Engagement & NIL meeting

Gergely Sipos (EGI.eu)

This is a regular teleconference for the NGI International Liaisons (NIL), national/regional user community support teams and other stakeholders who are involved in EGI's 'Engagement activity'. The meeting is an important forum to update each other about progress and plans in EGI engagement, and to strenghten the NIL community. 

The EGI Engagement activity reaches out to scientific communities, researchers, educators and innovators in academia and industry and supports them in tackling scientific challenges with the use of ICT services, solutions and consultancy from the EGI community. This complex task requires coordinated outreach, technical support, training, testing activities - by the distributed teams and skills that are available in EGI. The NGI International Liaisons are key enablers and contributors to this, by linking national initiatives and teams into the European EGI Engagement landscape. The NGI International Liaison role is described at https://wiki.egi.eu/wiki/NGI_International_Liaison, alongside with resources and materials that can help the NILs be successful in community outreach, engagement, support. 

The EGI Engagement activity is defined and driven by the Engagement Plan, which is described at http://go.egi.eu/engagementplan.

How to connect

Teleconference room: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/676819205


Notes of EGI Engagement teleconference

December 12, 2018.

Event homepage: https://indico.egi.eu/indico/event/4371/

Attendance: Gergely Sipos (EGI, chair), Alex Upton (CH), Enol Fernandez (EGI), Genevieve (FR), Ivana Krenkova  (CZ), Joao Pina (PT), Luciano Gaido (IT), Stephane Gerard (BEgrid)


Agenda point - Updates from EGI:

1.  EGI Engagement plan ( Oct 2018 issue)http://go.egi.eu/engagementplan

Gergely provided an overview of the latest issue of the Engagement plan that was updated between Setp-Oct. The plan describes the communities that are in the engagement pipeline, the services they need from EGI, the NGIs involved in their support, and the next steps with each community.


[Luciano] There is a need to understand the EGI in the context of EOSC and the boundary between them. There are several levels of engagement where EGI has a role with communities as part of the project (EGI level and EOSC-hub coordinator level). We should better understand the value of EGI in EOSC.

[Gergely] The Engagement plan brings input from EOSC-hub too in a form of communities that the project engaged with, but did so because the communities need/use services from EGI. The tables in the plan clarifies which NGI, with what service(s) are involved in the support of these communities. (See tables with ‘Relevant services’ and ‘EGI members involved’ columns in the Engagement plan.)

Fully understanding the value of EGI in the ‘EOSC era’ is indeed a key question for 2019, and for/during the EGI Conference we will have in May. The value of the technical federation for mature, multi-national communities is clear (such as for WeNMR). For other types of communities it’s not so evident. Besides understanding the value for communities we should also understand the NGIs’ viewpoint: What value does EGI deliver for your NGI in the EOSC era? We need to bring these inputs together to be able to answer the question for communities.

[Luciano] for RIs, the relationship between e-Infra and RIs are always difficult, we should see in the future proposals how to involve EGI. Are there are any information about the results of the ESFRI cluster call (INFRAEOSC-04)?

[Gergely] 5 proposals got accepted, EOSC-Life (life sciences), ENVRI-FAIR (environmental sciences), PaNOSC (photon and neutron science), ESCAPE (astrophysics) one for Social Sciences. EGI is in contact with all of them as part of our role in EOSC-hub, furthermore EGI.eu is member of the PaNOSC consortium. Through the EOSC-hub activity we recently organised joint workshops/sessions at 3 cluster events. We are processing the outcomes of these meetings and will inform you about the EGI-aspects of these. With all the projects the work will really start in 2019 after the launch of the new clusters.

[Luciano] they are mainly connect with EOSC (not for EGI). Suggest a dual approach to identify the mutual benefits, and anything EGI can facilitate.

[Gergely] Good point, we are working on exactly this, separating the outcomes/opportunities from these workshops for EOSC-hub and for EGI. We will bring the latter to the NILs in early 2019.

2. EOSC launch Vienna, Nov 23

  • New EOSC-portal (https://eosc-portal.eu) was opened in a formal event. It provides information about the EOSC ‘doers’ (projects, institutes), as well as about the EOSC services themselves, by linking to:
    • EOSC-hub marketplace (users can search for services from EGI, EUDAT, INDIGO and others reaching TLR78-9. The Marketplace offers a service ‘order handling’ functionality, i.e. a system to submit and track service access requests from users),
    • eInfraCentral Catalogue(lower TRL level, the entries are redirections to the service home pages, where the user may or may not be able to access the service – Given that many are only at demonstration or even lower level.)
  • The Portal also provides Engagement channels for new providers (via a dedicated form Join as provider, and for other enquiries (via a Contact us form).

3. EGI conference, May 2019, Amsterdam

  • Event will be between 6-8 May in Amsterdam Science Park
  • PC was recently established with several NGI representatives involved (incl. NILs).
  • Call for participation/contributions will be issued in Jan, based on the topics and priorities that are currently under definition by the PC.
  • Overall we plan a technical event with EGI focus to complement the EOSC-hub week and DI4R. Focus on elements in the EGI Service catalogue; Success stories and plans of the NGIs; Engagement with existing and prospective new communities (e.g. with Design Your E-infrastructure workshop, Trainings)

4. EGI Data Transfer service update

  • A new service recently added to the EGI service catalogue. (See description: https://www.egi.eu/services/data-transfer/)
  • FTS-based, provided by CERN and STFC under two separate OLAs
  • Designed for third-party data transfer: Transfer happens directly between two data hosts. FTS manages the transfer but data does not flow through the FTS site. 
  • Documentation and user support are provided online – Check the slide for details.

