Fedcloud-tf:Users

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

How to get access to the FedCloud?

Access to EGI FedCloud resources can be requested in email through the EGI.eu User Community Support Team. The team will work with you to develop a technical plan for your envisaged use case, identifying the sites, the number and type of resources that your use case requires from EGI. The team will then arrange access for you to these resources and with the site operators provides you further assistance during their use.

To join the EGI FedCloud, please send an email to ucst@EGI.eu with the following information:

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. Technical support is always available via the EGI.eu UCST Team

Concept

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

  1. Create a virtual machine image that encapsulates an operating system, their scientific software and any optional component that is needed for this software to function in a remote and possible distributed environment. (For example a middleware for distributed computing, a framework for remote monitoring, etc.).
    • Tip: Images from the EGI Virtual Image Marketplace may be reusable, customisable for your use case.
    • Tip: The format of the virtual machine image that the site you have access to can accept may be specific to the site. Check the required image format in the sites overview table before preparing your image!
    • Tip: The EGI Applications Database is a registry of over 350 scientific applications, frameworks and tools that may be relevant for your use case and you may wish to incorporate in the virtual machine image. You can get in touch and ask for support from the providers of the software items you like through the Applications Database.
  2. Instantiate the virtual machine image(s) on the EGI cloud. This is possible through the ‘Open Cloud Computing Interface’ (OCCI) that every EGI cloud site implements. Using the OCCI interface guarantees that your work will be compatible with any site that currently exists or will join the EGI Federated Cloud in the future.
    • Tip: These customisable scripts provide a command line shell on top of OCCI API for the management of virtual machine images in the EGI cloud.
  3. Operate services based on virtual images in the cloud. The EGI Monitoring system provides a backbone to collect availability information about services, to open and submit trouble tickets to service providers about failed probes, and to generate reliability and availability statistics for service operation.

Guides and tutorials

This list provides pointers to manuals and tutorials that may be useful for you to create, optimise, start up and operate Virtual Machine Images on the EGI Federated Cloud:

Tools

This list provides pointers to client/management tools who may be useful for the . Some of this tools are referred also into the #Guides_and_tutorials and the FedCloud FAQ page:

Technical background

Cloud providers of EGI use hardware virtualization technologies to host scientific software on their resources. The cloud management platform that makes this possible vary from site to site, but they enable resource centers to manage virtualized computing, storage and networking resources and to empower scientific groups to setup and operate their domain specific services, applications and simulations within the virtualized environments.

To deploy a custom application in the cloud one needs to first create a virtual machine (VM) image(s) encapsulating both a operating system and the specific scientific software that implements the domain specific calculation. The image then needs to be instantiated on machines provided by the cloud. Every site of the EGI federated cloud exposes the same programming interfaces for virtual machine setup and data manipulation operations, therefore applications that are built for one site of the EGI Federated Cloud can run at any of the EGI cloud sites. The use of the cloud services are further simplified for scientific groups by a set of reusable, extendable virtual machine images from the EGI VM marketplace, and by technical assistance and support provided by the [email:ucst@egi.eu User Community Support Team] of EGI.eu.

EGI Federated Cloud Sites

The EGI FedCloud sites are the EGI resource providers.

Sites in the EGI Federated Cloud are still operating in a test bed mode, however some of the sites are already available for international research collaborations to use for application demonstrations and pilots. The full list of sites providing resources to the EGI FedCloud testbed is available here

Interfaces and protocols

The EGI Federated Cloud is designed to satisfy scenarios defined by the EGI community in consultation with potential users of pan-European cloud services. The initial set of scenarios that the community collected has been distilled down to capabilities that the EGI Federated Cloud must provide to enable the use cases. These 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 Infrastructures and research communities connect resources into a federated cloud. The work has not finished yet, but there are already a few technologies in the stack and operated on sites of the EGI Federated Cloud test bed.

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 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/
CDMI: Cloud Data Management Interface The Cloud Data Management Interface defines the functional interface that applications will use to create, retrieve, update and delete data elements from the cloud. As part of this interface the client will be able to discover the capabilities of the cloud storage offering and use this interface to manage containers and the data that is placed in them. Data and meta-data management http://www.snia.org/cdmi
GLUE Schema The GLUE Schema is a common way of publishing information about grid or cloud resources. GLUE is developed by consortium of grid projects, including the two largest projects of the EGI collaboration: EGI-InSPIRE and EMI. GLUE describes attributes of sites and services, computing elements and storage elements. 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

Users support

Technical support

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

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.

High Level Services

The EGI FedCloud, tough the FedCloud User Communities, provides a set of High Level Services to the community users. A non-exaustive list of this services is provided below:

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