Tuesday, 18 August 2009

NGS Central Service Update

Following the recent issues with aircon in the main machine room at RAL, the majority of services have now been returned to full service. Full details of which services are on the main NGS website in the News section. The main services now back on are the NGS database services at RAL, which not only returns to service a number of user hosted databases but also a number of key central services such as user account management. In many ways, the distributed nature of the NGS has shows the benefits of having a distributed e-infrastructure in the UK, as many users have not been affected at all by the recent RAL outtage. However, it does highlight that even with many services distributed and replicated, certain key services remain in one place. NGS Operations is now undertaking a full review of what we class as 'critical' and in what way those services should or can be made more resilient.

To compound the issues, a recent linux security vulnerability is meaning that RAL is choosing to keep current compute services, i.e. services that users can access directly, offline. Tests across a number of systems show a mixed picture between which kernels and which O/S are vulnerable to the current vulnerability. Until patched kernels are available or until a confident work around is available STFC RAL is choosing to stay in downtime, though other sites are making their own local security decisions, based on advise from EGEE, as to what to do.

Friday, 14 August 2009

NGS Central Service Outtage

RAL Status: Site Outtage Update 14/08/09 @ 15:00

The NGS would like to apologise for loss of central NGS services over recent days.

The fault with the Aircon at STFC RAL that caused loss of the entire main machine room at 00:00 on 12/08/09 is now believed to be fixed, though a continued period of testing and confidence building will mean that the machine room remains at risk until early next week. A number of NGS central services have now been resumed by moving key services to a seperate UPS protected machine room.Remaining services that depend on the main machine room will be restarted possibly Monday next week. Further updates will follow.
The current problems at RAL also affect the GridPP Tier-1 service. Further, more detailed, information on the current machine room status can be found at http://www.gridpp.ac.uk or on the GridPP Wiki at http://planet.gridpp.ac.uk.

Services UP:
UK CA - Fully operational, Signing has resumed
NGS Website and Wiki - Fully Operational
Helpdesk - support@grid-support.ac.uk
BDII Services (both ngsinfo and ngi-info)
MyProxy (myproxy.ngs.ac.uk)
UDDI (uddi.ngs.rl.ac.uk)
Ganglia (ganglia.ngs.rl.ac.uk)

All of the following services at STFC RAL remain DOWN:
RAL Compute and database services (All Oracle hosted services) - estimated for Monday 17/08/09 onwards
NGS Portal (portal.ngs.ac.uk)
INCA Monitoring
SRB (MCat and RAL Vault) - n.b. this affects access to SRB vaults at all NGS sites
UAS - User accounting portal and new account registration. Note: Existing accounts will remain active and usage records updated once the UAS is re-instated. Users without current access to a particular NGS site should contact the NGS helpdesk.

*** Users who have submitted new applications in the last 3 days and who need urgent access to NGS resources should contact the helpdesk. We can manually create accounts in the NGS VO server. NGS VOMS services at Manchester are not affected by the RAL outtage.***

*** Please note: Any services not mentioned in the above list, those operated by Partner and Affiliate sites are NOT affected by the STFC RAL outtages. ***

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Condor workshop open for registration

Our colleagues at the Advanced Research Computing Division (ARCCA - no I 'm not sure how they got that acronym either...) have announced a Condor Workshop at Cardiff University on the 16th September 2009.

The target audience for this event is both administrators (and potential administrators) and end users of Condor with the event split into two parts. The morning session will explore best practices of service provision and future developments. The afternoon session will showcase the research that Condor is enabling.

Registration for the workshop is now open with registration available from the event website.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

NGS Innovation Forum '09 - registration open!

The registration for the second annual NGS Innovation Forum is now open! It will be held on the 21st - 22nd of October at The Magic Circle Headquarters in London - a stones throw away from Euston train station.

The event is held over 2 days with the first day primarily aimed at NGS users or potential users. There will be presentations on what the NGS is, how to run a job on the NGS and user success stories as well as break out groups on a variety of topics and research areas in order to gather feedback and input from the community.

The second day is aimed more at IT service providers and will feature presentations on what it means for an institution to join the NGS, what the NGS offers, how the NGS can help with outreach and dissemination and cloud technology amongst others.

The event is free to attend and delegates are welcome to register for one or both days. Further information and a link to the registration site can be found on the event page on the NGS website.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

A heads up for our Humanities and Arts users!

The Digital Resources in the Humanities and Arts 2009 (DRHA) will take place at Queens University Belfast on the 7th – 9th September and registration is now open.

As well as the conference there are several pre-conference workshops on topics such as GIS applications for Arts and Humanities and visualisation. More information on the workshops is available on the website where you can also find the link for registration.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Summer = summer school time

There have been a couple of announcements of upcoming summer schools recently. It might be cold and rainy (well it is here!) but apparently it's summer so it's time to hone up on your grid computing skills.

A reminder that the ADSSS organised by the NGS and NeSC is taking place on the 7th - 11th of September at Coseners House at Abingdon. The school is aimed at people who are involved in supporting researchers who wish to use NGS resources etc. Full details of the school can be found on its website.

The second school announcement is for the GridKa School 2009 which takes place on the 31st Aug - 4th Sept near Karlsruhe, Germany. The GridKa School offers a broad range of topics, which are chosen from the realm of these projects and beyond, aimed at beginners, experienced users and grid administrators from science and industry. Again full details of the school can be found on their website.