High Throughput Compute
What is it?
High Throughput Compute (HTC) is a computing paradigm that focuses on the efficient execution of a large number of loosely-coupled tasks (e.g. data analysis jobs). HTC systems execute independent tasks that can be individually scheduled on many different computing resources, across multiple administrative boundaries. Users submit these tasks to the infrastructure as jobs. After a job have been scheduled and executed, the output can be collected from the service(s) that executed the job.
The target customers for EGI High Throughput Compute are research communities that need to share, store, process, and produce large sets of data. Typically, their research collaborations involve organizations across Europe and the World.Some may already have local resources (e.g. universities, research institutions) that can only be accessed by local users in accordance to the respective organisation’s access policies.
In case of local compute resources researchers can request access to the local compute cluster from their IT department. However, when researchers join collaborations that need to share their research activities, data collections, and repositories, they need a homogenous and coordinated operation of the compute resources, which are not uniformly accessible. In addition, nowadays many research collaborations generate large amounts of data, and managing such data volumes is time consuming and error-prone.
The EGI High Throughput Compute service provides access to compute resources, and offers a set of high-level tools that allow managing large amounts of data in a collaborative way (e.g authorization and access control tools can be regulated by the research collaboration in a central manner, data can be uniformly distributed in the EGI Cloud, etc.).
EGI High Throughput Compute provides easy, uniform access to shared computating and data services of EGI service providers. Most software deployed in the distributed resource centers is based on open standards and open source middleware services.
The main features of the EGI High Throughput Compute are:
- Access to high-quality computing resources
- Integrated monitoring and accounting tools provide information about the availability and resource consumption
- Workload and data management tools to manage all computational tasks
- Large amounts of processing capacity over long periods of time
- Faster results for your research
- Shared resources enable collaborative research
The EGI HTC infrastructure
The EGI High Throughput Compute infrastructure is the federation of GRID resources provided by EGI providers. Its aim is to share in a secure way the distributed IT resources that are part of the EGI Cloud. It comprises of:
- Compute Resources – execution environment for computing tasks, organized into clusters distributed across multiple resource centers in Europe and the World.
- Data Infrastructure – storage servers from different resource centers where users can store their data/files in a distributed manner.
- Federated Operations – global operational tasks (e.g., AAI, accounting, helpdesk) needed to federate the heterogeneous resources of resource centers and their operational activities.
- User Support – EGI provides the central user support and coordinates support activities of EGI providers, who offer user support for the services/resources they contribute to the EGI ecosystem.
Architecture and service components
The key components of the EGI High Throughput Compute architecture are:
- Data Transfer service (FTS)
- Online Storage services
- Computing Elements (CEs) are compute resources made available through GRID interfaces. The most common implementations of CEs in the EGI infrastructure are HTCondor-CE and ARC-CE.
Access to HTC resources in the EGI infrastructure is based on X.509 certificates and Virtual Organisations (VOs).
VOs are fully managed by research communities, allowing communitites to manage their users and grant access to their services and resources. This means communities can either own their resources and use EGI services to share (federate) them, or can use the resources available in the EGI infrastructure for their scientific needs.
Before users can access EGI HTC services, they have to:
- Obtain an X.509 certficate. The certificates are issued by Certification Authorities (CAs) part of the European Policy Management Authority for Grid Authentication (EUGridPMA), which is also part of the International Global Trust Federation (IGTF).
- Enroll into a VO before they can use the services, as users are not individually granted access to resources.
- Add the certificate to their internet browser of choice, or import it into the appropriate certificate store of their local machine (on Windows).
- Proceed to Workload Manager to submit HTC jobs or retrieve job results, login using EGI Check-in when prompted.