5. EGI Cloud status update

  • 20 sites in production
  • OpenStack dominance increased
    • Synnefo one moved to OpenStack
    • Most OpenNebula are also moving to OpenStack
    • Documentation is provided for sites to ease transition to OpenStack
  • As response: No longer a single API for every provider (OCCI), rather allowing native API or higher level tools. But in practice this means that OpenStack API at nearly all providers
  • AppDB VMOps provides orchestration capability over multiple clouds, with GUI
  • Additional Ocrhestrators are also available and are integrated with the clouds at API (IM, Terraform, Occopus …)
  • Authentication:
    • Federated username-password based access is available now both at site level, and VO level.
    • Access depends on the site (X509 vs federated login). Please ask for federated login support at the sites if you need them
    • New VOs can be instantiated directly with federated login for the users. (e.g. VESPA project VO was recently setup like that)  
  • In the context of the EOSC-hub Digital Innovation Hub activity we recently setup a voucher schema to give access to cloud service for industry partners who are interested in testing EGI cloud services. One voucher is 250 euro and is valid up to 3 months (a bit more than commercial offers). Clouds involved in the campaign so far: RECAS and CESGA.
  • Check the website to get access and to propote access to SMEs in your country: https://eosc-hub.eu/eosc-dih-free-trial
    • After the 3 months is over, the SME needs to fill out a survey to give feedback.


[Iuciano] Who to pay for the vouchers?

[Enol] EOSC-hub WP9 supports the cloud providers, so no payment between the credit users and the clouds.

[Alex] in Switzerland we recently setup an SaaS service. How we can offer the service via EOSC? We’d like to get more involved in EOSC and this seems like a reasonable step.

 [Gergely] We can work with different options, depending how you prefer to participate: You would offer the whole stack to EOSC access (i.e. IaaS, PaaS, SaaS). Alternatively you integrate your SaaS layer with IaaS/PaaS that’s already in EOSC or even at commercial entities and register only the SaaS in EOSC. The business model and access cost depends on the choice. We are happy to support you in finding the most suitable arrangement and completing the integration/registration in EOSC.


6. Udates from and about the HelixNebula –ScienceCoud project.

The HXSci-Cloud H2020 project will come ot an end in December. It performed pre- commercial procurement for cloud services, facilitating the integration of things like federated AAI, federated data access into commercially available IaaS clouds. The procured clouds were tested by the ‘buyers’ in the project, and one of the clouds (from Telekom) is open for EGI access. Scientific applications from EGI have been ported to this cloud with the use of the UPM’s IM tool, and the EGI Applications On Demand framework. The system will be exposed through the EGI Marketplace very soon, offering scale-out to commercial cloud for the scientific applications. The cost of running is covered by the project (so no fee applies on the end user.)

Another EGI related outcome was the inclusion of OneData, and its successful scalability test in the PanCancer use case by EMBL-EBI.

EOSC-hub also has procurement activities, but no implementation. Implementation will be in the OCRE project which will start in January 2019, and will bring Commercial services into EOSC.

[Iuciano] question for cloud, what is the trend of grow of resources for the cloud -- users are interested but not enough resources for them

[Enol]: not much growing.

[Gergely] more and more countries have national clouds but not federated into EGI. The question is how EGI can engage with these clouds. Maybe we cannot and should not push the technical federation, but more the ‘information federation’, and human connection. Something like a ‘cloud yellowpages’.

[Iuciano] But in such strategy something is danger to undermine the EGI federated cloud value. In particular, EOSC is so much on Cloud.

[Gergely] For certain use cases we still need the technical federation that the EGI Cloud service offers. But there are many other types of use cases where this is not needed and is considered a barrier (by the cloud providers) to join EGI activities. We should do ‘brokering’ of clouds in a more clever way, offering multiple choices. We started a discussion document in early 2018 about this, the feedback from cloud providers should be analysed. (https://docs.google.com/document/d/18spjoA1_Pe6NOVbCxPUc9Dng1OjY8sk0sxhADGMA-0M/edit#

[Iuciano] Should pay attention, not to conflict

[Enol] Agree, and we are working on lowering the barrier to resource providers to join in.


Agenda point - Updates from NGIs

  1. Alex (CH): a recent workshop (Tn-seq https://www.enhancer.ch/tnseq-workshop with new research community using transponse sequencing) was successfully engage users and researchers.
  2. Genevieve (FR): Recently organised our annual HPC/HTC/cloud conference and had Yannick and Baptiste who gave talks on EGI and EOSC.
  3. Ivana (CZ): 3 news: (1) last month ELIXIR-CZ conference, (2) this week to finish a programme for a CESNET annual conference that will be in January (and in Czech language); (3) Prepare the migration of local cloud sites from OpenNebula to OpenStack.
  4. Joao (PT): was busy in organising DI4R 2018, where we had an Ibergrid conference that was not organised for several years. Integration with the cloud federation is in progress. Upgrading the machinery with internal funding.
  5. Luciano (IT): no updates from Italy, next week the meeting ICDI, to define common activities, which is very hard given the various interests of Italian e-infrastructure partners.
  6. Stephane (BE): organised hand-on session how to handle data and tools via EGI. Feedback: certificate access is too difficult. Need simple solution for authentication for the next similar event. Discussion between local resource providers, show interests to use EGI services such as AppDB, but not ready to join the federation.


There are minutes attached to this event. Show them.
    • 14:00 14:30
      Updates from EGI 30m
      * Progress report from community engagement (based on Oct issue of Engagement Plan: http://go.egi.eu/engagementplan) * Updates from EOSC (launch event; rules of participation; etc.) * Upcoming events (incl. EGI Conference 2019) * Updates from technology and operations
    • 14:30 15:00
      Updates from the NGIs - Short round table update meeting attendees 30m
    • 15:00 15:25
      Discussion 25m
    • 15:25 15:30
      AOB 5m