Finding new RESERVOIRs of Resources: Europe’s Largest Grid Project Moves Closer to Cloud-style Computing

The integration of two clans of computation, ‘grid’ and ‘cloud’ computing, is moving closer through collaboration between the projects Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) and  Resources and Services Virtualisation without Barriers (RESERVOIR).

The two teams will work together to explore how the institutes providing computing resources to EGEE could benefit from adopting a ‘private cloud’ model to provide resources. Private clouds allow organisations to easily manage their own hardware resources in-house. Using virtualisation technology they can alter the provided computing to suit the work at hand. This makes it easier for them to provide the necessary infrastructure for their users, even if these needs change rapidly over time.

This collaboration will identify how the combination of RESERVOIR’s management software and existing virtualisation technology could offer new ways for EGEE to maximise the use of the resources provided to its user communities. In the future this approach could help sites to increase their resources by using commercial cloud providers during peak loads.

“Throughout EGEE, our partners invest considerable funds on the purchase and management of computing clusters” said Steven Newhouse, EGEE’s Technical Director. “This partnership with the RESERVOIR project will allow us to explore how their software could give EGEE’s resource centres greater flexibility in how they deliver their services to our worldwide grid infrastructure.”

EGEE currently provides resources to many scientific domains, each of these domains has different computational requirements and application environments. RESERVOIR offers the ability for EGEE sites to easily meet the changing needs of the users, from scaling-up services to meet peak loads and improving redundancy, to changing the resources provided to run particular applications. The RESERVOIR virtualisation manager builds on the open source project OpenNebula which has been developed at the Distributed Systems Architecture Research Group at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. The group’s aim is to make management of cloud resources easier using virtual machine technology.

“This partnership between the largest European Grid project and the flagship European research initiative in cloud computing is a natural step given the many benefits of virtualisation on Grid computing” said Ignacio M. Llorente, leader of the RESERVOIR Activity on VM Management and co-leader of OpenNebula, “This is only the beginning, I think that Grid and Cloud computing will coexist and cooperate at different levels in future e-Infrastructures.”

A short video demonstrating RESERVOIR technology can be seen at GridCast. The video shows the demo “Scaling out EGEE sites on Amazon EC2 with OpenNebula” that won the best demo award in the 4th EGEE User Forum/OGF 25 and OGF Europe’s 2nd International Event.

Source: EGEE Newsletter Summer 2009

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