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					                     SUPPORT                         PORTAL                   LIVE            AND
                                              OPERATIONAL
                                    B   A L T I C   G   R I D   U   S E R S   ' F   O R U M




         Document Filename:                    BG-DSA3.4-v1.3-EENet-
                                               Support_portal_live_and_operational.odt

         Activity:                             SA3

         Partner(s):                           All partners

         Lead Partner:                         EENET

         Document classification:              PUBLIC



         Abstract: This document presents the BalticGrid Users' Forum – a simple and easy to
         use users’ documentation portal (http://support.balticgrid.org) for Baltic Grid users.




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                                       Document review and moderation
                       Name                          Partner         Date                 Signature
Released for
moderation to
Approved for
delivery by

                                                    Document Log
Version         Date                Summary of changes                      Author
0.1             02/10/2009          Draft version                           Hardi Teder, Kalle Keskrand

0.2             12/10/2009          Description of the portal sections      Kalle Keskrand
                                    added
0.3             20/10/2009          Missing parts added                     Hardi Teder, Kalle Keskrand

1.0             22/10/2009          Final draft                             Hardi Teder, Kalle Keskrand

1.1             26/10/2009          Editorial changes                       Giedrius Paulikas, Andrius
                                                                            Juodagalvis
1.2             27/10/2009          Final draft for BG-II PMB review        Hardi Teder

1.3             02/11/2009          Final version                           Hardi Teder




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Contents
1. LIST OF ACRONYMS.......................................................................................................................................4

2. INTRODUCTION...............................................................................................................................................5
   2.1. PURPOSE...........................................................................................................................................................5
3. THE BALTIC GRID USERS' FORUM PORTAL...........................................................................................6
   3.1. PORTAL'S STRUCTURE ...................................................................................................................................6
   3.2. SECTIONS..........................................................................................................................................................9
      3.2.1. Top navigation........................................................................................................................................9
      3.2.2. Left navigation.......................................................................................................................................9
      3.2.3. Internal sections...................................................................................................................................12
      3.2.4. Page Edit Buttons.................................................................................................................................12
      3.2.5. Additional portletsThere are additional active controls and information sources for the user. These
      portlets are described below...........................................................................................................................12
4. TECHNICAL ASPECTS AND MAINTENANCE.........................................................................................14
   4.1. TECHNICAL ASPECTS..........................................................................................................................................14
   4.2. MAINTENANCE........................................................................................................................................14
5. USAGE REPORT..............................................................................................................................................15

6. SUMMARY........................................................................................................................................................18
   6.1. FUTURE PLANS.................................................................................................................................................18




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1. LIST OF ACRONYMS

API                 Application Programming Interface
BG                  BalticGrid, EU FP6 project; sometimes refers to BalticGrid
                    infrastructure as well
BG-II               BalticGrid-II; BalticGrid Second Phase, EU FP7 project, continuation
                    of the BalticGrid-I project
CA                  Certificate Authority
CE                  Computing Element
EB                  Executive Board
EGEE                Enabling Grids for E-sciencE, EU FP7 project
EGI                 European Grid Initiative
EENet               Estonian Educational and Research Network
IFJPAN              Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow,
Poland
JDL                 Job Description Language
MPI                 Message Passing Interface
NA2                 Networking Activity 2: Education, Training, Dissemination and
Outreach
NA3                 BG-II NA3 activity: Application Identification and Collaboration
NGI                 National Grid Initiatives
OGF                 Open Grid Forum
PMB                 Project Management Board
SA1                 Specific Service Activity 1: Grid Operations
SA3                 BG-II SA3 activity: Application Integration and Support
SAM                 Service Availability Monitoring
UI                  User Interface
VO                  Virtual Organization
WN                  Worker Node
WMS                 Workflow Management System




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2. INTRODUCTION
Two main goals of the SA3 activity in BaltiGrid-II project is to support scientists who are already
using the project infrastructure and to help new research communities to get involved in Grid
computing. The targeted geographical area consists of the Baltic States and Belarus. Support teams in
these countries have been formed to guide researchers willing to integrate their applications in the
project infrastructure.

2.1. PURPOSE
The purpose of this document is to describe the structure, content and current usage of Baltic Grid
Users' Forum – an easy to use grid portal designated for Baltic Grid users. The portal is available at the
following URL: http://support.balticgrid.org
The main goal of the portal is to collect together all of the useful information for BalticGrid user
community to one place. In the previous BalticGrid project there was also developed several user
guides, but these were distributed between couple of web pages and these were not easily findable for
the users. It was also complicated to manage the documentation.
This portal comprises two main parts: public and internal. The main purpose of the document is to
present the public part of the portal, but the role of the internal part will be mentioned as well. Besides
information collected by the SA3 teams, the portal contains many references to other grid-user related
services at BalticGrid.
The document contains four Chapters. Chapter 3 describes the Users' Forum's structure and its content.
Chapter 4 highlights the portal technical issues and maintenance. The last chapter presents diagrams
and graphs to give an overview about the usage of the portal.




