EMI enters the FutureGrid era
01/05/2013

In October 2012, the request of the European Middleware Initiative to join the FutureGrid project was approved. Today, these two projects are teaming up to allow researchers to run some of the EMI products within the FutureGrid infrastructure for training purposes.

Online PR News – 05-January-2013 – Geneva/CERN, Switzerland – In October 2012, the request of the European Middleware Initiative to join the FutureGrid project was approved. Today, these two projects are teaming up to allow researchers to run some of the EMI products within the FutureGrid infrastructure for training purposes. EMI is a software platform for high performance distributed computing. It is at the core of Grid middleware distributions used by scientific research communities and distributed computing infrastructures all over the world, this includes the Worldwide Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid, or WLCG, which supports the physics research ongoing at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, together with other large scientific challenges in astronomy, biology, computational chemistry and other sciences.
Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in US, the major goal of the FutureGrid project is to provide computing resources for the research community. The FutureGrid core test-bed includes a geographically distributed set of heterogeneous computing systems, a data management system holding both metadata with a growing library of software images, and also a dedicated network allowing isolatable, secure experiments. It will support virtual machine-based environments, as well as native operating systems for experiments aimed at minimizing overhead and maximizing performance. A couple of EMI applications are already deployed in the FutureGrid test-bed. The first of them is a virtual appliance running the EMI UNICORE (UNiform Interface to COmputing REsources) server tools. The UNICORE appliance provides capabilities for the execution of large number of jobs (i.e. tasks), as typically requested by academic and industrial researchers in order to efficiently tackle computationally intensive problems. Another common scientific issue relies in the management of large files that requires an efficient administration of large and distributed file systems. For this reason, dCache has been chosen as the second EMI application to be deployed on the FutureGrid test-bed. Beside managing large file systems, dCache provides transparent and standardized ways to access the data, making possible for instance to access them with a Web browser.
Tutorials explaining how to manage these applications on FutureGride are already available both on EMI and FutureGrid Web portals Installation of further EMI products, as ARC CE (Advanced Resource Connector Computing Element) or CREAM (Computing Resource Execution and Management), are being planned, with the final aim of setting up a permanent and full featured test-bed of EMI services.
These will be explored by US partners (even beyond the end of EMI project), allowing the
dissemination and the evaluation of the activities ongoing in Europe, contributing to the international efforts in this area. Together with its partners, the FutureGrid project will integrate existing open-source software packages to create an easy-to-use software environment that supports the instantiation, execution and recording of grid and cloud computing experiments. In this way, the academic institutions could also have the opportunity to experiment with cloud technology and see if such technology enhances their campus resources. Education and outreach activities will include the dissemination of curricular materials on the use of pre-packaged FutureGrid virtual machines configured for particular course modules. The modules are based on virtual appliance networks and social networking technologies. While the European Middleware evolved over a decade mostly driven by European research communities, the use of FutureGrid might reveal additional requirements in order to satisfy more and more emerging global standards. This will help to limit duplicate developments, to engage in fruitful collaborations in order to support the requirements of global research communities, and to disseminate the existence of EMI within the US.

Contributed by Beatrice Bressan
EMI Website : http://www.eu-emi.eu
Further readings http://www.eu-emi.eu/training/futuregrid, https://portal.futuregrid.org/manual/emi.