Why did OGF initiate the OGF-Europe project?

OGF-Europe was proposed as an opportunity to capitalise on significant European investments in Grid & distributed computing over the past 8 -10 years. The lack of open standards in the critical area of middleware is a roadblock for the commercial adoption of distibuted computing. OGF-Europe seeks to accelerate standards development and adoption, through a dynamic work plan that provides the mechanisms for achieving near-term solutions to known adoption challenges resulting in well-defined best practices and global standards. The ability for standards bodies to act in co-ordination with market requirements is an important factor in speeding adoption. OGF-Europe will focus on the essence of mobilisation and integration of distributed computing communities with the aim of delivering actionable and sustainable results.

How is OGF-Europe structured?

OGF-Europe consists of a consortium of nine highly-committed partners, all prominent leaders in the arena. These organisations have already engaged in outreach to user communities, developed middleware, deployed e-Infrastructures, and worked on developing standards and best practices. Their expertise will be leveraged to mobilise additional end-user communities, broaden adoption in early adopter sectors, and facilitate a more focused path towards up-take across Europe.

Is this a return to the old Grid Forum Europe, which merged with US- and Asia-based Grid Forums in 2001 to form the Global Grid Forum?

Since the late 1990’s, the European Commission and numerous national governments have invested millions of euro to architect, build, and manage grid infrastructures and applications. OGF-Europe is specifically aimed at leveraging these investments to increase up-take not just in research but in commercial and small-medium enterprises. As standards development organisations like OGF grow and begin to have a more mature portfolio of standards, it is not uncommon for national or regional chapters to be launched to perform the “last-mile” adoption of those standards in their respective geographies. The launch of the European Chapter of OGF and OGF-Europe represents a milestone in the maturity of the Grid in that adoption globally is dependent on concerted outreach and adoption efforts within regions or nations. OGF-Europe is uniquely positioned to represent OGF’s global standards and best practices as well as advances in distributed computing to a broad commercial sector across Europe.

How will OGF-Europe and OGF-Global co-ordinate activities?

OGF-Europe and OGF will co-ordinate their activities through the “European Chapter of the Open Grid Forum E.E.I.G.” (OGF.eeig, for short) which is a European-based legal entity (specifically, a European Economic Interest Grouping) designed to extend the OGF model to Europe in alignment with OGF’s mission, strategy and leadership to stimulate, co-ordinate and harmonise networked actions across Europe and globally.

OGF.eeig is governed by an internal regulation natively ensuring synchronisation mechanisms with the OGF and managing structures to execute on expected synergies in Europe. More specifically, OGF.eeig has the mission of: (1) expanding active participation of European public and private individuals and organisations in the work of OGF; (2) channelling European achievements, priorities, requirements and policies into OGF’s global strategy for standardisation and Grid adoption; (3) delivering global distributed computing advancements, best practices and specifications to European scientific and commercial entities. According to its Article of Association, OGF.eeig must re-invest all possible profits in the activities of the EEIG specified in the mission summarised above.

What are the key deliverables of OGF-Europe?

OGF-Europe is focusing on achieving 8 key objectives:

  • Provide European structural support to building Open Standards.
  • Contribute to the OGF Technical Strategy & Roadmap Report covering European perspectives & outcomes.
  • Document challenges on standardisation with Research & Industry vertical markets through workshops.
  • Mobilise e-Infrastructure Communities on the business value of distributed computing & support adoption.
  • Introduce in-depth tutorial activities around the Community Outreach Seminars & OGF events in Europe.
  • Create European surveys on building & operating e-Infrastructures within key European communities.
  • Deliver two international OGF events in Europe providing a platform to exchange knowledge, showcasing outcomes and technological and business demonstrations.
  • Facilitate the documentation of best practices from European-based R&D & Enterprise-based projects and initiatives which are capitalised for adoption purposes.

Major tangible results of OGF-Europe comprise: 3 reports supporting OGF Technical & Strategic Roadmap, 2 survey reports on trends & Grid practices, 4 workshops on challenges on standardisation issues, 4 Grid adoption challenge reports; 6 community outreach seminars including 4 in-depth tutorials and 6 Community best practice reports. Additionally, 2 OGF-Europe international events will be held, including OGF23, hosted by Barcelona Supercomputing Centre & co-located with BEinGRID Industry Days and OGF25 planned in collaboration with the EGEE User Forum in Spring 2009.

What activities can we anticipate as the OGF-Europe chapter begins operations?

The scheduled activities as OGF-Europe unfolds (February-June 2008) are the following:

  • Monthly eAnnouncements from OGF-Europe distributed to a global audience.
  • Two analysis surveys to analyse priority issues and pinpoint community practice and/or standardisation tasks. The surveys will be conducted in parallel with the GIN and enterprise activities.
  • A series of 4 concise and focused workshops (the first will be at OGF23) aimed at enhancing the presence and influence of OGF in research and industry.
  • Two international events starting with OGF23 in Barcelona 2-6 June 2008. The second event in collaboration with EGEE in Spring 2009.
  • Community Outreach seminars focusing on different topics with the aim of connecting players from specific user communities. The 1st Seminar on Digital Repositories took place at OGF23.

What Grid adoption issues will OGF-Europe begin tackling?

We see the growing demands for analysing massive data as one of today’s major points of discussion. Topics of interest include Digital Repositories; Green-IT; Financial Services; Creative Industry, to name but a few. By showcasing the value-add of distributed computing across diverse sectors and by fostering round-table debates, OGF-Europe will be able to create a portfolio of case studies and evaluate requirements for the development of standards.