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TB-SUPPORT  December 2018

TB-SUPPORT December 2018

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Subject:

To Grid or not to Grid?

From:

David Britton <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Testbed Support for GridPP member institutes <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 5 Dec 2018 10:02:51 +0000

Content-Type:

multipart/signed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (95 lines) , signature.asc (95 lines)

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you know, there is an increasing push within STFC, and indeed
UKRI, to join up e-Infrastructure for the common good. Within STFC, many
of us in GridPP are engaged to varying degrees with the IRIS collaboration
and I am very grateful for those of you who are contributing time and effort
and I strongly encourage you to continue. However, I think we need to be
clear about our position, so I thought I should take a moment to write down
a few thoughts:

1) GridPP's primary mission is to support the LHC experiments using Grid
Resources as part of WLCG. We have a secondary mission to support
non-LHC HEP groups use Grid Resources, when appropriate.

2) GridPP does a great job and we should be very proud of what we have
achieved technically (a truly exceptional infrastructure) and as a team
(a trust and rapport that we largely take for granted but is at the
heart of our success).

3) GridPP will gladly help "on-board" people who want to use Grid
resources to the degree that we can. We (well you) have successfully done
this for a number of external groups who knew they could benefit from the
Grid. This has been to our credit and I very much appreciate the effort that
has been invested.

4) However, we should also remember that some groups will never need the
Grid; and some groups who might need a sophisticated e-infrastructure
such as the Grid, have yet to fully understand all the problems they
need to
solve and, therefore, cannot fully appreciate that the complexity they see
in the Grid often hides even greater difficulties. In our discussions with
others, we must be careful not to unintentionally come across in the wrong
way.

5) To avoid acquiring responsibilities that we do not have the manpower to
fulfil and to avoid appearing to be pushing our stuff, we should be
careful about telling groups that Grid is the solution to their problem.
Rather, we should point out the list of things they will need and give
examples, when appropriate, of how we solve those problems in our
particular use case. That is, we should not say "You need X509/DIRAC/
CVMFS/RUCIO....."; instead, we should be saying "You need to think about
how you handle AAI / global scale workloads / software distribution /
data management problems", and see where that discussion
leads.

6) Inevitable, we may believe other groups are on a path towards problems
we faced long ago, but in the end I am afraid we have to let them tread
that
path until the point where they themselves choose "the more complex
solution". Of course, it IS entirely appropriate to describe how we've used
various software and services to solve our problems - but we need to do
this in an informative, but not pushy, way.

So my message is please could we be careful about both how and what we
communicate. We must remember that the Grid is (or seems) overwhelmingly
difficult to people who haven't used it, and is not necessarily the correct
solution to many problems. In particular, it solves a scaling problem
that not
all groups have to solve (or at least not immediately). There is a delicate
situation when talking to groups who do not yet fully understand the scope
of their own problems and we need to be careful not to push Grid as the
answer for all - we often won't know whether it is appropriate
or not either - but just advise, without it appearing that we are telling
them they are wrong. Finally, we should remember that the communication
to people outside of GridPP carries with it the reputation of our
project and
should be done in a manner that is appropriate, and the tone of this may
be different from franker internal GridPP discussions. Internally, we have
developed a rapport over the decades that naturally does not exist with
other groups.

Many thanks to everyone who is so helpfully engaged in working with all
these external groups.

Regards, Dave.

-- 
______________________________________________________________________

Prof. David Britton FInstP                       GridPP Project Leader
Rm 480, Kelvin Building                    Telephone: +44 141 330 5454
School of Physics and Astronomy            Telefax:   +44 141 330 5881
University of Glasgow               EMail: [log in to unmask]
G12 8QQ, UK                                      Web: www.gridpp.ac.uk
______________________________________________________________________




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