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European Grid Infrastructure project condenses shared cloud

Academic iron across 19 nations now more accessible

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

After a three-year project, the European Grid Infrastructure project has pulled the big red switch on its federated cloud, which it says pools the resources of academic iron in 19 EU countries.

Drawing on the “academic private clouds and virtualised resources” of its members, the EGI Federated Cloud hosts a variety of OS images for members that don't want to create their own virtual appliances– Ubuntu, FreeBSD, Scientific Linux, and various application-specific VMs.

Cloud stacks supported for access include OpenStack, OpenNebula, Synnefo* (through the Catania Science Gateway Framework); StratusLab, OpenStack, Abiquo, CloudSigma and Amazon EC2 via SlipStream; or, under VMDIRAC, OpenNebula, OpenStack, CloudStack and Amazon EC2.

Other supported standards include the OCCI (Open Cloud Computing Interface) and the CDMI (Cloud Data Management Interface).

Communities the group says helped create the EGI Federated Cloud include the WeNMR structural biology project, the European Space Agency, the Peachnote musicology project, as well as BioVeL (biodiversity), CHAIN-REDS (promoting international collaborations) and EISCAT-3D (geospace).

What's resulted is a single point of contact for researchers which the EGI says gives them “access to advanced compute capabilities for their research, virtualised resources to run any environment they choose, and support services to ensure applications run as efficiently as possible”.

As well as authentication and authorisation, the EGI's cloud management stack includes monitoring and, naturally enough, accounting.

The infrastructure also provides single sign-on to the cloud resources, elastic resources, and the ability to have workloads processed immediately.

Countries with facilities involved in the EGI Federated Cloud are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

A detailed architectural description is here. ®

*Bootnote: A reader has contacted El Reg to note: "you mention that Synnefo / Okeanos is accessed only through the Catania Science gateway, while in reality Okeanos (GRNET's cloud infrastructure) is a full member of the Federation offering all the required services/interfaces (OCCI, CDMI etc). The Catania Science Gateway uses the standard interfaces to access all Cloud Providers connected to the federation." ®

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