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3. THE BALTIC GRID USERS' FORUM PORTAL

3.1. PORTAL'S STRUCTURE
The structure of the BG Users' Forum web site at http://support.balticgrid.org is designed in a clear
and consistent way, so that grid users can easily locate all information intended for them. The first
page gives an overview of the available information, divided into sections. All visitors will see the text
describing the aim of the web site supplemented by contact information as well active controls of the
displayed web-page contents, namely: the Top menu, the Search box, the Public part of the Left menu
sections and the News container with a tree of last news, see figure 1.




                    Figure 1: The public view and components of the BG Users' Forum




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A more elaborate view of the page is seen by the authorized users, who used their personal account or
BG user certificate to log in. In addition to the information seen by all users, they will see Page Edit
buttons, and the protected sections as well as personal data section of the Left menu, see figure 2.




         Figure 2: The authorized view and additional components of the BG Users' Forum




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The page has these sections, containing active links to contents and controls:
     1. Top navigation
               •    BalticGrid-II Project
               •    BalticGrid Ticketing System
               •    BalticGrid User Interface
     2. Left navigation
               •    Information
                         ◦ News
                         ◦ Publications
                         ◦ Contacts & Links
               •    Instructions
                         ◦ Using Grid
                         ◦ Data Management
                         ◦ Virtual Organizations
                         ◦ MPI on grid
                         ◦ Applications
                         ◦ Installing Soft[ware] on Grid
               •    Grid Tools
                         ◦ User Interfaces
                         ◦ Grid Monitoring
                         ◦ Advanced Tools
               •    SA3 Internal (Only for authorized users and the SA3 group members)
               •    Toolbox (Only for authorized users)
               •    Personal tools (Some tools are available only for authorized users)
                         ◦ Log in / Log out
     3. Page Edit buttons (Only for authorized users)
               •    Page, Edit, History, Delete, Move, Protect / Unprotect, Watch / Unwatch
     4. Additional portlets
               •    Search box, News container




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3.2. SECTIONS

3.2.1. Top navigation
The top menu contains the most important and usable links for the grid users. At present there are
three active links:


BalticGrid-II Project
A link to the BalticGrid Project official homepage.


Baltic Grid Ticketing System
A link to the BalticGrid ticketing system to report any problem.


BalticGrid User Interface
A link to the BalticGrid UI info page and shortcut to the current gLite user interface.


3.2.2. Left navigation
Menu items on the left navigation bar are different for public and authorized users. Some menu items
are hidden from unauthorized users. General sections, visible to all visitors are: Information,
Instructions, and Grid tools. The additional, internal sections for the authorized users are: SA3
Internal, Toolbox, and User preferences.
Users can authenticate themselves and log in by using a personal user-name and a password, which are
given by the portal administrator. An additional way of authentication is to use a personal grid
certificate issued by the BalticGrid CA or Belarus Grid CA. The certificate must be imported into
user's web browser to be able to log into the site.
The sections and menu items of the http://support.balticgrid.org web site accessible using Left menu
buttons are described below.


Information section
This section contains a lot of useful and interesting information as well as advices for grid users. There
are menu items to access pages containing latest news, useful contacts and a list of publications.


News
This page contains information about changes, upcoming events and breakdowns related to the
BalticGrid infrastructure. Last three news items are also listed in the news container on the first page
of the support web site.


Contacts
This page contains contacts of people providing user support in each Baltic state. These key persons
have knowledge about people who should possess detailed information on the topic the user has


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brought up. There are at least two supporters in each Baltic state. Besides contact information, this
page contains useful links for users who routinely use grid in their scientific work, especially EGEE-
type grid. These links include shortcuts to the EGEE information materials, grid resource information
page and the grid user portals. The third block of the “contacts” page is a feedback form which can be
easily used to report any problem or provide comments.


Publications
This page contains a list of scientific articles related to or having reference to the BalticGrid
infrastructure.


Instructions section
This section of the Users' Forum contains information related to the usage of the BalticGrid
infrastructure. The user can find tips on submitting grid jobs, storing and replicating data, installing
software and running applications.


