CI Center Proposal
NOTE: This is an early draft that does not resemble the final draft!
Greg Monaco 15:03, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
A spotlight has been pointed at national cyberinfrastructure as critical to US success primarily in science and technology and educating the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers, but also to a broader set of issues surrounding health, commerce and even our daily lives.
In recognition that regional issues and problems as well as support for regional expertise in science and technology go beyond research and education networks, a next logical step is to evolve the role of regional R&E network connectivity providers to become the focal points for regional cyberinfrastructure, expertise sharing, education and support.
The mission of a regional center would include:
- providing high value, low cost inter-institutional and national network connectivity;
- collaborative development of shared CI capacity as an extension of individual efforts at member institutions;
- development of a "service commons" based on shared CI for implementing new services to support joint research and education objectives of member institutions;
We propose to extend the role of GPN, a regional network provider, to include the following components. By doing so we will be building on an existing network of institutional and human relationships while contributing to a value proposition for increasing access to existing cyberinfrastructure; we will building new alliances in areas such as high performance computing and stimulating both economic and scientific competitiveness. The components are to
- enhance high-end research and network access for the region through greater capacity and lower cost network services;
- expand support for cyberinfrastructure beyond R&E networks to include shared computing, storage, identity management, shared middleware standards as "glue", education, training and expertise;
- provide training and outreach to member institutions to help build local CI and bridge the gap between local and national CI resources for faculty, students and support staff;
- create a clearing house and development commons for regional training and education programs in computational science, advanced computing and networking;
- (create a knowledge base of?) collective expertise, shared processes and core infrastructure to support the agile assembly of CI to respond to specific, ongoing inter-institutional projects;
- engage in technical capacity and organization-building to support the long-term horizontal and vertical integration of regional areas of expertise such as biomedical research, animal health, transportation, alternative energy, nanotechnology, biodiversity and human impacts, agricultural futures and sustainability;
- develop a shared platform and program for inter-institutional disaster recovery and backup, and research and education program continuity in the face of disaster. (in coordination with Educause?)
The challenge in achieving this expanded vision of GPN’s mission is to gracefully build on the notion of more for less, to move from the idea of economies of scale toward one of increased efficiency and more capability over a broader range of needs through aggregation of resources for shared purposes. This is in contrast to the idea of setting up a shared data center that is physically separate from all of the member institutions. Such an effort would be capital intensive? and would not? create the kind of ongoing inter-institutional collaboration that would characterize a sustainable effort.
This does not need to be a cash-intensive proposition. More likely it would be a sharing of expertise and allocation of people and existing resources to a common set of goals. A useful model here might be Sakai or the Kuali Foundation, but instead of producing open source software, GPN would produce "open services" available to all members. The services would come with jointly developed SLAs based on shared infrastructure and expertise provided by the member institutions under appropriate agreements.
Kinds of CI services that could be developed and centered on GPN might include:
- Instant-up VOs with identity management and common collaboration resources to get projects started quickly;
- Regional CI Operations Center, providing central monitoring and problem resolution for shared cyberinfrastructure;
- multi-site grid of grids or flock of Condor flocks;
- multi-site data grid or storage cloud;
- Facilities and procedures for rapidly assembling project- or application-specific CI by combining a VO with specific services and resources provided by member institutions;
- CI building teams similar to the "CI Days" project, to work with member institutions to develop CI on their campuses and build awareness of regional and national CI programs;
- scientific computing and advanced computing education programs;
- cluster and HPC/HTC administration training programs;
- off-site backup of research data;
- research continuity services (provisioning of backups and failover for critical research services);
- metadata and replica services;
- archival mass storage;
- inter-institutional VPNs.
Thanks to Rick McMullen for the initial draft of the proposal.