Germany is a leading member of the European distributed computing community since the integration of the country’s high performance computing centres through a UNICORE infrastructure, more than ten years ago. Since then, Germany has participated and continues to contribute to DEISA, PRACE, the Open Grid Forum, the European DataGrid, the series of EGEE projects and EMI.
Germany is also a key member of the European Grid Infrastructure and the host of the first EGI Community Forum, which will take place in Munich (26-30 March 2012).
The German National Grid Initiative (NGI-DE) was established in 2010, following the break-up of the EGEE Regional Operations Centres, as a partnership of universities and research centres led by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The strategic direction of NGI-DE is defined by the Gauß-Alliance, an association of academic computing centres involved in high performance and grid computing at a national level.
NGI-DE operates 22 resource centres across the country integrating a large variety of resources accessible via several middleware technologies (in particular gLite, Globus, UNICORE and dCache), catering for the different use cases by the German grid user communities.
As of August 2011, NGI-DE provides services to about 1,400 users. Particle physics plays a large role, but it’s not the only discipline represented: users from astronomy, life sciences, climate and earth sciences and other scientific domains account for a good proportion of the resource usage. Further collaborations exist in the areas of computational science, engineering, medicine and bioinformatics.
NGI-DE hosts the GridKa School, a yearly international summer school on grid and cloud computing, which has been running in Karlsruhe since 2003. It’s now one of the largest and the longest running grid summer schools in Europe. The 2011 edition brought together around 100 students from eleven countries.
NGI-DE supports grid users from Germany and their VOs through a common helpdesk. In addition, the NGI supports resource providers to enable them to operate more efficiently and integrate their grid resources in the infrastructure.
Germany has also contributed many solutions in use by the international community. An example is the Global Grid User Support (GGUS), a tool developed by KIT which is now the basis of the EGI Helpdesk. The development of GGUS has recently spawned an offshoot called xGUS, a helpdesk template that can be customised and used by NGIs and user communities as their helpdesk.
There are more technologies in the international community with their roots in Germany. UNICORE was originally developed at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and dCache at DESY. The European support for the Globus Toolkit is coordinated at the Leibniz-Rechenzentrum der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (LRZ).
Looking towards the future, NGI-DE is focusing on the sustainability plans of the German grid infrastructure. To do this, NGI-DE is looking carefully at all available services, to identify products and services that can help to fund further activities.
NGI-DE also wants to grow further and expand the techniques and services established over the course of the past decade that have been providing an invaluable contribution to science.
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Leibniz-Rechenzentrum der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Leibniz Universität Hannover
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology