OGSAConfig

Background

Summary

OGSAConfig is a JISC funded project in progress at the University of Edinburgh aimed at dynamically reconfiguring fabrics to enable each fabric to support a wider range of applications.

Grids

Grid networks are emerging as a practical way to share computing resources between multiple centres. Although at present they are limited to scientific and academic environments, there is currently great interest in potential commercial applications.

Related to grid networks are grid services, which extend existing web services technology in a number of ways, the most important being persistence. The current standard in this area is OGSA, the Open Grid Service Architecture, which is managed by the GGF (Global Grid Forum).

At present grid services form a handshaking layer that enables grid networks to work across diverse sites, although a move toward using grid services to provide applications is possible. Currently however, grid services are used to provide a standard interface to existing job managers.

Automated Configuration

A number of tools have been developed to manage the configurations of machines on a network in a centralised way. Automated configuration management does not refer to automating the process of deciding how a machine should be configured, instead it is mainly an alteration in how the desired configuration is specified and realised.

In traditional ad-hoc methods, a configuration is specified as it is realised by the system administrator altering the files on the target machine. As the number of nodes grows, this approach fails to scale. In automated configuration, the specification is done on a server and tools on the target node bring the configuration to the desired state.

Dynamic Fabric Reconfiguration

Because existing grid networks still have underlying job managers whose interfaces typically consist only of the name of a script or binary to execute, and because the target system may not be known when a job is submitted to the grid, each node in the network must be capable of executing any of the binaries a user might wish to run. This has the problem that often users' binaries have conflicting configuration requirements.

The solution being investigated by this project is whether automated configuration tools can be used within the grid fabric to change the configurations of nodes based upon the application they are asked to execute.

The project work will commence with a review of the configuration requirements at a number of grid centres, followed by a proof of concept implementation on a test fabric of dynamic reconfiguration.