Using grid
This page contains a complete and detailed description how to use grid, including pictures, examples
and demo jobs. It begins with information about requesting BalticGrid certificate and joining to Virtual
Organisation and ends with information of using current gLite commands to manipulate grid jobs.


Data management
This page contains informative material about basic elements of grid file management like using
storage elements to keep data and transfering files between the grid storage element and the user local
machine. The last section provides a link to a page where a sophisticated way of keeping track of
user's data is described.


Virtual Organisations
This page contains descriptions of the most suitable VOs available to academic users of the Baltic
States and Belarus. VOs bring together users having a common geographical location, sharing
scientific goals or other agreements. Each VO has its own policy and conditions under which people
could join it. A short description, policy, available software and contacts of VO managers are given for
four VOs, related to the BalticGrid-II project. Namely, Balticgrid, Gamess, Litgrid and Biomed.


MPI on grid
This page contains instructions for using MPI on BalticGrid sites in three different ways:
     1. Using MPI installed on a cluster by its admins.
     2. Using MPI versions installed in VO software area.
     3. Using mpi-start option.
A description of each way of MPI usage as well as examples and demo jobs are provided on this page.




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Applications
This page contains a list of applications installed on BalticGrid infrastructure and most of them are
available for every BalticGrid VO member. Each application in this list has its own separate page with
a detailed description of the scientific target group that uses current application, its main tasks and
aims. Examples and demo jobs for testing the application are included as well.


Installing software on grid
This page contains instructions to authorized VO user about installing software. A general grid user
does not have the required permissions to install new software on the clusters, but the VO manager
can give a special permission to the BG VO member for writing files into the VO software area on a
CE. Software installation is sometimes necessary for grid users using some specific software in their
scientific work.


Grid Tools section
This section of the Users' Forum describes grid tools, helping to use grid infrastructure and monitor
actions. Using the gLite command line tools is not very easy, as it assumes a rather average knowledge
of Unix-like operating systems and the construction of computing clusters. This caused the
implementation of different user interfaces and tools to help combining and sending jobs to the grid.
Some of the EGEE RESPECT program tools (like P-grade Portal and Migrating Desktop) and a few
other tools are now available for all BalticGrid users.


User interfaces
This page contains a description of three grid user interfaces available in BalticGrid: BG Central UI,
Migrating Desktop and P-grade portal.


     •    The BalticGrid central UI is a computer, providing general gLite command-line user interface,
          accessible by all BalticGrid VO members. Getting account and using this central UI can be
          accomplished very easily. The BalticGrid user certificate owners do not need sending emails
          or filling request forms. All required actions to create an account are automatized, while the
          BG user has to follow the provided instructions.


     •    The Migrating Desktop Platform is a powerful and flexible user interface to Grid resources
          that gives a transparent user work environment and an easy access to resources and network
          file systems independently of the computer operation system version and hardware. It allows
          the user to run applications and tools, manage data files, and store personal settings
          independently of the location or the terminal type.


     •    The P-GRADE Grid Portal is a web based, service rich environment for the development,
          execution and monitoring of workflows and workflow based parameter studies on various grid
          platforms.




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Grid monitoring
This page summarizes links to different types of monitoring tools. Some of the connected sites provide
information about availability, health and usage of the BalticGrid infrastructure – computing and
storage elements (like BalticGrid Infosite, GSTAT, SAM etc). Other linked tools are for network
monitoring, batch system analysis and accounting.


Advanced tools
This page contains a description of tools for advanced grid users and software developers. Two most
useful tools are described here, namely, gLite API (jLite) and real-time task monitoring tool, named
Glogin.


     •    jLite is a Java library providing a simple API for accessing the gLite based grid infrastructure,
          the one currently used in BalticGrid. Current jLite implementation supports afull set of job
          management operations. jLite can be used to initiate the grid session and to submit grid jobs
          as well.


     •    The Glogin is a tool developed in Johannes Kepler University Linz to enable an interactive
          communication between a grid job and the user interface. This tool enables user to login into
          the CE.

3.2.3. Internal sections


SA3 internal section
This section is visible only for authenticated users. However, write and edit privileges are available
only for users from the SA3 activity. The section contains SA3 routine entries concerning everyday
work and hints on adding pages into the wiki.


Toolbox and Personal tools
This section contains tools for adjusting personal settings and using current wiki environment.


3.2.4. Page Edit Buttons
Buttons allowing to change the contents of Users' Forum pages are visible only for authorized users.
The section contains buttons for adding, editing, moving and deleting pages, exploring the history of
the page content changes, protecting pages from changes or adjusting their visibility to certain user
groups, collecting information of new content in the pages (watch / unwatch).


