SG-OSG Transition Document

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For Establishing a SURAgrid Virtual Organization within the Open Science Grid.

This document is based on the text from the File:Sgvo-transition-2011-01-19.pdf circulated to SURAgrid members on January 19, 2011.  Edits in the text below will not be reflected in this source document.  If necessary, please use the page history for clarity on provenence of content.


SG-OSG Transition Document


Improving access to scientific computing resources is a primary goal of the SURAgrid Strategic Plan (2008-2012 SURAgrid members have been collaborating with Open Science Grid (OSG) on ways to engage a larger body of resource contributors and reduce the effort required to use those resources.

OSG provides a widely adopted framework for communities, such as SURAgrid, to establish and grant access to compute resources for their members. The SURAgrid Governance Committee (SGC) recommends that the SURAgrid community adopt the operating practices of OSG and form an OSG virtual organization (VO) to enhance the utility of SURAgrid compute facilities available to our user communities.

This transition document addresses questions about the OSG operating model and the benefits of OSG operations for the SURAgrid community. This document provides information that the SGC believes will help SURAgrid Contributing Members make an informed decision on the vote to establish and operate a SURAgrid Virtual Organization (SGVO) within OSG.

Overview of Benefits

The benefits of establishing an OSG VO extend far beyond simplified management of and access to SURAgrid community resources. Additional benefits include:

  • Improved User Support: By aligning SURAgrid operations with the broader OSG community, SURAgrid users will automatically benefit from existing application documentation of OSG’s widely deployed computational framework. Users may also discover application communities across OSG that match their research interests and offer a larger peer group for supporting this science domain.
  • Easily Extended Resource Sharing: By deploying an OSG compute resource, campus computing centers can offer their resources to OSG science communities of importance to campus researchers, link researchers directly with established OSG science communities, and form new communities around available campus resources. Likewise, SURAgrid members can more easily access compute capacity from a much wider network of OSG resource providers.
  • Influence Strategic Directions and Technical Development: As a member of OSG, SURAgrid can participate in strategic and technical dialogs of the OSG community. This will provide additional avenues for sharing campus-oriented operational requirements identified by SURAgrid community members and will offer more opportunities for collaboration to implement software components that satisfy local requirements.

As an example of the above benefits, consider a SURAgrid member investigator who is exploring structural biology. He can readily construct a research workflow for a SURAgrid cluster by simply using existing OSG workflow development documentation. The investigator may also find an established structural biology community VO, and specifically join in this VO and benefit from it's established support community. Furthermore the investigator can work with his campus resource provider to add compute capacity from the local resources into the computational workflows available to this OSG-based VO. Indeed, where campus clusters already support OSG operations (through participation in SURAgrid), additional VO support can be enabled by straightforward privilege modifications, reducing the burden on resource operators to support a variety of science domains.

Impact for SURAgrid Members and Operations

There are member support and operational impacts for SURAgrid members in establishing the SGVO.

  1. SURAgrid members who contribute compute resources to SURAgrid will operate as an OSG resource provider. This includes
    1. Adopting the OSG software stack. This more comprehensive stack is based on the familiar VDT Toolkit foundation of the current SURAgrid software stack.
    2. Registering the resource with OSG Grid Operations Center (GOC). This publishes the resource to the monitoring and operational infrastructure so it can be discovered by SURAgrid members. (Important note: this implies changes from SURAgrid's existing certificate management practices. Please see the SG-OSG_FAQ for more information.
    3. Granting access to SGVO members (and optionally other OSG VOs). Access can be granted individually or as a group.
  2. The SURAgrid Community will operate and maintain a Support Center to assist SURAgrid members and sites with OSG operations. This includes
    1. Maintaining a SGVO membership database used by sites providing compute resources to SGVO.
    2. Providing assistance in registering as a member of SURAgrid VO, registering SGVO resources, reporting problems and/or obtaining help.
  3. Users accessing SURAgrid resources will register with the SURAgrid membership database and use standards-based certificates.
  4. SURAgrid will form an operational support group. SURAgrid has provided email support since its inception and has established regular office hours where members can receive phone support. The SGVO will build on and expand our SURAgrid operational model.
  5. SURAgrid will operate a ticket tracking system. While SURAgrid members have used various local systems, the SGVO will use a common system to submit, track, monitor, escalate, report and manage support requests as they cross multiple administrative domains.
  6. SURAgrid will expand Documentation. Written instructions for member/resource registration and problem submission, tracking and resolution are required. A SURAgrid member-editable web site will support this community documentation.

The SGC recommends that current technical and operational SURAgrid working group activities engage with the broader OSG community, and so ensure our campus community requirements are well represented in OSG working groups.

The operational support model the SURAgrid community has been using is consistent with an OSG VO since OSG VOs also support their own community members. The SURAgrid VO will maintain operating practices to support users:

The above steps will enable SURAgrid to maintain an operational infrastructure that spans the distributed sites of its members.

Migration Plan

  1. (Done) Final Draft to SGC and recommend this go to SURAgrid for comment/input;
  2. (Done) Await SGC “okay”;
  3. (Done) Issue doc to SURAgrid (complete list);
  4. (Done) Have a Feb. 7, 2011 SURAgrid Monthly Call Topic on this;
  5. (Done) Incorporate input and answer questions;
  6. Call for a Vote Contributing Member
  7. Attend OSG All-Hands as members of SGVO


This document was produced through the efforts of the SG-OSG working group in SURAgrid. Participants of the working group include: Guy Almes (TAMU), Gary Crane (SURA), Steve Johnson (TAMU), John-Paul Robinson (UAB), Alan Sill (TTU), and Eduardo Socolovsky (NSU).

The SG-OSG working group is grateful to OSG members for their assistance, insight and support throughout the evaluation of OSG operations and would especially like to thank Keith Chadwick (FNAL), Dan Fraser (ANL), Sebastien Goasguen (Clemson), and John McGee (RENCI).


The following are frequently asked questions regarding this transition. Please feel free to raise additional questions by sending them to the SURAgrid email list (, by contacting any member of the SURAgrid Governance Committee (, or by directly contributing a question and answer to the SG-OSG Transition FAQ

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