Feedback on the integration of the UNIV-LILLE resources into the EGI Federated Cloud

Cyrille Toulet shares his experiences

The High-Performance Computing Center of the University of Lille, registered in the EGI GOCDB as UNIV-LILLE, provides researchers several services, such as a cloud computing facility based on OpenStack. UNIV-LILLE is a member of the FG-Cloud, the federated cloud operated by France Grilles (French NGI), together with the several other sites such as CC-IN2P3, GRIF or IN2P3-IRES.

We have recently completed the integration of UNIV-LILLE resources into the EGI Federated Cloud, becoming the second French site to join this federation.

From 2010 to 2014, the UNIV-LILLE site was certified as a grid resource provider and member of the EGI High-Throughput Computing service. Those nodes were decommissioned following the departure of the engineer in charge of operations. As a consequence, the UNIV-LILLE site was decommissioned, and we were required to restart the certification process to integrate the EGI cloud federation.

The registration of the resource center was an easy step, but the certification of our EGI-enabled services was a little bit more complicated. The process started in October 2018 and took about 5 months.

The main barriers that we faced during the integration process were:

  • some losses in new documentation (we had to search back into the history of the EGI wiki to find the missing parts)
  • broken synchronization procedures between EGI core services like GOCDB and ARGO-MON
  • prohibited access to the image list service (AppDB)
  • monitoring probes version mismatch between different ARGO-MON instances.

From this experience, we can recommend the following to anyone considering integration:

  • Contact your NGI at the first day to discuss about integration procedure and get help or feedback from other certified resource centers. Even if their integration is a little outdated, their experience can get you out of several blocking situations.
  • Participate in a training on the basics of EGI Operations in order to fully understand all the steps of integration. Having an overview of how the services are linked will allow you to quickly solve any configuration problems.
  • Follow the manual integration procedure at least one time instead of directly use the Federated Cloud Appliance. Installing and configuring each service manually will allow you maintain these services.
  • Don’t wait too long before asking for help by submitting a ticket to GGUS when you encounter an issue. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced system administrator, there may be technical issues unrelated to your actions. So don’t spend too much time to find for a fix on your site, the solution may be elsewhere.

During the certification process, 8 GGUS tickets have been opened, all of them concerning different issues. Thanks to the EGI team, most of them were quickly solved. Our integration helped to highlight some gaps in documentation and improve the overall process.

Despite these difficulties, the integration to the Federated Cloud remains an easy and well thought operation and we hope to see more resource centers joining the federation.

More information:

Cyrille Toulet is the UNIV-LILLE System and Network Administrator.

UNIV-LILLE website

France Grilles website

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