NGI International Task Review MS109 United Kingdom

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This page contains the assessment of the NGI International Task at year 1 of the EGI-InSPIRE project (one page per NGI). The NGI representatives are required to fill the tables according to the required information. The content will be integral part of the EGI-InSPIRE milestone MS109 "NGI International Task Review"

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User Services

Human Services (Table 1)

Table 1: NGI Assessment: User Services >> Human Services
EGI-InSPIRE EGI_DS Name Assessment Score How to Improve
NA3.3N U-N-3 U-N-13 Requirements Gathering The UK community has been stable for some time. Requirements capture has been carried out in

a) expanding the particle physics community to new experiments and ones reaching a phase of significant computing activity. This has been done well within an existing forum for experiment computing.

b) Engaging with ESFRI Projects with significant UK participation.

4 a) was done well, b) met some difficulties due to large projects wanting to create their own infrastructures. Although we hear that the EC wants such communities to use EGI, this doesn't seem evident on the ground. Better communications from the EC would help improve.
NA3.3N U-N-14 U-N-15 Application Database UK has its own version which is automatically populated from software availability publication in the BDII. This has met the stable UK needs well. 3 Could have advertised the availability of applications outside the UK better.
NA3.3N U-N-16 U-N-17 Training Most national training requirements are currently met through activities of the NGS project. These include events such as roadshows where user outreach and training is taken to targeted institutions and communities, and an annual conference, the NGS Innovation Forum. There is also a weath of online materials such as tutorials and demos, example scripts for running applications and case studies demonstrating how researchers have used e-infrastructures and the benefits they have received. Several years ago the UK had dedicated middleware service training for site admins but training is generally now conducted by experienced established persons teaching new recruits on the job.

After a steady start there has been an increased level of communication between EGI.eu and our NGI regarding training, such as a push to publicise NGI training events in the EGI training calendar. this is seen as a good move by the UK NGI.

Funding for training as an international task is not sufficient to offer the services currently available and are more than offset by matched effort within the NGI. Moving forward to new cycles of funding begining 2011 it is unlikely that the effort will continue at its current level.

4 improvements to the training online tools, currently under redesign in the global task, should reinvigorate uptake of common training tools and improve the NGI training experience.
NA3.3N U-N-12 U-N-18 U-N-19 Consultancy write here 0-5 write here

Operations Services

Human Services (Table 2)

Table 2: NGI Assessment: Operations Services >> Human Services
EGI-InSPIRE EGI_DS Name Assessment Score How to Improve
SA1.4N O-N-9 Requirements Gathering The UK community has been stable for some time. Requirements capture has been carried out in

a) expanding the particle physics community to new experiments and ones reaching a phase of significant computing activity. This has been done well within an existing forum for experiment computing.

b) Engaging with ESFRI Projects with significant UK participation.

4 a) was done well, b) met some difficulties due to large projects wanting to create their own infrastructures. Although we hear that the EC wants such communities to use EGI, this doesn't seem evident on the ground. Better communications from the EC would help improve.
SA1.1N O-N-9 Operations Coordination The UK has a well-oiled operations infrastructure with regular meetings of sites, of VOs, and both together. The team participates in regular EGI, WLCG, and UK NGI operations meetings. This has enabled the UK to keep one of the largest NGI infrastructures running smoothly. 5 write here
SA1.2N O-N-9 Security Currently UK NGI is composed of UK GridPP project and UK NGS (National Grid Services) project. The security incident response channels of both projects had been well established. For historical reasons, the two channels are independent to each other at the moment, but the incident response cross the two projects is coordinated by the GridPP and NGS security officer, who is also head of EGI CSIRT.

A member-only non-public security mailing list has also been setup and being used by UK NGI system admininstrators to discuss or share any security-related topics.

UK NGI also makes significant contribution to EGI Software Vulnerability Group (EGI SVG) activities, currently 3 out of 15 RAT (Risk Assessment Team, the core team of software vulnerability group) members come from UK NGI, of which Linda Cornwall is the chair of EGI SVG.

4 It will be desired to bring the two seperate incident response channels into a single comprehensive one.

Infrastructure Services (Table 3)

Table 3: NGI Assessment: Operations Services >> Infrastructure Services
EGI-InSPIRE EGI_DS Name Assessment Score How to Improve
SA1.3N O-N-9 Software Rollout UK sites are involved with the staged rollout of a number of components including CREAM, ARGUS, WMS and DPM mySQL. The number of components is perhaps above expectation but there are still many issues affecting middleware reaching production which is disappointing. 3 The UK is currently rearranging various aspects of its operations including the way software is tested and deployed by a core team. In addition there needs to be more testing against NGS sites which have different priorities to GridPP sites.
SA1.4N O-N-3 Monitoring The UK has run a Nagios instance for sometime now. This is monitoring GridPP sites and providing data for regional operations. 3 NGS sites need to be monitored. The Nagios and monitoring framework are being moved to new and dedicated hardware to improve the resilience and capability.
SA1.5N O-N-2 Accounting All sites publishing. Results verified. Remaining issue with incompleteness of Condor publishing. All sites migrated to glite-APEL. 5 write here
SA1.4N O-N-1 O-N-4 Configuration Repository and Operations Portal write here 0-5 write here
SA1.6N SA1.7N O-N-6 O-N-7 Helpdesk For historical reasons the national level NGS helpdesk is currently separate from GGUS. Both helpdesks are run in parallel by the same support team and effectively serve their respective established user-bases,GGUS for traditional wLCG/GridPP/EGI communities and NGS for all others. The current plan it to continue using this setup. 4 An obvious improvement might seem to be to merge our helpdesks but the separation is due to historical reasons and since both helpdesk effectively serve their respective established user-bases, this are no plans to change this
SA1.8N O-N-5 O-N-8 Core Services write here 0-5 write here

Other (Table 4)

Table 4: NGI Assessment: Other
EGI-InSPIRE EGI_DS Name Assessment Score How to Improve
NA2.3N Policy Development write here 0-5 write here
NA2.2N E-N-2 Dissemination As an NGI the UK has a very strong dissemination activity. It if funded independently through both the NGS and GridPP projects and includes national events such as the GridPP collaboration workshop and NGS Innovation Forum and maintaining a presence at national and international conferences. The UK was one of the first national federations to have a NGI rather than project representation at conferences such as the EGEE and EGI Technical and User Fora and where appropriate it teams up with other national projects such as the Software Sustainability Institute, OMII-UK and Grid-Ireland.

The UK maintains close links to EGI's central dissemination team.

The UKs dissemination activity is currently heavily subsidised by national projects and as these enter new funding cycles it is likely to be ramped down accordingly.

5 no suggestions