Thursday, 26 January 2012

Interested in accessing and managing grid resources?

If so then read on!

The NGS is hosting a short but sweet seminar series starting next Wednesday (1st Feb).  There will be 3 seminars over the 3 weeks each lasting approximately 30 minutes and the best thing about them is that you can join in no matter where you are - all you need is the internet!

We wanted to make the seminars as open to everyone as we possibly could and, after some deliberation, we decided to use the Evo technology.  This is free for everyone to use - all you have to do is to register and I recommend doing this at least the day before.  This isn't anything to do with Evo's registration process more that it took several hours for my university email system to allow my confirmation email through...

So what are the topics that we will be discussing?

1st February - Shibboleth Access to Resources on the NGS – Mike Jones, NGS, University of Manchester
This talk will demonstrate how it is possible to access and use NGS resources using institutional login credentials (via the UK Access Management Federation).  It will describe how the UK's two main e-Science authentication systems are combined to form an easy to use yet robust identity management environment.  It will discuss how this mechanism links together with system, project and Virtual Organisation (VO) registration procedures.

8th February - Certificate Management in the UK - John Kewley, NGS, STFC Daresbury Laboratory
The NGS helpdesk receives many tickets relating to certificates (and certificate renewal in particular): largely due to browser incompatibilities.  In order to tackle this problem, the NGS has devised CertWizard which is a browser-independent certificate tool.  The presentation will give an introduction to the UK e-Science CA, which has issued over 30,000 certificates, and its associated software and interfaces, including CertWizard.
It will show how modernisations are being made at various stages of the certificate lifecycle, making it easier than ever for users to manage their e-Science Certificate.

15th February - Moonshot - next generation federated identity - Josh Howlett, JANET
Federated identity yields significant benefits for users and services by increasing the usability of services, reducing identity management costs and improving regulatory compliance.
A number of different technical strategies for federating identity have emerged during the past decade, with differing levels of success. These technologies address different types of use case, resulting in significant complexity for both users, services and trust infrastructure providers.
This complexity impedes the adoption of services and increasing operational costs. Moreover, there are many use cases where these technologies do not provide a solution.
Project Moonshot is an ambitious Janet-led initiative, building on existing deployed technologies, that aim to develop a single unified and standardised approach that satisfies all of the authentication and authorisation requirements of the education & research community. Much of the technology has now been implemented, and is now being tested within the Janet Moonshot Technology Pilot.
This presentation will provide an overview of some of the motivating use cases for Moonshot and an overview of the technology and the implementation.

Full details of how to join the seminars are available on the NGS website event page but if you have any queries then please contact the helpdesk and we will do our utmost to help you join in.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

It's that time of year again...

My inbox seems to be full of emails regarding conference calls for papers, early bird registrations, conference deadlines etc.  Yes it's conference preparation season and its in full swing!

I received confirmation today that I'll be giving a paper at the forthcoming EGI Community Forum on our champions networks.  I'll be talking about both our Campus and Community champion networks and how we work with each other to promote e-infrastructure in the UK.  Several other NGS staff have also had papers accepted on topics including "Linking Authenticating and Authorising Infrastructures in the UK NGI (SARoNGS)" (Mike Jones) and "Tweaking the Certificate Lifecycle for the UK eScience CA" (John Kewley).

Also in my inbox this week was an announcement from the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) announcing that registration for their Collaboration Workshop 2012 (CW) is now open.  This is on of my favourite events as, unlike most conferences, you don't sit passively listening.  The CW consists of breakout groups where you discuss topics submitted by the attendees and there's always one of interest to me in every session.  After the discussion a member of the break out group volunteers to report back to the CW as a whole.  This means that you get to hear what all the other break out groups were talking about and you can still feedback on their outcomes as well. 

It's a really lively meeting and you leave after 2 days feeling tired but feeling that you've achieved something worthwhile!  It's also a great place for networking with new people as there are researchers from a wide variety of research areas, IT people, community support people and people like myself who represent national initiatives.  To see some of the topics already suggested for discussion visit the event website.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Just incase you missed it....

A new edition of the quarterly NGS newsletter was released in December so if you missed it in the pre-Christmas rush, now is a chance to catch up!

This edition featured articles on -
  • the adoption of Globus Online by the NGS
  • NGS involvement in the EGI Federated Cloud Task Force and the benefits for NGS users
  • NGS user case study - Scalable Road Traffic Monitoring using Grid Computing
  • ...and more!
I am always looking for new articles or suggestions for articles for the newsletter so if you have anything you would like to see in the next edition (March) then please let me know.  The next edition will coincide with conference season so copies of the newsletter will be distributed at the forthcoming SSI Collaboration Workshop and the EGI Community Forum.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Happy new year!

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year break.

It's back to work and planning for the future here at the NGS with several future events on my to do list. 

At the end of last year I finished off the last of our user case studies which highlight how our users have used NGS resources and the advantages it has brought them.  The full set of case studies numbers 29 with the latest arrivals listed below -
The next set of case studies are at the planning stage but these will take a slightly different direction.  The next set of case studies will look at how the NGS is working with large national and international projects to fulfill their objectives. 

Also on the horizon is Easter conference season with several events coming up including the EGI Community Forum which will take place in Munich in March.  Several NGS staff have submitted abstracts to this event highlighting work we have carried out in various areas including champion networks, authorisation and authentication.

The week before Munich is the Software Sustainability Institute Collaboration Workshop which you may remember from previous years.  This year the event will be held in Oxford and the NGS is involved in several ways including holding a session for our SeIUCCR Community Champions.  Watch this space for more information!

Apart from attending other organisation's events I have one of our own to organise.  Following the success of last years SeIUCCR e-infrastructure summer school, we will be holding another summer school this year.  After the deluge of applications we had last year, I am planning to advertise earlier this year to give a little more time to go through all the applications!  Again keep an eye on the NGS website and our mailing list for more information.