Friday, 2 July 2010

Joined up thinking in the NGS

Back in June, in the posting on the pitfalls of licensing on a Grid, I said that we were working on a new way of supporting those users who had licenses for applications such Amber, Castep, DL_POLY, GAMESS (US) and PC-GAMESS/Firefly.

It demonstrates how the various services that the NGS and its partner sites provide can be linked together to make using the Grid that little bit simpler.

Those who really don't have the time or inclination to wade though past postings only need to know:
  • these applications are made available to existing license holders by various NGS partner sites.
  • that the sites all have some kind of access control in place to enforce this.
  • that we use groups within a virtual organisation (VO) called as a way of recording who has signed up for what- so the access control lists can be kept up to date.
If you have a certificate in your browser, you can visit to see what we think you can do.

Membership information within the VO has so far been managed by pointing and clicking and fiddling in the VO web interface. This is slow and error prone - especially for those of us who still prefer to communicate with computers by typing.

Now - thanks to the efforts of the NGS staff at Manchester - we can update the groups automatically from tags associated with entries in our User Account Service. - the definitive database of who is, and was, an NGS account holder.

For example, all NGS users who we know have signed the academic license for Castep will have the tag application-castep assigned to them. When we turn automatic updating on - hopefully on Monday 5 July - any user with this tag will be granted membership of the Castep group.

If you are an NGS user with a license for one of these applications please let the helpdesk know.

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