Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the road to Brussels for OGF30/GRID2010

Yesterday I went to Oslo, Bergen, Lillehammer and Stavanger. No, not a lightning half term trip round the Nordic region, but the names of rooms at the OGF30/GRID2010 meeting in Brussels. After getting over the slight bizarreness of asking where Oslo was and being told that it was round the corner and up the stairs (rather than in Norway), I listened to a presentation by outgoing OGF President, Craig Lee.

Craig Lee, who also has a day job at Aerospace Corporation – like all Board members, his efforts for OGF are on a voluntary basis – has been President of OGF since 2007. He shared his perspective on the last 3 years and some ideas for the future.

According to Lee, the activities of OGF have been a good Litmus paper for the direction and evolution of distributed computing technology. OGF is uniquely positioned to facilitate this development of technology, having a joint constituency between science, academia and industry, which is not driven by market economics. At the moment, clouds are hot but the federation of resources is still fundamental. Clouds are about provisioning but grids are about federation.

So what’s next? As Lee says, there will be something…

Lee also discussed his recent experiences at the CHEP high energy physics event in Taipei. Here Ian Bird of CERN outlined how using distributed computing infrastructures for processing the data from the Large Hadron Collider is now a reality, but they spent a lot of time and effort hiding the complexity of the grid from users. Lee believes that the traditional ‘grid machinery’ has to be simplified.

Bird also pointed out that pilot jobs are almost ubiquitous in all experiments. For Lee again, this unanticipated usage model also strongly indicates that there should be a change in how resources are exposed. The cloud model is easier, it gives the illusion that you own the resources you’re using.

For Lee, future activities should be about stopping people reinventing the wheel – again. Although he is stepping down as OGF President, his day job will continue to involve tracking developing technologies for DCIs. His European colleagues say that they are on the path to Brussels a lot of the time – Lee is on a path to Washington DC as it’s where the future cloud adopters will be living.

Lee’s final word on his years at OGF – it’s been fun!

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