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 of a flexible environment for running their workloads. Also, the EGI cloud is suitable to 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:

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.

Fedcloud.png
  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. This is possible using a command-line client (rOCCI), high-level tools or directly implementing the ‘Open Cloud Computing Interface’ (OCCI) into your environment. Using the OCCI interface guarantees that your application will be compatible with any site that currently exists or will join the EGI Federated Cloud in the future.
    • Tip: Follow this guide to setup the rOCCI command line client.
    • Tip: Read in this guidance about various options of porting applications to the EGI Federated Cloud.
    • Tip: Use one of these high-level tools to instantiate VMs on cloud sites.
  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.


Current FedCloud Users and Communities

Fedclouduclogos.png


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 the command line client OR
    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:

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:


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. The Federated Cloud currently integrates the following main standard-based technological components:

Name of the technology Description What it’s used for in EGI? Technology homepage
OCCI: Open Cloud Computing Interface The Open Cloud Computing Interface comprises a set of open community-lead specifications delivered through the Open Grid Forum. OCCI is a Protocol and API for all kinds of management tasks. OCCI was originally initiated to create a remote management API for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model based Services, allowing for the development of interoperable tools for common tasks including deployment, autonomic scaling and monitoring. It has since evolved into a flexible API with a strong focus on integration, portability, interoperability and innovation while still offering a high degree of extensibility. Virtual Machine management http://occi-wg.org/
GLUE Schema The GLUE Schema is a common way of publishing information about sites and services of grid or cloud resources. GLUE is developed by a consortium of grid projects, including the two largest projects of the EGI collaboration: EGI-InSPIRE and EMI. Implementations of the Schema exist for a range of systems, the EGI Federated Cloud uses the LDAP based BDII implementation. Information system for cloud resources http://www.ggf.org/gf/group_info/view.php?group=glue</span>
X509 User authentication is a means of identifying the user and verifying that the user is allowed to access some restricted service, particularly the sites of the EGI Federated Cloud. Public-key cryptography is a cryptographic technique that enables users to securely communicate on an insecure public network, and reliably verify the identity of a user via digital signatures. The X.509 specification defines a standard for managing digital signatures on the Internet. X.509 specifies, amongst other things, standard formats for public key certificates, certificate revocation lists, attribute certificates, and a certification path validation algorithm. User authentication http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X.509


User support

Technical support

Users' technical support is provided via the EGI.eu UCST Team email.

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.


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