Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Greetings from the new guy!

Greetings everyone, I am the new developer to the project, Peter M White.

I have been around for about a week and a half now and have spent my time familiarizing myself with all the different facets of

  • The GlobUS grid toolkit (which contains all the bits and peices to communicate between grid nodes)
  • The MonALISA distributed monitoring toolkit, which basically gives you many interfaces and ways to monitor the health/capabilities of various nodes on a grid.
  • The Java GlobUS CoG toolkit (which is a series of Java GUI front ends and tools for the GlobUS library of commands... there is also a CoG for python.)
  • The OGSA-DAI toolkit... which is described on the website as "[a] project [...] to develop middleware to assist with access and integration of data from separate sources via the grid." I will now characterize it as "distributed database processing using webservices" and proceed to make many, many apologies for the oversimplification.

When I first came to the this project I threw myself into building an environment and reading all the documentation of the above projects. Quickly finding that they were all open source and had carefully constructed areas for plugging in modules to extend functionality. They also sprouted off millions of ideas in my head for things to try, so I was at a complete loss as to where to start for a little bit.

Luckily, after some conversations with Ken and Dan, I have a few goals. The main goal right now is to get OGSA-DAI up and running to a point where I can pull up a jsp-page (or some other gui) with a google-esque text box and a run-button. When one enters a query and hits "run" it should run the query and report back the results. More specifically, OGSA-DAI should query its test database and go out to other OGSA-DAI services which will query their respective test databases and then all the results will get compiled into one big set and then that set should be displayed.

Here is a list of steps towards our main goal.

  • Finish setting up the OGSA-DAI code on the node I am working on (which includes finishing a test database and running some test and monitoring commands)
  • Install OGSA-DAI on other nodes in the grid, and set up similar test databases there.
  • Run some distributed query commands, and debug them.
  • Evaluate the currently coded JSP pages that come with OGSA-DAI for expandability and make a JSP front end for running a distributed query.

The other, more minor goal, is to see if it is possible to set up a GlobUS node (and eventually the CoG tools and the OGSA-DAI services) on an Ubuntu box. Right now, all this code has been set up on SuSE boxes. While SuSE is powerful and wonderful and Yast is really cool, it is my experience that Ubuntu is still more user-friendly. Thus, going "you can run [grid] on Ubuntu too" (or even "we tried to set [grid] up on Ubuntu and it spit fire and tacks before shutting down the system, so you should stick with SuSE") would be beneficial.

Right now I am waiting on an Ubuntu install from our hosts and when that is set up I shall start trying to set up a node and asking Dan (who has already set up so much and I am grateful for it) for help when I get stuck.

Otherwise, I am incredibly excited to be working on this project. I think there is a lot of cool stuff that can be done with grid technology, and we are also in a position to make a lot of contributions to the technologies involved.



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