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V R E A Virtual Research Environment (Extending the Grid to the Desktop) Rob Crouchley (University of Lancaster) Rob Allan (CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory)

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Presentation on theme: "V R E A Virtual Research Environment (Extending the Grid to the Desktop) Rob Crouchley (University of Lancaster) Rob Allan (CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory)"— Presentation transcript:

1 V R E A Virtual Research Environment (Extending the Grid to the Desktop) Rob Crouchley (University of Lancaster) Rob Allan (CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory) VRE A vision by Daresbury and Lancaster

2 V R E Why have a VRE ? “to make the use of e-Science technologies, methodologies and resources easier and more transparent for users than simply developing bespoke applications on a generic infrastructure toolkit (such as Globus GT2 or OGSI/WSRF).” We need to: Bridge the gap between different types of technology (database management, computational methods, sensor Grids, networks, Condor resources, visualisation systems, collaborative working, Access Grid, etc.); Provide an environment to enhance the programmability and usability of such a Grid by integrating work from a number of ongoing research projects; Add value to the Grid by implementing a VRE on the JCSR clusters and resources at other e-Science Centres; Include Grid-based tools for research collaboration.

3 V R E Perceived problems with using the GRID Currently requires heroic effort to use it; GT2 is very complicated and difficult to install, requires root privileges to install it and various firewall ports to be open, duplicates some system libraries; Functionality nevertheless limited; Can make other University services vulnerable if not properly managed; User requirements not fully articulated; Human factors not addressed, needs familiar GUI, pull down menus, etc. Requirements gathering now high on the agenda (JISC, ETF, UTF, …)

4 V R E The Grid “Client Problem” Grid Core Consumer clients: PC, TV, video, AG Workplace: desktop clients Portable clients: phones, laptop, pda, data entry… Middleware e.g. Globus Grid Core Many clients want to access a few Grid- enabled resources

5 V R E Institutions need Autonomy and Security Host – client relationship Example solution suggested by Web server - browser Communication must be initiated by client because of firewall around client’s institution. Can use a proxy or gateway.

6 V R E So a Virtual Research Environment? Requirements: Easy to install Familiar interface Personalisable Work through firewalls Extensible functionality Persistent Pervasive Secure

7 V R E Options Provide heavyweight functionality (Globus?), but only on Grid-enabled hosts; Implied need for client-server software architecture, e.g.: –Web-based portal with familiar browser –Client programming library, API in C, C++ Java, Perl, Python, R etc. –Ability to link to existing applications/ GUIs –Command-based shell interface –Drag and Drop interface (a la Mac) Need a published set of services on Grid hosts – OGSA model, registry, semantics; Need easy development and deployment framework for applications and client tools, e.g. using Web services - encourage community contribution via an open process.

8 V R E Human Factors Growing recognition of the need to design a behaviourally appropriate interface to the Grid; e.g. Rick Stevens’ Access Grid and work on human factors issues; Lot of industrial knowledge here, ergonomics etc. needs to be built on; Usability Task Force will take a lead; Job of scientists already hard – need tools that do not make it harder!

9 V R E Digital libraries & documents groups-to- information groups-to- facilities people-to-people Communication, Collaboration Services Distributed, media-rich information technology Remote instruments Science of Collaboratories NSF Funded ITR

10 V R E Some Tools to aid Collaborations Phone, … WIKI – Web based on-the-fly multi-editorial document management using hypertext Forum – Web based threaded mail discussion and archives Chandler – personal information management system: mail, calendar, contact list, tasks, repositories, shared docs, etc. Microsoft Outlook – ditto, but Windows based BSCW –Web based shared workspace system, document upload, event notification, group management and much more GridSite – Web based secure document sharing and multi-editorial PHPNuke – news, messages, topics, resources, mail, links, etc. – used for HPCPortal and InfoPortal v2 Access Grid – on-line multicast meetings and shared presentations NetMeeting – Microsoft tool for on-line meetings CHEF – workgroup based system with chat, resources, news etc. – used in ReDReSS

11 V R E Some basic VRE Functions VRE must take care of many things behind the scenes: Authentication and authorisation (Shibboleth and Permis in line with JISC proposals…); Shared development of content by staff using content management and editing tools: –Access to middleware resources and documentation, –Access to training materials and resources, –Collaboration services, –Access to support, consultancy and other services Access to Grid Services - user access via pre-defined tools and applications to the UK e-Science Grid; Data access – e.g. using Storage Resource Broker; Access to broadcasts – e.g. on the Access Grid network; Management functions - for experts to maintain the system and deploy new applications.

12 V R E The VRE needs to be more than a Web page Why should it be different? Like the Web, persistent and pervasive, but: It provides a managed environment, giving secure access to autonomous Grid services, providing resources, based on user requirements; It uses diagnostic/ background data to orchestrate the material for each individual (via session management/ profiling services); It will be specific to the needs of groups of scientists (virtual organisations), providing new routes to e-Science; The technology will be easily extendable to include all new tools; It could be an early adopter of new WSRF/ GT4 and portlet standards.

