About the gUSE/WS-PGRADE technology

What is gUSE?

gUSE (grid and cloud user support environment) is a well-known and permanently improving open source science gateway (SG) framework developed by Laboratory of Parallel and Distributed Systems (LPDS)that enables users the convenient and easy access to grid and cloud infrastructures. It has been developed to support a large variety of user communities. It provides a generic purpose, workflow-oriented graphical user interface to create and run workflows on various Distributed Computing Infrastructures (DCIs) including clusters, grids, desktop grids and clouds. The framework can be used by National Grid Initiatives (NGIs) to support small user communities who cannot afford to develop their own customized science gateway.

What is a science gateway?

There are many user communities who would like to access several DCIs (grids, clouds, clusters) in a transparent way but they don’t want to learn the peculiar features of the used DCIs. They want to concentrate their scientific application - for them using an SG is the solution. An SG provides an interface between a scientist (or community) and the distributed computing infrastructures (DCIs). An SG framework provides a specific set of enabling technologies as well as frontend and backend services that together build a generic gateway. SG frameworks are not specialized for a certain scientific area and hence scientists from many different areas can use them. An enabling technology such as gUSE provides the required software stack to develop SG frameworks and SG instances (provide a simplified user interface that is highly tailored to the needs of the given scientific community). Typical examples of such enabling technologies are: web application containers (Tomcat, Glassfish, etc.), portal or web application frameworks (Liferay, Spring, etc.), database management systems (MySQL, etc.), workflow management systems (gUSE/WS-PGRADE, MOTEUR, etc.)

SGs can have varying goals. In general, researchers who use gateways can focus on their scientific goals and less on assembling the e-Infrastructure that is required. An important goal is to make it easier for scientists to use (national) computing and storage resources, while creating and using collaborative tools for sharing data.

What else?

gUSE not only a science gateway - it is also a workflow system that enables scientific communities to compose and execute a series of computational or data manipulation steps, or a workflow, in a scientific application on DCIs. Supported types of DCIs are clusters (PBS, LSF), cluster grids (ARC, gLite, GT2, GT4, GT5, UNICORE), supercomputers (e.g. via UNICORE), desktop grids (BOINC) and clouds (via CloudBroker Platform and GAE).

What does gUSE offer after all?

gUSE system offers a transparent and web-based interface to access distributed resources (grids, clusters and clouds), extended by a powerful generic purpose workflow editor and enactment system, which can be used to compose scientific applications into data-flow based workflow structures. It is the only SG framework that provides a comprehensive workflow-oriented framework that enables so the development than the execution and even the monitoring of scientific workflows and also - the nodes of these workflows can have access to a large variety of different DCIs including clusters, grids, desktop grids and clouds. This gateway framework, as told before, can be used by NGIs to support small user communities who cannot afford to develop their own customized science gateway. The gUSE framework also provides two API interfaces (Application Specific Module API and Remote API) to create application-specific science gateways according to the needs of different user communities.

What is the gUSE/WS-PGRADE Portal?

As a second generation P-GRADE portal the gUSE/WS-PGRADE Portal provides high-level representation of the gUSE system, introducing many advanced features both at the workflow and architecture level. It supports simple development and fast submission of distributed applications executed on the computational resources of the wide range of DCIs stated above. It explicitly distinguishes between two different types of user communities: application developers and end-users. Through a dedicated view, the application developers have access to all the advanced workflow features (graph, abstract workflow, template, application and project) to develop new workflow applications. The built-in gUSE repository stores the workflow objects published by the application developers, which can be downloaded and further developed by the community. The gUSE repository provides a forum for collaboration and enables workflow sharing between application developers.

What are the main features of gUSE/WS-PGRADE Portal?

  1. general purpose
  2. workflow-oriented
  3. supports the development and execution of workflow-based applications
  4. enables the multi-cloud and multi-DCI execution of any WF
  5. supports the fast development of SG instances by a customization technology
  6. provides access to internal and external repositories

Then again - what does gUSE/WS-PGRADE Portal offer?

The gUSE/WS-PGRADE framework can be easily adapted and customized according to the special needs of various user communities in order to develop their application-specific science gateways. The reason why scientific user communities likely select this portal is its very flexible workflow system, easy-to-use user interface and its capability of submitting and managing these workflows on a large variety of different DCIs. Through gUSE/WS-PGRADE, LPDS provides a dominant gateway technology to scientific research communities in the field of DCI-based workflow visualization, configuration, and submission. Additionally, gUSE/WS-PGRADE is permanently improving – together with user communities - for the more convenient usage. It gives one of the underlying workflow development infrastructures to a great number of research activities in numerous EU FP7 projects (e.g. EDGI, SHIWA, ER-flow, SCI-BUS, agINFRA, and IDGF-SP).