SMSCG provides all the essential ingredients for an operational
grid and the necessary user support system.
Thousands of CPUs can be accessed by students or researchers and deliver results faster. The extensible
application portfolio is not limited to few research fields and contains applications from several disciplines.
(see also phase 2)
People from more than 10 institutions have successfully cooperated to build and operate a national
computational Grid infrastructure, which is fully supported by Swiss National Grid Initiative (SwiNG) and which
consists out of more than 2500 CPUs.
The user-driven application portfolio encompasses 8 applications in the fields of
The portfolio is further enriched by the workflow engine JOpera and by the parallel programming framework POP-C++.
The SMSCG Grid is the first Grid in Europe, which has leveraged user management against a national AAI infrastructure.
As a result students and researchers with a SWITCHaai account can join any of the five Virtual Organizations (life, earth, crypto, tutor, smscg)
the project is operating within two clicks on a registration webpage. VO subscription and enabling of
their Short Lived Certificate is done transparently in the background.
The project has established a solid framework of policies, guidelines, and procedures, which
shall enforce security, and ensure a smooth and efficient operation of the actively and passively monitored infrastructure.
Special attention has been put to the support of users, e.g. by a ticketing that further notifies the
project mailing list. The reaction times are thus very short.
SMSCG has with it's expertise established as the de-facto Grid infrastructure other AAA/SWITCH Grid
projects attach to.
The following Core Grid services are available through the project website:
- Old style NorduGrid monitor and GIIS server
- New style SMSCG Grid monitor
- VOMS server (Virtual Organization Membership Service), hosts also non-SMSCG VOs
- VASH server (VOMS Attributes from Shibboleth)
- Package repository for SMSCG software
- Projects ticketing system, used for user support
- User VO subscription service
- Fraction of CPUs, which is made available to the SMSCG Grid users
- Nagios plugins that monitor several components of the ARC middleware stack.
The second phase of SMSCG
will focus on infrastructure and on user recruitment.
Our primary goal
is to provide computational resources to solve scientific
computational problems. This involves the installation, commissioning and
operation of a computational grid across several institutions of the Swiss
higher education sector with active
of applications from different scientific domains.
This grid shall have the following key
- Multi-disciplinary and
user-driven: The grid shall be used by a
selected set of early user communities from different scientific domains
organized in virtual organizations. Several user groups are active members
of the project, additional user groups may join later.
- Support for users and
applications: Special focus will be given to
make this grid easy to use. The grid specialists will assist the user
groups in porting and running their applications on the grid. The
mechanisms for long-term user and application support will be defined and
initial steps taken towards their establishment.
- Foster cooperation between IT infrastructure providers and computational
scientists from different academic institutions. Members from cantonal
universities, universities of applied sciences as well as from the ETH
domain participate in this project.
- The supported grid
middleware shall be
- Simple: The middleware is chosen such that it can be easily
installed, maintained and operated. This will enable adding new resources
at a later stage. Only well-established middleware solutions with which
project members already have experience shall be used, with slight adaptations
wherever necessary. No new middleware components shall be developed as
part of this project.
- Extensible: Although the initial focus is on a computational grid only,
the middleware shall be chosen such that it does not exclude further extensions
at a later stage, mainly in the area of data management. A dedicated work
package investigates possible extensions and interoperability with a
second chosen middleware.
- Flexible: Avoid lock-in to one given grid middleware. The grid
middleware stack ARC from the NorduGrid Project has been chosen as
starting point. However, the project will investigate interoperation with
a second middleware stack (or components thereof), which will be selected
early in the project.
- Integrated user
management: User registration, authentication
and authorization shall be leveraged against SWITCHaai, the Swiss national
authentication and authorization infrastructure (AAI). This implies the
use of SWITCH short-lived certificates (SLCS) as well as authorization
decisions based on SWITCHaai attributes. This will be the first grid installation
in Europe where user management, authentication and authorization across
several institutions is based on a national AAI infrastructure.
- Special focus on security: The project team will seek active cooperation with the CERT
teams of the Swiss higher education sector.
- Policy-based: By end of the project, the grid shall reach an operational
stage, which is governed by policies between resource providers and user
- Sustainability: The project team plans to extend this project upon success by
another two years, including additional applications. Beyond 2011, the aim
is to operate this grid through funding obtained within the context of the
Swiss National Grid Association (SwiNG).