Press Archive

SDSC Extends International SRB Collaboration at UK e-Science All Hands Meeting

Published 09/26/2003

San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) researcher Mike Wan, a senior staff scientist on the development team for the SDSC Storage Resource Broker (SRB), gave an invited presentation at a Birds of a Feather session on the SRB at the recent United Kingdom (UK) e-Science All Hands Meeting.

Held September 2-4, 2003 in Nottingham, England as part of the UK Research Councils e-Science program, the meeting featured presentations by groups from throughout the UK that are active in e-Science projects, as well as poster sessions, parallel workshop sessions, and Birds of a Feather sessions. A conference proceedings is being compiled.

"As the SDSC SRB becomes more widely used in the UK data grid, the impact of SDSC's infrastructure contributions is extending beyond the national community to include the international scientific community as well," said Reagan Moore, co-director of the Data and Knowledge Systems (DAKS) program at SDSC.

Scientific data sets are continuing to grow exponentially in size. Data sets created by sensors or computer simulations are registered in digital libraries, moved to storage repositories, and then shared over the Web. The SDSC SRB has been developed to help researchers efficiently cope with this growing information over its life cycle. "The SRB enables researchers to quickly set up, manage, and seamlessly collaborate with 'virtual' data collections that can span numerous heterogenous storage systems," said Arcot Rajasekar, director of the DAKS Data Grids Technologies group at SDSC. Initially developed six years ago, the software has proven popular and valuable for research, with more than 3,000 registered users at some 50 different sites around the world.

In the UK, SDSC researchers are collaborating on SRB development and deployment with the Data Management Group of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) e-Science Centre, Daresbury Laboratory, led by Kerstin Kleese van Dam, and the Atlas DataStore group of the CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, headed by David Corney.

At the birds of a feather session on SRB, Wan presented a talk on the latest SDSC SRB enhancement, the Federated Metadata Catalog (MCAT), which will be released in early October as SRB version 3.0. This version will enable data and metadata sharing between independent collections, a valuable capability for collaboration, especially among remote sites handling massive data collections.

Other presentations on the SDSC SRB included an overview of the CCLRC's experience using the SRB middleware by Mike Doherty of Rutherford Appleton Lab, a live demonstration by Ananta Manandhar of Daresbury Lab of installing the SRB from scratch, including both the MCAT metadata catalog and MCAT server, using the script developed by SDSC's Wayne Schroeder, and a talk by Lisa Blanshard of Daresbury Lab on using the SRB in the UK e-Mineral project. This talk made use of the inQ browser, a Windows graphical interface for SRB data collections developed by Charles Cowart at SDSC.

In addition to the e-Mineral project, applications of the SRB in the UK include its use in data management tests for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) physics project, which will involve storing, replicating, and sharing massive data collections among many separate sites worldwide, including heterogeneous archival storage systems such as those at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Switzerland, the Rutherford Appleton lab in the UK, and FemiLab in the US.

"The meeting was very useful to discuss our ongoing and future UK collaborations," said Wan. "Currently we're planning to extend our collaboration in two principal ways, in joint SRB development projects, and in assisting UK researchers to support SRB use in the UK and Europe."

As part of SRB development, UK researcher Ananta Manandhar of the Daresbury Lab will come to SDSC for three months beginning in October to work with the SDSC SRB team on the use of proxy certificates for cross-MCAT zone authentication, a capability that will enhance the federated MCATs of version 3.0. There are plans for other UK researchers to collaborate with SDSC staff on projects such as Web service development.

SDSC staff will also help UK researchers provide support to academic groups deploying SRB software, including MCAT servers, in the UK and Europe. UK researchers also plan to provide training classes on using the SRB and SRB administration. - Paul Tooby.

Related Links

Data and Knowledge Systems (DAKS) program - http://daks.sdsc.edu/

SDSC SRB - http://www.npaci.edu/DICE/SRB/

CCLRC e-Science Centre - http://www.e-science.clrc.ac.uk/

UK Grid Support Centre - http://www.grid-support.ac.uk/