existing users' needs (including ROSCOE, CUE, TAPAS and SAFE) will not be funded. This means that discipline-specific and generic community application porting, training, dissemination and user support is particularly affected. It is likely that the existing, well established user communities will have sufficient critical mass to continue, but the situation is not so clear for those under formation.
The proposed EGI-InSPIRE project (the new funding mechanism for the infrastructure as a whole) intends to continue some user-focused services. These include the application registry (available at http://appdb.eu-egee.org/), which will be enhanced to distinguish between applications and tools, and linked to the RESPECT program (Recommended External Software for EGEE CommuniTies, http://technical.eu-egee.org/index.php?id=290). A new set of user-focused metrics will be developed to help EGI understand the user experience and the scientific gateways will be ported to the EGI domain.
Training will now be primarily an NGI responsibility, with EGI.eu coordinating NGI activity and maintaining a registry of trainers and a repository to which the EGEE training material will be migrated. The EGEE's training activity has been expanding the network of accredited trainers to ensure that there is at least one trainer in each NGI.
The infrastructure operations also require some attention. Interaction with the NGIs for technical and coordination matters needs to be improved because currently only the EGI official contact is known for each NGI. The variation between NGIs means that there is no single recipe for operating an NGI and so the EGEE operations activity will offer a set of guidelines that will need to be tried and adapted for each NGI. The transition will be simpler for single- or dual-country Regional Operations Centres (ROCs), such as Italy, France, Germany/Switzerland, UK/Ireland, Portugal/Spain, compared with many-country ROCs, notably central Europe and south-east Europe.
A series of meetings is being organized to follow-up on these points. EGEE will share more details as they become available.
The upcoming EGEE User Forum in Uppsala on 12–15 April will be an important milestone in gauging the transition and collecting the community together one last time under the umbrella of EGEE. The forum will host several EGI sessions to provide updates on the transition status. For details visit www.eu-egee.org/index.php?id=681.
About the author
Danielle Venton, IT-DI