13 V R E Examples of Activites: 1 IeSE IeSE: Integrated e-Science Environment for CCLRC. Web service interfaces + presentation APIs + Grid (via Globus GT2). Hosted on IBM BladeCenter at Daresbury. HPCPortal – services for Grid resources and applications DataPortal – search and access remote data repositories GapTk – scientific visualisation services InfoPortal – Grid information services GROWL – lightweight C and R library interfaces Customised for e-Science Pilot projects: e-Minerals, e- Materials, e-HTPX, SABRE-R, ETF, NGS (soon?), CCLRC Facilities, etc.

14 V R E Examples of IeSE Portal Interfaces HPCPortal DataPortal

15 V R E Examples of Activites: 2 Sakai Collaborative framework for higher education institutions to develop and share open source software. Principally aimed at educational portal development, course management, workgroup management, etc. Adopted by U. Michigan, Indiana U., MIT, Stanford etc. Easily customised for e-Science projects, e.g. NEESGrid Open Knowledge Initiative OSID (Open Services Interface Definitions) Research support collaborative system Workflow engine Tool portability profile Funding –$4.4M in institutional staff (27 FTE) –$2.4M Mellon Foundation –Additional investment through partners Built on Java portlet standard JSR-168 plus CHEF v2/ uPortal v3 framework

16 V R E Sakai Timelines SPARC Science of Collaboratories Sakai Worktools (Notes Based)WTNG Coursetools (Notes Based) CTNGCHEF 1CHEF 2 NMI Grid Portal NEESGrid

17 V R E Examples of Activities: 3 ARDA ARDA: Architectural Roadmap towards Distributed Analysis. LCH Computing Grid Report – CERN-LCG ; Builds on existing software - e.g. AliEn portal; Assesses future user requirements for LCG application area; Build and extend Grid/ database services; Provide application frameworks, shells, APIs, interactive GUIS, portals etc. Proposed as an example component of the EGEE work programme for the EU Grid.

18 V R E ARDA: Key Services for Distributed Analysis

19 V R E ARDA: API and User Interface

20 V R E Objectives of the VRE To deploy a framework and extensible set of services developed by the e-Science and Information communities; To provide customisable portals for projects using these and other bespoke services; To develop a Grid client toolkit for application developers based on current on Grid services; To link together applications from many research domains; To put semantic, discovery and compositional interfaces in place as tools to create such a rich environment; To link active services and sources of information to generate and exploit new knowledge.  Project plan

21 V R E Scoping a VRE Project: Phase I (year 1) £10k to perform a comprehensive review of research requirements and initial tests of alternative software; £100k to do some critical ground work and provide some support for others who want to use portals e.g. Sakai. Critical Ground work:  Sakai may already be the front runner, UK could become founder member ($10k p.a. for 3 years);  Extend existing portals for NGS (JCSR clusters);  Integrate AGN and video delivery portlets (based on current work with Geoffrey Fox), enable joint working on documents presentations etc.  Extend CHEF functionality to create testbed, with HPCPortal services, etc.

22 V R E Enhancing the CHEF Collaborative Environment We have already added video conferencing for joint working on the same document; Will link into AGN and other portlets (collaboration with Geoffrey Fox, Indiana).

23 V R E Scoping a VRE Project: Phase II (year 2) Builds on phase I; £300k would get more ground work and establish links to other resources, e.g. RDN via SPP portal etc… £600k would get a foot in the door with international partnerships and technical contributions to activities such as Sakai; Framework support for VRE and VLE; Additional customised support for users of NGS. Use open source software and standards such as JSR-168 and WSRP. Different groups may go different ways but software can still be shared. JISC may choose to extend scoping study and small-scale demonstrator based on requirements collection and prototyping such as currently being carried out at Daresbury and Lancaster. It is already becoming clear that the Sakai framework may be the front runner.

24 V R E Scoping a VRE Project: Phase III (year 3) Builds on phase II; £X gets a functional e-Science VRE - scoping study will determine X; New services and clients customised and re-usable for UK projects; Integrate JISC IE and e-Science/ GridPP Grids; Includes some VLE functionality; Plug and play for diverse community requirements; Extendable, depending on user feedback, e.g. text mining; Ensure contribution to standards and components to worldwide fora, e.g. GGF, ???. This work would establish an operational framework and suite of tools with a UK “stamp”. It would consolidate e- Science and Information Env. work and allow contribution of new tools.

25 V R E Possible functionality/ content of a VRE

26 V R E Lancaster CHEF framework ReDReSS Daresbury IeSE framework HPCPortal, etc. DataPortal GROWL Bristol, Oxford, Bath SPP Portal Access Grid E-Science Grid Tools and resources National Grid Service Links to EGEE GridPP Tools and resources Links to EGEE Phase III VRE 2.0 Release Tool Portability Profile Framework Services-based Portal VRE Tools Complete CMS Workflow Research Tools Authoring Tools Advanced search tools Advanced Grid tools Primary VRE Activity Refining VRE Framework, Tuning and conforming additional tools Intensive community building/training Activity: Ongoing implementation work at local institutions… Jan 04 Jan 05Jan 06Dec 06 Activity: Maintenance & Transition from a project to a community Phase II VRE 1.0 Release Tool Portability Profile Framework Services-based Portal Refined OSIDs & implementations VRE Tools Complete CMS Collaborations Basic Grid tools Cross sesource searches Support for VLE Link to SAKAI Activity Architecting for JSR-168 Portlets, Refactoring “best of” features for tools Conforming tools to Tool Portability Profile Develop a VRE framework Possible VRE Timelines Sakai source available Converge with EGEE


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