Service Providers (SPs) are projects or organizations that provide cyberinfrastructure (CI) services to the science and engineering community. In the US academic community, there is a rich diversity of Service Providers, spanning centers that are funded by NSF to operate large-scale resources for the national research community to universities that provide resources and services to their local researchers. The Service Provider Forum is intended to facilitate this ecosystem of Service Providers, thereby advancing the science and engineering researchers that rely on these cyberinfrastructure services.
The Service Provider (SP) Forum provides:
· An open forum for discussion of topics of interest to the SP community.
· A formal communication channel between the SP Forum members and the XSEDE project.
The Service Provider Forum was originally proposed as part of the governance structure for the XSEDE project, which recognized the need for a forum to serve as the formal interface point between the XSEDE project and the group of autonomous SPs (see sidebar for background). In this context, the SP Forum is the forum for interaction between XSEDE and SPs, discussing and mutually resolving issues where the interests of SPs and XSEDE overlap (e.g. networking, operations, security, allocations, accounting, user support, documentation, software environments, etc.). The SP Forum charter, membership and governance structures reflect the mutual relationships and responsibilities in this crucial governance body that must constructively support the XSEDE-SP interactions.
While the initial motivation to create the Service Provider Forum was to facilitate the interface between the XSEDE project and those SPs with which it coordinates/integrates, the original members of the SP Forum recognized that this body could have a broader role beyond just the interface to XSEDE. In particular, the SP Forum includes a large number of members with considerable expertise and experience in operating diverse cyberinfrastructure resources and services. The SP Forum could itself become an active element in the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem, with its members sharing best practices, leveraging mutual experiences with various technologies and systems, or coordinating training or outreach activities. This forms the basis for the SP Forum's other purpose – to be an open forum for discussion of topics of interest to the SP community, whether or not these are directly related to XSEDE.
Additional information about the Service Provider Forum is available at https://www.xsede.org/web/guest/project-documents-archive . If you are interested in joining the Service Provider Forum, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.