XSEDE Community Infrastructure – evolution from Campus Bridging
XSEDE Community Infrastucture Engineer Eric Coulter gives a talk on campus bridging products at Indiana University
The mission of XSEDE Community Infrastructure (XCI) is to facilitate interaction, sharing, and compatibility of all relevant software and related services across the national CI community—building and improving upon the foundational efforts of XSEDE.
XCI envisions enabling users by targeting services allocated by XSEDE (including OSG resources), campus-based CI facilities, commercial cloud providers, CI software services such as science gateways and Globus Online, and even the individual researcher who wants to interact effectively with the national CI via her or his own laptop. Through XCI, XSEDE will serve an aligning function within the nation, not by rigorously defining a particular architecture, but rather by assembling a technical infrastructure that facilitates interaction and interoperability across the national CI community. The suite of interoperable and compatible software tools that XSEDE will make available to the community will be based on those already in use but will add services that address emerging needs including data and computational services.
XCI gres out of the "Campus Bridging" group of XSEDE1 and other parts of the original XSEDE organization. Why the change in name and focus? Keeping up with community needs and changing technology is the short answer. The longer answer is below, followed by information on what we are doing now in the second five years of XSEDE.
Beginning in 2009 and culminating in a report produced in 2011, the National Science Foundation convened its ACCI Task Force on Campus Bridging (https://www.nsf.gov/cise/aci/taskforces/TaskForceReport_CampusBridging.pdf
). The ultimate goal of campus bridging as described in that report could be described as: to create an experience of interacting with cyberinfrastructure, no matter where it is located, as easily and seamlessly as if it were simply a peripheral attached to the researcher's own laptop. The report generated at the conclusion of that Task Force's work formed much of the basis upon which XSEDE Campus Bridging as a group would define its priorities within XSEDE during the first five years of XSEDE. A great deal of excellent work was done by many members of the US cyberinfrastructure community, including excellent leadership by the NSF in the form of new solicitations such as the CC* series. XSEDE did a great deal through its campus bridging program as well, most notably in the implementation of Globus Transfer as a mechanism for data movement within and beyond XSEDE as well as the creation fo the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit, a suite of software designed to enable campus cyberinfrastructure proviuders to create local systems that are easily interoperable with XSWEDE and other national-scale cyberinfrastructure systems (for more information see Challenges Met
). There is plenty of work yet to do, but the key highest priority issues that made the term "campus bridging" make sense as a term are now largely addressed (or at least addressable, given success with a proposal to the NSF CC* program or implementation of tools now made available via XSEDE).
In XSEDE2, XSEDE Community Integration – XCI - takes on the task of working with administrators and users of local campus CI resources, Service Providers that offer resources to the national research community, and XSEDE. Our job is to put into practice the role set out for XSEDE in facilitating an interoperable national fabric of cyberinfrastructure resources. Our key activities in the next five years include:
- The XSEDE Community Software Repository. This repository includes a variety of resources for both XSEDE Service Providers and unassociated campuses. The CSR provides capabilities for five main use cases: Account Management, Community Building, Enabling Functions (such as job submission or authentication to multiple resources), Scientific Computing, and Scientific Data management. It is available at https://software.xsede.org/xcsr/. XCRI in particular provides a toolkit for installing a local Globus connect server, available at https://github.com/XSEDE/CRI_Ansible. Globus is a fast and reliable high-performance service for secure data movement. Designed specifically for researchers, Globus provides easy, fire-and forget features and simplified automated data transfers between any two resources—whether between two XSEDE resources or to/from XSEDE and another machine, such as another supercomputing facility, cloud resource, campus cluster, lab server, desktop, or laptop. It is the recommended method for transferring data to any XSEDE system, and has been tested to ensure that both Globus Connect and Globus Connect Personal are easily interoperable with all XSEDE resources.
- Continue and expand use and adoption of the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit. This repository of software includes open-source scientific software that enabled local campus CI providers to configure an environment similar to that found on XSEDE-supported CI, which eases the user transition from local to national resources. The XNIT repository is available at https://cb-repu.iu.xsede.org/xsederepo/. Related to this, for those building a cluster from scratch, XSEDE will continue to maintain the Rocks-based XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster software toolkit. For more information on creating a campus cyberinfrastructure facility that is straightforward to maintain, interoperates with XSEDE, and makes use of many "best of breed" automated system management tools, see Toolkit.
- XCRI Site Vists - The XSEDE Campus Bridging team is happy to visit your site to help implement XCBC on campuses. After an initial consulting meeting over the phone, we can work with you to make sure that XCBC is implemented at your site and make sure that you have the knowledge that you need to maintain it. For more information on site visits, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Detailed descriptions of XCRI site vists are given in the XSEDE 2016 paper "Implementation of Simple XSEDE-Like Clusters: Science Enabled and Lessons Learned"
To get help with integration of your campus, statewide, or regional cyberinfrastructure facilities
The XSEDE help line: 1-866-907-2383
And should local system administrators require additional guidance on configuration of a resource, the XCI team makes housecalls!