Federated Cloud user support

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Technical support is available via the EGI.eu Support Team



Users of the EGI Federated Cloud are scientists working in many fields, who can benefit from a flexible environment for running their workloads. Also, the EGI cloud is suitable for projects aiming to provide services and platforms to the scientific community.

Concept

The EGI Federated Cloud is a seamless grid of academic private clouds and virtualised resources built around open standards and focusing on the requirements of the scientific community. The result is a new type of research e-infrastructure based on the mature federated operations services that make EGI a reliable resource for science. When using EGI Federated Cloud resources, researchers and research communities can count on:

  • Total control over deployed applications
  • Elastic resource consumption based on real needs
  • Immediately processed workloads – no more waiting time
  • An extended e-Infrastructure across resource providers in Europe
  • Service performance scaled with elastic resource consumption
  • Single sign-on at multiple, independent providers

After obtaining access to one or more sites of the EGI federated cloud, the prospective user can setup and operate custom services, applications and simulations within the virtualized hosting environments of these sites.

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  1. Users select Virtual Appliances (a virtual machine image that encapsulates an operating system and optionally a set of applications) from the EGI Applications Database. Technical developers may also create their own images with any operating system of choice, the scientific software and any optional component needed for the software to function.
  2. Instantiate the Virtual Appliance(s) on the EGI cloud. The preferred API for accessing EGI federated cloud is OCCI. For which there exist a command-line client (rOCCI), high-level tools or directly implementing the ‘Open Cloud Computing Interface’ (OCCI) into your environment. OpenStack Nova API is also available for OpenStack sites belonging to the Federation.
  3. Users can use block storage (that can be attached as a disk to running Virtual Machines) or object-based storage that can be accessed from anywhere with the CDMI interface.
    • Tip: Read the storage how-to for more information on the storage services of FedCloud (PREPRODUCTION)
  4. Sites support the Virtual Organizations (VOs) and automatically download the Virtual Appliance lists endorsed by the VO managers.


Usage Models

The EGI Federated Cloud considerably widens the usage models supported by EGI. Now, web services and interactive applications can be easily integrated in the infrastructure, the computing environments can be finely tuned to satisfy user’s needs in term of software (OSs and software packages) and hardware (number of cores, amount of RAM, etc.) and, many solutions are available to store, update and access big amount of data. These new opportunities offered by EGI hugely extended the potential user base of the infrastructure opening the doors to new research communities with minimal or none knowledge of the EGI ecosystem.

We classified the usage models enabled by the EGI Fededated Cloud as follows:

  • Service hosting: the EGI Federated Cloud can be used to hosts any IT service as web servers, databases, etc. Cloud features, as elasticity, can help users to provide better performance and reliable services.
  • Compute and data intensive: applications needing considerable amount of resources in term of computation and/or memory and/or intensive I/O. Ad-hoc computing environments can be created in the FedCloud sites also to satisfy very hard HW resource requirements.
  • Datasets repository: the EGI Federated Cloud can be used to store and manage large datasets exploiting the big amount of disk storage available in the Federation.
  • Disposable and testing environments: environments for training or testing new developments.


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Current FedCloud Users and Communities

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More details of the FedCloud User Communities and their use cases is in the FedCloud Users Communities page.

How to use the FedCloud?

A brief description on how to use the FedCloud resources is described in the text below. More information can be found on the FedCloud FAQ page and the Guides and Tutorials listed in this page.

Quick Start

The typical user workflow on the EGI Federated Cloud looks like:

  1. Obtain a grid certificate from a recognised CA (if you don't own one already)
  2. Join fedcloud.egi.eu Virtual Organisation. This VO provides resources for application prototyping and validation. It can be used for up to 6 month for any new user.
  3. Select existing images from the Application Database Cloud Marketplace and start them by:
    1. Using one of the APIs and SDKs available, which include
    2. Using one of the high level brokering tools that are interoperable with the Federated Cloud.

Advanced Usage

Virtual Organisation

Once the 6-month testing period of fedcloud.egi.eu membership expires, you will need to move into a production VO:

  • Several other VOs of EGI make resources available from the Federated Cloud. Find a suitable VO in the Operations Portal. (Search for Cloud as a middleware type.)
  • Existing grid production VOs can be extended by VO manager to cloud by declaring cloud resources in VO ID card (in Operations Portal) and requesting via GGUS (assign to Perun Support Unit) Perun support.
  • If no existing VO suits your case, a new VO can be created. Please follow this procedure. You can invite sites from the infrastructure to support them.

Customized Virtual Appliances

You can prepare fully customised Virtual Appliances and deploy them to the sites:

  1. Prepare Virtual Machine Images (VMIs) that encapsulate your application. See the application porting tutorial for tips.
  2. Make the VMIs available online, for example in the EGI Appliance Repository
  3. Register the VMIs as Virtual Appliance in the EGI Applications Database (for howto please click here)
  4. Once your registered set of VMIs, bundled under a vAppliance version, have been published (see howto here),inform the Manager of your VO through Applications Database about the new Virtual Appliance (see howto here). He/she will include your images in the VO-wide image list, so these will be deployed on the Federated Cloud sites of your VO.

Guides and tutorials

These guides and tutorials help you to implement the above described typical user workflow and describe alternative ways of accessing, using high level application broker and infrastructure broker solutions:

Useful resources


Technical background

Cloud providers in the EGI Federated Cloud use hardware virtualization technologies to host software on their resources. The cloud management platforms that make this possible can vary from site to site, but they all enable the provisioning of virtualized computing, storage and networking resources, thus they empower scientific groups to setup and operate domain specific services, applications and simulations on these resources.

EGI Federated Cloud Sites

The EGI Federated Cloud sites are the resource providers. An overview of the resource providers, and their certification status (production status) is available here.

Interfaces and protocols

The EGI Federated Cloud is designed to satisfy scenarios defined by various scientific communities. The initial set of scenarios that the community collected has been distilled down to capabilities that the EGI Federated Cloud must provide to enable these community use cases. The capabilities were compared to state-of-the-art cloud computing technologies, standards, protocols and APIs to identify a technology stack which can help the National Grid Initiatives and research communities to connect resources into a federated infrastructure. Read more about the technology that drives the Federated Cloud


User support

Technical support

Users' technical support is provided via the EGI support contact.

Helpdesk

Technical problems and questions relating to the use of the EGI Federated Cloud can be reported and dealt with through the EGI Helpdesk ticketing system. Note: Please choose 'Federated cloud' in the 'Type of problem' field of the ticket submission form!

Feedback and open issues

A list of open-issue and feedbacks reported by the FedCloud users is available at this page.