The European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) is a federation of resource providers set up to deliver sustainable, integrated and secure computing services to European researchers and their international partners.
EGI does not develop the software deployed in the grid infrastructure – all upgrades and new programmes are produced elsewhere, by independent technology providers. The outsourcing of technology developments is managed by EGI.eu, the organisation established to coordinate the infrastructure on behalf of its participants.
The Technical Collaboration Board (TCB), a group within EGI.eu, manages this process.
The main goal of the TCB is to take the requirements gathered by the User Community Board (UCB) and the Operations Management Board (OMB), negotiate with potential technology providers and assess the new software’s quality. The TCB also makes sure that all new software deployed in the infrastructure conforms to the community’s standards to ensure interoperability.
Here is how out it works in more detail:
The user community points out a list of desired grid features, for example a new user interface or an easier way to submit computing jobs. The UCB makes a note of this requirement and passes it to the TCB.
Likewise, the requirements of the operations community are collected by the OMB and forwarded to the TCB.
The TCB prioritises the requirements from the UCB and OMB and adds them to the EGI technical roadmap, a guide to the capabilities and features essential to make the grid infrastructure work seamlessly for the benefit of researchers.
The TCB identifies appropriate technology provider(s) to develop the required piece of software and establishes a business relationship with the provider through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Following delivery, the EGI.eu’s technical teams distributed across Europe assess the new piece of software against a specific set of criteria derived from the original requirement. The assessment criteria are public domain and are made available to the technical provider before the software’s development.
If the new software is approved by the functional tests, then it is passed along to operations teams who perform a staged rollout to see how the software behaves in a production environment.
The software is then added to the list of options available to users.