31 March 2014

Highlights of ISGC 2014

ISGC 2014 is over. Lots of interesting discussions - on the infrastructure end, ASGC developing fanless machine room, interest in (and results on) CEPH and GLUSTER, dCache tutorial, and an hour of code with the DIRAC tutorial.

All countries and regions presented overviews of their work in e-/cyber-Infrastructure.

Interestingly, although this wasn't a HEP conference, practically everyone is doing >0 on LHC, so the LHC really is binding countries and researchers (well, at least physicist and infrastructureists) and e-Infrastructures together (and NRENs). When one day, someone sits down to tally up the benefit and impact of the LHC, this ought to be one of the top ones. The ability to work together and to (mostly) be able to move data to each other, and to trust each other's CAs.

Regarding the DIRAC tutorial, I was there and went through as much as I could ("I am not doing that to my private key")  Something to play with a bit more when I have time - an hour (of code) is not much time; there are always compromises between getting stuff done realistically and cheating in tutorials, but as long as there's something you can take away and play with later. As regards the key shenanigans, DIRAC say they will be working with EGI on SSO, so that's promising. Got the T-shirt, too. "Interware," though?

On the security side, OSG have been interfacing to DigiCert, following the planned termination of the ESNET CA. Once again grids have demands that are not seen in the commercial world, such as the need for bulk certificates (particularly cost effective ones - something a traditional Classic IGTF can do fairly well.) Other security questions (techie acronym alert, until end of paragraph) include how Argus and XACML compare for implementing security policies, and the EMI STS - CERN looking at linking with ADFS. And Malaysia are trialling an online CA based on a FIPS level three token with a Raspberry π.

EGI federated cloud got mentioned quite a few times - KISTI interested in offering IaaS, also Australia interested in joining. Philippines providing resources. EGI have a strategy for engagement. Interesting the extent to which they are driving the of CDMI.

I should mention Shaun gave a talk on "federated" access to data, comparing the protocols - which I missed - the talk, I mean - being in another session, but I understand it was well received and there was a lot of interest.

Software development - interesting experiences from the dCache team and building user communities with (for) DIRAC. How are people taught to develop code? The closing session was by Adam Lyon from Fermilab who talked about the lessons learned - the HEP vision of big data being different from the industry one. And yet HEP needs a culture shift to move away from the not-invented-here.

ISGC really had a great mix of Asian and European countries, as well as the US and Australia. This post was just a quick look through my notes; there'll be much more to pick up and ponder over the coming months. And I haven't even mentioned the actual science stuff ...

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