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Home > iSGTW 07 March 2007 > iSGTW Feature - Parallel evolution: DILIGENT & ETICS

Feature - Parallel Evolution: DILIGENT and ETICS

Parallel evolution: two EU funded projects interacting for mutual benefit. Left, the ETICS interface. Right, watermarking and video curation, two functions of the DILIGENT system.
Image courtesy of Owen Appleton

DILIGENT and ETICS, two European Commission-funded projects that are leaders in the European Grid scene, recently achieved milestone releases of their software, thanks largely to their collaboration with each other.

ETICS—E-infrastructure for Testing Integration and Configuration of Software—offers grid-enabled, automated building and testing of software. Just over a year after the project launched, their final release candidate was made public.

The project’s service, however, has been in use for some time by several projects, including DILIGENT—a DIgital Library Infrastructure on Grid Enabled Technologies.

“We started to use ETICS when it was three months old for our build and deployment testing activities,” explained DILIGENT’s Pedro Andrade. “I think at the moment we are the only project also exploring some of the ETICS test functionality.”

DILIGENT offers digital library management services which allow dynamic creation and deployment of digital libraries.

“The way they are using the system actually gave us many requirements for the testing system,” explained Alberto Di Meglio, ETICS project manager. “For example, consider the case where you want to execute a test and have the system build or deploy components on a given node before the test starts. A number of specific requirements for this case were written for us by DILIGENT.”

Mission critical success

Adopting software still in development for mission-critical tasks is a risky decision, but as Andrade explains, the collaboration has been successful.

“DILIGENT is a complex system, with software developed by seven partners and integrating 242 different software components, and ETICS also has a learning curve. It took some time, but with the help of the ETICS team this was possible, and I think now, with our release alpha, we can say that the effort invested in the beginning has completely paid off.”

The close collaboration between these projects is also helped by a common partner: Italy’s Engineering Ingegneria Informatica SpA. Paolo Fabriani works on both projects for Engineering, writing the ETICS Web application and managing the building of the DILIGENT software.

“The collaboration has been very good,” said Fabriani. “DILIGENT had some constraints and advanced requirements but ETICS was able to take these into account. Engineering is also interested in using ETICS for some pilot projects within the company, and we’re also looking at ETICS for some EU projects starting later this year.”

DILIGENT is planning the beta release of its software this summer, which will add a greater number of services to the basic package of the alpha release.

“The collaboration worked well,” said Andrade. “We were able to produce the alpha release of DILIGENT successfully with the help of ETICS, and we will continue this approach for the beta release.”

Meanwhile, ETICS has some 15 projects registered to use their service, including national efforts such as Grid-Ireland and the Italian EGRID. ETICS are also involved with the United States grid community. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, a project partner, is proposing the ETICS service to major U.S. grid projects such as Open Science Grid and TeraGrid.

ETICS is in the process of making plans for its second year, moving toward a 1.0 release of its service this spring.

“One feature we are adding is co-scheduling,” explains Di Meglio. “At the moment if you submit a test, the test is executed on a single machine, but for real distributed testing, you need to distribute pieces of the middleware on the different machines. This is the holy grail of distributed testing: testing the grid with the grid.”

More information on DILIGENT can be found in this earlier article in iSGTW.

- Owen Appleton, EGEE



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