3.2.5. Additional portletsThere are additional active controls and information sources
        for the user. These portlets are described below.
Search
The search engine enables visitors to quickly locate interesting documents within the BG Users'
Forum web site.

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“News” container
This container is visible only on first page of the portal and displays three last news in chronological
order.


Feedback form
This form is easy and useful means to report any bugs, problems and send comments related to the
BalticGrid infrastructure and the Users' Forum page. (Figure 3)




                               Figure 3: BalticGrid User's Forum feedback form




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4. TECHNICAL ASPECTS AND MAINTENANCE

4.1. TECHNICAL ASPECTS
The BG Users' Forum page was implemented using a freely-distributed MediaWiki 1.12 platform,
Cavetish theme design components and several MediaWiki Extensions for a better maintenance of the
web page. The portal has both public and the restricted area for authorized users.
For logging into the restricted area of the portal, users can use their personal username and the
password or, alternatively, the BalticGrid user certificate. Using the grid certificate is even easier
because the system will recognize the user automatically if user's grid certificate is imported into the
browser. The authenticated users have read-only access to the non-public pages of the forum.
Permissions for changing and creating new pages are given only for authorized users who are
members of the SA3 activity group.

4.2. MAINTENANCE
The content of the BalticGrid Users' Forum portal is changing all the time because new tools for grid
users become available and new applications are installed to the BalticGrid infrastructure. Most of the
grid tools are under fast development and additional functionality is available with new releases. We
try to keep the user guides and the documentation up to date and without unexpected surprises for the
users.
Most of the contents in the portal has been written by the SA3 team but people from other BalticGrid-
II activities are contributing actively also. Persons from JRA and SA1 activities have been writing
texts about the central services and the developed tools (for example, Migrating Desktop).
All of the new user guides and examples have been reviewed before publishing by another person
from the SA3 activity. We also strive to test the published texts and examples regularly to discover the
issues and non-working examples caused by new software releases.
All of the sections in the portal have the responsible editor and if any issues with the text come up, the
main editor is contacted. Smaller issues can be fixed by any person from the SA3 group.
From time to time somebody from the SA3 go over all of the Users' Forum sections and make
proposals for reorganizing the menus or moving some text to a different branch to make the Users'
Forum structure more usable. The user requests obtained either via the feedback form or some other
way are discussed in the SA3 group during the weekly meetings and accepted if possible.




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5. USAGE REPORT
The Users' Forums is getting more and more popular in the BaltcGrid user community. The annual
usage statistics graph and table (Figure 4) illustrates the growth of visits and clicks. The exception is
August which is a popular vacation period in academic community. The numbers in the table make us
believe that the portal is required by and useful for the BalticGrid users community.




                         Figure 4: BalticGrid Users' Forum annual visitors statistics



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The next diagram (Figure 5) describes the Users' Forum visits in September 2009. The portal is being
accessed even during the weekends.




                                      Figure 5: Daily visits in September 2009
The next diagram (Figure 6) shows that most visits originate from the BalticGrid-II project partner
countries. Estonia has produced many visits because a grid course at Estonian IT College was started
in September and several user guides were referred to from the course materials.




                                    Figure 6: Visits in September 2009 by country



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The last table (Figure 7) shows that the portal collects visits from other countries outside the
BalticGrid Region as well:




                                    Figure 7: Visits in September 2009 by countries




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6. SUMMARY
The BalticGrid Users' Forum has been growing since the beginning of the BalticGrid project into a
useful and required source of information for the BalticGrid users' community. There is a variety of
user guides and descriptions of both applications and tools available and tested on the BalticGrid
infrastructure. This means there are working examples for local user communities.

6.1. FUTURE PLANS
During last six project months we will keep developing the Users' Forum and will add the descriptions
of grid-enabled applications as well as user guides for new tools. The SA3 team is already working on
the new applications. In addition, there are unsolved issues with some user-requested grid tools. For
example, the g-Eclipse tool is not working with the BalticGrid CA certificates.The steps towards the
resolution of this problem are already taken, namely, we have contacted the developers and hope that
he issues will be solved soon.
Collecting users' feedback and comments is also an important task for the next period. Fresh grid
users, especially young students, usually come with new ideas and requests. We hope that their
participation will aid in improving the User's Forum and the implemented grid tools for the whole
BalticGrid community.
Currently, the Users' Forum development after the end of the BalticGrid-II project is not clear, but all
tree Baltic States and Belarus will continue computing grid enhancements and have joined with the
EGI. This prospect collaboration will require the grid-user support community to aid users solve grid
application problems and will continue contributing to the portal.




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