I am attending the INTERNATIONAL ADVANCED RESEARCH WORKSHOP ON HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING AND GRIDS in Cetraro (Italy). This is the 9th edition of the workshop organized by Prof. Lucio Grandinetti. I have to say the venue of the workshop, at Grand Hotel San Michele, is just perfect. The panel of speakers includes representatives of the more relevant Grid and HPC research initiatives and technologies around the world. The abstracts of the presentations are available online at the workshop site.
Cloud Computing for on-Demand Resource Provisioning
This is the title of the talk that I gave in the Workshop. The aim of the presentation was to show the benefits of the separation of resource provisioning from job execution management in different deployment scenarios. Within an organization, the incorporation of a new virtualization layer under existing Cluster and HPC middleware stacks decouples the execution of the computing services from the physical infrastructure. The dynamic execution of working nodes, on virtual resources supported by virtual machine managers such as the OpenNEbula Virtual Infrastructure Engine, provides multiple benefits, such as cluster consolidation, cluster partitioning and heterogeneous workload execution. When the computing platform is part of a Grid Infrastructure, this approach additionally provides generic execution support, allowing Grid sites to dynamically adapt to changing VO demands, so overcoming many of the obstacles for Grid adoption.
The previous scenario can be modified so the computing services are executed on a remote virtual infrastructure. This is the resource provision paradigm implemented by some commercial and scientific infrastructure Cloud Computing solutions, such as Globus VWS or Amazon EC2, which provide remote interfaces for control and monitoring of virtual resources. In this way a computing platform could scale out using resources provided on-demand by a provider, so supplementing local physical computing services to satisfy peak or unusual demands. Cloud interfaces can also provide support for the federation of virtualization infrastructures, so allowing virtual machine managers to access resources from remote resources providers or Cloud systems in order to meet fluctuating demands. The OpenNEbula Virtual Infrastructure Engine is being enhanced to access on-demand resources from EC2 and Globus-based clouds. This scenario is being studied in the context of the RESERVOIR– Resources and Services Virtualization without Barriers — EU-funded initiative
Towards a New Model for the Infrastructure Grid
This is the title of my contribution in the Panel “From Grids to Cloud Services”, chaired by Charlie Catlett, in the Workshop. The aim of the presentation was to introduce the discussion on the future of compute grid infrastructures, from infrastructures for the sharing of basic resource services to infrastructures for the sharing of hardware resources. A widely distributed virtual infrastructure, inspired in the federation of cloud systems as providers of virtualized resources (hardware) as a service, would not require end users to learn new interfaces and port their applications to the expected runtime environment. The sharing of resources would be performed at resource level, so local job managers could scale out to partner or commercial clouds, transparently to end users. This new model provides additional benefits, such as the support to any service, seamless integration with any service middleware stack…; at the cost of the virtualization overhead in the execution of the jobs.
It was very interesting to share this position on cloud computing with other researchers from Grid and HPC fields. So the question is: Are the existing compute Grid Infrastructures going to evolve to Grids of Clouds?. In other words, Which model is better for end users and site administrators?, to share basic infrastructure services or the physical infrastructure?.