NorGrid - Norwegian GRID Initiative
The objective of the NorGrid initiative is to develop and maintain a mature national grid infrastructure that provides easy and secure access to distributed resources, provides large aggregate capacities for computation, storage and data transfer, optimizes the utilization of the overall resource capacity, and make Norway an attractive partner in international grid collaborations.
The national grid infrastructure will connect resources that are located at several major research centers in Norway. The resources include heterogeneous computing systems, data storage systems, networks, and possibly scientific instruments.
The purpose is to:
- deploy and enable the development of new services that add value to the existing infrastructure.
- enable grid-based calculation and data storage in a broad range of scientific and technological applications.
- help researchers to create and to participate in computational challenges of scope and size unreachable on single facilities alone.
More detailed objectives are:
- to provide a variety of new non-trivial services that add value to the existing infrastructure, operations and support services.
- to provide an infrastructure that is attractive for international collaboration and enables participation in large international scientific efforts.
- to provide a platform that is attractive for grid research and development work and distributed computing research in general.
- to stimulate the adoption of grid technologies in the Norwegian research community.
The long term vision of the project is that many compute and storage resources will be accessed through a grid interface.
The project consortium consists of NTNU, UiB, UiO, UiT, UNINETT, and UNINETT Sigma. UNINETT Sigma coordinates the project and reports progress and plans to the Research Council of Norway. The activity of the project will be steered by the Board of UNINETT Sigma.
The project consortium includes the major centres in Norway that operate large scale resources that are relevant for the national grid infrastructure and have a wide experience in providing user support, as well as centres that have a wide experience in software development. The diversity and strengths of the individual centres will be exploited as much as possible.
The NorGrid initiative welcomes all parties (users, resource providers, industrial parties, etc.) that wish to get involved and that are interested in technology transfer through grid technology.
Internationally, grid infrastructure projects are being established, grid technologies are being developed and grid applications are being deployed at a rapidly increasing pace and scale. The developments in Europe are to a large extent driven by large collaborations such as EGEE and DEISA and by the need to process and store the large amounts of data generated by the high-energy physics experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. A world-wide hierarchical WLCG grid infrastructure is being developed for this purpose. The Nordic Data Grid Facility (NDGF) is a collaboration between the Nordic countries and entered its second phase in May 2006. The (distributed) Nordic Tier-1 in the WLCG collaboration is coordinated by NDGF.
In Norway, grid development activities started in 2001 within the framework of the Nordic project NorduGrid that forms the origin of the ARC middleware. The first Norwegian grid infrastructure activity was established in 2003 as part of the Notur (I) project. In 2003-2005, this infrastructure included a small number of commodity (PC) clusters with mixed success, primarily due to insufficient funding and man-effort.
The purpose of the present NorGrid initiative is to remedy this situation and enable Norway to catch up with the international developments, and provide modern and competitive grid infrastructure and services to the Norwegian research community. NorGrid will be the Norwegian component in the forthcoming third phase of the EGEE project (planned start mid 2008) and is the Norwegian National Grid Initiative (NGI) in the European Grid Initiative that is currently being designed (EGI_DS). NorGrid also takes care of the Norwegian responsibilities concerning the Nordic Tier-1 that is coordinated by NDGF.
Hardware and software
The NorGrid infrastructure builds on the existing computational, storage and network infrastructure. This infrastructure is operated by provided projects like Notur (computers) and NorStore (storage) and organizations like UNINETT (network). NorGrid does not operate its own hardware resources.
The aim is to include as many of the national compute and storage facilities as possible. That is, facilities that are financed in part by the Research Council of Norway. Access to these facilities is normally by application, and the coordination of these allocations is done trough the Notur project. Users that have allocations on these facilities and wish to use the grid infrastructure for their applications, will reserve a part of these allocations. The NorGrid project itself may also apply for allocations for general usage within the project. The centers that participate in the project will allocate a significant fraction of their local resources for use within the grid infrastructure.
The NorGrid infrastructure will deploy software that is being developed by the international grid community. Where possible, the project will make use of software that is based on open standards.