Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has collaborated with five European partners to secure funding from the European Framework Programme 7 to develop a new internet-based software project called StratusLab, which aims to enhance distributed computing infrastructures that allow research and higher-education institutes from around the world to pool computing resources.
The two-year project will see the TCD team, headed up by senior lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Statistics Dr Brian Coghlan, lead the effort to develop a repository of virtual appliances using cloud computing technologies that will be used to simplify the set-up of grid systems, thereby facilitating their growth and availability for researchers. Linking grid and cloud technologies is part of the European Commission strategy to develop European computing infrastructures.
“Computer grids are used by thousands of researchers in many scientific fields. For example, the data from the Large Hadron Collider’s experiments, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator situated at CERN in Switzerland, are distributed via an international grid infrastructure to be processed at institutes around Europe and the world, including at TCD. The StratusLab toolkit will make the grid easier to manage and will allow grids to tap into commercial cloud services to meet peak demands. Later it will allow organisations that already provide a grid service to offer a cloud service to academic users, while retaining the many benefits of the grid approach,” explained Dr David O’Callaghan, research fellow at the School of Computer Science and Statistics.
Benefits of the project
The StratusLab project is expected to bring several benefits to the distributed computing infrastructure ecosystem including simplified management, added flexibility, increased maintainability, quality, energy efficiency and resilience of computing sites. It will benefit a wide variety of users from scientists, who can use the systems to run scientific analyses, to system administrators and hardware technicians, who are responsible for running grid services and maintaining the hardware and infrastructure at various resource centres.