Co-Authors:
Miguel Caballer, PhD @micafe77
Alvaro Lopez Garcia, PhD @alvaretas

The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) Conference 2017 and INDIGO-DataCloud (INtegrating Distributed data Infrastructures for Global ExplOitation) Summit 2017 recently took place in Catania, Italy from May 9-12 2017. I had the honor of being a Keynote speaker, and for me this was the first time attending any EGI or INDIGO event. The co-authors, Dr. Miguel Caballer and Dr. Alvaro Lopez Garcia, are INDIGO lead architects and attending EGI and INDIGO Summits on a regular basis. The in-depth schedule of the event can be found here.

EGI
EGI is a federated e-Infrastructure set up to provide advanced computing services for research and innovation. The EGI e-infrastructure is publicly-funded and comprises over 300 data centers and cloud providers spread across Europe and worldwide.

INDIGO-DataCloud
The INDIGO-DataCloud project develops an open source data and computing platform targeted at scientific communities, deployable on multiple hardware and provisioned over hybrid, private or public, e-infrastructures. It brings innovation in computing, storage and network aspects of the cloud. It introduces a cloud middleware framework based on OpenStack and OpenNebula. The INDIGO-DataCloud project is mainly focused on addressing requirements of scientific communities in four domains:

  1. Biological and Medical science
  2. Social science and Humanities
  3. Environmental and Earth science
  4. Physics and Astrophysics

Summary of Summit
The EGI Conference 2017 was the EGI Community’s main event of 2017 and the last meeting organized in the context of the EGI-Engage project. The conference was focused on the technical roadmap of EGI, with dedication to authorization and authentication, compute services to both HTC and cloud, as well as storage and data services and uptake of the services in scientific communities.
The INDIGO Summit 2017 was the flagship event of the INDIGO-DataCloud project, with a focus on user engagement and the INDIGO service catalogue. This event was centered on exploring the solutions provided by the INDIGO software, applying them to concrete use cases brought forward by scientific communities and resource providers. Demos, training and hands-on implementation sessions were also provided at the event.
The event was hosted by INFN-Catania, part of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics and have the support of the Metropolitan City of Catania. The event was powered with Keynote speech from renowned speakers, several technical sessions and poster sessions. It was attended by a few hundred computer scientists and developers from all over the Europe, United States, Canada, Taiwan and South Africa. Most attendees had PhD or MSc degree in Computer Science.

Our Takeaway
We found the event very successful with over 5 Keynote sessions, 32 numbers of technical sessions, 29 numbers of Posters and Panel discussions. The Keynote speakers included Dr. Tiziana Ferrari (Technical Director, EGI Foundation), Dr. Davide Salomoni (Coordinator, INDIGO-DataCloud), Prof. Jesús Marco de Lucas (Work Package Leader, INDIGO-DataCloud), Edit Herczog (Ex-Member of European Parliament), Dr. Jan Korbel (Senior Scientist, EMBL Heidelberg) and Sahdev Pratapsinh Zala (IBM).

It was simply amazing to see how technology especially Cloud Computing is influencing science. Several sessions and demonstration were presented towards it. One of the most impressive sessions was by senior scientist Dr. Jan Korbel titled “Cancer Genomes on the Cloud: The Pan-Cancer Initiative” demonstrating how cloud is making possible advanced research on Cancer. Dr. Korbel also discussed the future of cancer research and how science cloud will play an important role.

In his Keynote speech, Sahdev P. Zala of IBM presented IBM’s leadership and commitment in open source software development. He demonstrated the collaborative efforts that project INDIGO-DataCloud and IBM team worked together to enhance OpenStack TOSCA projects like OpenStack Heat Translator and OpenStack TOSCA Parser. He also demonstrated how INDIGO-DataCloud use those projects in production. Part of his briefing on collaborative efforts were recap of INDIGO team and IBM’s joint sessions at the OpenStack summits in Austin and Barcelona 2017, and a joint submission of research paper in a prestigious Journal of Grid Computing. At the end, he provided an overview of IBM Bluemix Platform.

Dr. Korbel on the future of Cancer research and Sahdev Zala talking on IBM Bluemix.

Dr. Miguel Caballer is an architect of the Infrastructure Manager (IM). The IM is a tool that deploys complex and customized virtual infrastructures on multiple back-ends. It enables the automation of the Virtual Machine Image (VMI) selection, deployment, configuration, software installation, monitoring and update of virtual infrastructures. It supports a wide variety of back-ends, thus making user applications Cloud agnostic. In addition it features DevOps capabilities, based on Ansible to enable the installation and configuration of all the user required applications providing the user with a fully functional infrastructure. The IM is used by INDIGO-DataCloud at two levels: in the PaaS core to access Cloud providers external to the INDIGO-DataCloud project and as the TOSCA orchestration layer of the OpenNebula sites of the INDIGO-DataCloud infrastructure .

Dr. Alvaro Lopez from CSIC is coordinating the development efforts in the compute virtualization area of the INDIGO-DataCloud project, as well as the coordinator of the task responsible for the integration modules needed for the EGI Federated Cloud. Those activities were showcased in a joint session moderated by Alvaro, focused at mature user communities that are able to exploit IaaS resources directly.

Dr. Miguel talking about IM and Dr. Alvaro moderating session.

Dr. Davide Salomoni (coordinator of the INDIGO-DataCloud project) and Dr. Tiziana Ferrari (Technical Director of the EGI Foundation) provided details about progress of INDIGO-DataCloud and EGI respectively. They also provided audience with lots of data about both the projects. It was absolutely impressive to learn how big is EGI infrastructure, as it can be seen in the presentation. EGI currently federates more than 300 HTC centers, more than 20 cloud providers and providing over 2.6 billion CPU hours per year to more than 50000 users distributed worldwide. Professor Jesus Marco of CSIC (work package leader of INDIGO-DataCloud) acted as the moderator for the INDIGO-DataCloud sessions. Prof. Jesus also moderated a panel with seven Panel Experts including Dr. Tiziana Ferrari, Dr. Davide Salomoni and Sahdev Zala.

Panel discussion and a slide from EGI Federation talk.

Conclusion
At this vibrant event, the INDIGO and EGI community demonstrated many initiatives that are going on for a better science. It is clear that INDIGO-DataCloud can play a vital role for a sustainable cloud infrastructure for scientific communities in Europe and beyond. The detail of event and sessions can be found at the conference site. To learn more about event moments visit #egiconf17 and #indigosummit17 on Twitter.

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