Over the last two days, EGI has hosted a User Virtualisation Workshop in Amsterdam. Despite local transport strikes and the temptations of the spring sunshine, the meeting has gone well by all accounts. The workshop brought together resource providers, end users and technology providers to ask the following questions:
* Should EGI move towards providing an 'Infrastructure as a Service' model (a.k.a. cloud computing) tuned to support data intensive research communities?
* Should this service be provided by federations of resource providers from the research community, commercially by ad hoc agreements between users and resource providers, or by collective negotiation and purchase of resources on behalf of different communities?
* What sort of use (consuming communities and use cases) would the research community make of such a capability?
* What are the major issues (e.g. technical, policy, governance, etc.) that need to be resolved for this use to happen?
We’ll look forward to hearing more about the outcomes of these discussions. e-ScienceTalk and EMI also took the opportunity to sign an MoU covering joint dissemination activities. Coordinated by Alberto di Meglio, the European Middleware Initiative (EMI) is a close collaboration of the three major middleware providers, ARC, gLite and UNICORE, and other specialized software providers like dCache. It will deliver a consolidated set of middleware components for deployment in EGI (as part of the Unified Middleware Distribution - UMD), PRACE and other DCIs, extend the interoperability and integration with emerging computing models, strengthen the reliability and manageability of the services and establish a sustainable model to support, harmonise and evolve the middleware, ensuring it responds effectively to the requirements of the scientific communities relying on it.
E-ScienceTalk was at the EGI User Forum and EMI Technical Conference in Vilnius in April, where GridCast reported on the EMI data systems roadmap http://gridtalk-project.blogspot.com/2011/04/whilst-from-egi-side-this-is-user-forum.html. More news soon!