23 October 2008

NGS and GridPP - storage future?

The GridPP/NGS pow-wow yesterday was very useful. For storage, what can we do given that GridPP runs SRM, and the NGS uses SRB, distributed filesystems, Oracle, and OGSA-DAI?

We could of course look at interoperability: previously we achieved interoperation between SRM and SRB using gLite. (In GIN-ese, "interoperation" loosely speaking applies more than a works-for-now hack than "interoperability" which is meant to be a long-term solution.)

However, not many people really need interopera* between SRM and SRB at the moment, and when they do presumably the ASGC thingy will be ready. My observation would be that no one size fits all, different things do different things differently - we should not persuade NGS to run SRM any more than they should persuade us to store our data in SRB.

What I suggest we could more usefully do is to look at the fabric: we all (i.e. sites) buy disks and have filesystems and operating systems that need patching and tuning.
  • Procurement: sharing experiences, maybe even common tender at sites;
  • Infrastructure: how to structure storage systems (topology, networks etc);
  • Distributed filesystems?
  • Optimisation and tuning: OS, networks, filesystems, drivers, kernels, etc;
  • Technology watch: sharing experiences with existing technology (hardware) and tracking and testing new technology (e.g. SSD)
All of the above have traditionally been out of scope of the GridPP storage group which has focused on DPM and dCache support. However, by popular demand we have recently added a Hardware Korner, a monthly(ish) hardware discussion. And we keep discussing whether we need to support distributed filesystems (whether we can is another question).

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