November 2005
E-Infrastructure: Europe Meets the e-Science Challenge
Fabrizio Gagliardi, EGEE Project Director – CERN
Bob Jones, EGEE Technical Director – CERN
Owen Appleton, EGEE Communications Officer – CERN

Connecting and sharing – growing a global infrastructure

Building a large, secure, stable and scalable infrastructure is perhaps the key feature of EGEE. From the start, the project benefited from the resources of the international High Energy Physics (HEP) community, leveraging these to build a Grid infrastructure for all scientific disciplines. These HEP resources come from the computing systems built to support the forthcoming Large Hadron Collider (LHC) being built at CERN2 in Switzerland. More specifically, EGEE formed a strategic alliance with the LCG3 (LHC Computing Grid) project, which independently was deploying an international distributed computing infrastructure.

With an infrastructure of a considerable size from the HEP community available from day one, EGEE has been able to concentrate on delivering a working infrastructure, with a main production service supported by pre-production, testing and development services, and even specialised infrastructure for dissemination and training.4 This initial pool of resources supplied by the HEP community helped to encourage the other pilot application domains, the Biomedical science community, to contribute their own resources and run their own production challenges, thus encouraging other domains to join the project.

It also became clear during the early part of the project that restricting this effort to Europe made little sense given the distributed nature of many scientific communities and the large number of resources, both in terms of knowledge and hardware, in other parts of the globe. EGEE began to extend its efforts beyond its original partners early on in the project through extension of the infrastructure into South-Eastern Europe through the SEEGRID5 project and into digital library applications through the DILIGENT6 project. This successful policy of collaboration and extension has continued, with EGEE building relationships with major sister projects in areas such as the United States (OSG) and Asia (NAREGI), as well as through support for related projects (such as BalticGrid, EUChinaGrid, EELA and EUMedGrid) that extend the EGEE infrastructure to new geographical areas. Such associations are an important part of EGEE’s role as an incubator, both within Europe and beyond, actively supporting a wide range of Grid efforts, from infrastructure to application projects. Through these projects, EGEE has spread the knowledge it has accumulated in all areas of its work, from making applications Grid compliant to managing infrastructure. This cooperative spirit is also represented in the way that the infrastructure is managed. Initially run from a central centre at CERN to spread both the workload and the knowledge generated by managing large scale infrastructures, responsibility now rotates around centres across Europe (with future plans for centres in the US and Asia) .

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Reference this article
Gagliardi, F., Jones, B., Appleton, O. "How to Build an International Grid: Infrastructure, Applications and Community," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 4, November 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/11/how-to-build-an-international-grid-infrastructure/

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