EGI: Services for open science

Tiziana Ferrari writes about current and future EGI service offer

State of the art

One of EGI-Engage’s key achievements so far was the publication of the internal and external EGI Services Catalogue. This was an important milestone to develop a clear value proposition, increase the accessibility of available services, and make the providers from the EGI federation more visible to funders and policy makers.

The external catalogue includes all services available for researchers and is organized across three broad categories: Compute, Storage and Data and Training.

The internal catalogue offers the services necessary to federate local, regional and national infrastructures into the EGI Federation. These services are offered to the EGI Council to provide the  “glue” that holds together a harmonized pan-European system for international research collaborations.

Scientific applications powered by EGI services offer community-specific capabilities such as datasets, search capabilities, data analytics, and scientific software. They are a tremendous research-enabling instrument:  the current set of integrated scientific applications counts thousands of users worldwide and has provided high-impact examples of how individual researchers can benefit from EGI services, for instance:

  • A team from the University of Monash used the HADDOCK portal to model the structure of iron-binding receptors in bacteria. The work was published in Nature Communications.
  • A Swedish scientist used VIP to analyse the results of a long-term study of the effects of multiple sclerosis. The results were published in the Multiple Sclerosis Journal.

We are now expanding the scientific application portfolio with contributions from the NGIs, the EGI-Engage Competence Centres and any other partner who is willing to engage with EGI.
To make present and future services discoverable and accessible online, the project has been successfully prototyping a Marketplace, which we are planning to bring in full production in August. The marketplace will give the possibility to browse services by category, choose configuration options and place service orders.

New Services

DataHub will increase accessibility to third-party research data for downstream analysis via federated authentication and authorization, the bridging of preserved data and computing with the federation of distributed data repositories and the possibility of associating permanent identifiers to the output data that is generated by the processing workflows of EGI.
The DataHub is currently being validated to address two use cases: the cross-domain federation of existing storage infrastructures, and the provisioning of a distributed platform for the management of replicas of publicly data collections.

Applications on Demand (AoD) is a service designed to offer a scalable HTC environment. It delivers a whole cluster complete with job scheduler and a library of scientific applications (e.g. Statistical R, Jupyter Notebook) and generic utilities (e.g. Docker). The AoD also allows researchers to run custom scientific applications. AoD’s compute and storage services are currently provided by CYFRONET, INFN, BELSPO, MTA SZTAKI, CESGA, UPV, and BIFI. All NGIs interested in making the AoD library available to national user communities can simply “plug” their national IaaS resources to the service. The service was opened for beta testing at the EGI Conference 2017.

The EGI Check-in will enable access to EGI services using federated authentication mechanisms. It is a proxy service operated as a central hub, connecting federated Identity Providers (IdPs) residing ‘outside’ of the EGI ecosystem, and Service Providers (SPs) that are part of EGI. Check-in was successfully integrated with the ELIXIR AAI infrastructure, which operates both an IdP and attribute provider service to manage user accounts and personal attributes for every ELIXIR user. Check-in is in now production and services in addition to the current ones (GGUS, GOCDB and AppDB) are being incrementally added.

More information

Tiziana Ferrari is the Technical Director of the the EGI Foundation.

Follow Tiziana on Twitter @tferrariEGI

EGI Services

Applications on Demand (AoD)

EGI Check-in/AAI