iSGTW Feature - Grid Operations Center

Feature - OSG's Grid Operations Center: Ready to Help

In the world of grids, people in grid operations are the equivalent of firefighters.
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Let's say you are an Open Science Grid user. At 3:20 in the morning, struck by a brilliant thought, you decide to submit a job to the OSG grid, but don't know which site to run your calculations on. A 24-hour monitoring service run by OSG's Grid Operations Center solves the problem, helping users decide where to send their jobs by showing sites which are available. At 3:26 a.m. you come across another problem: you are having trouble getting a proxy. The Grid Operations Center is ready to help you again.

"Users need a central place to go to for simple trouble shooting," says Rob Quick, Senior Analyst and Programmer at the Grid Operations Center, who has worked there for four years. "At GOC users have 24/7 phone and e-mail support."

Problems can often be quickly fixed by the GOC. For complicated problems, GOC staffers will register a "trouble ticket" and route the problem to the appropriate person for fixing; to the software developer, for example.

Monitoring at the Grid Operations Center at Indiana University in the United States.
Image courtesy of Rob Quick

The GOC, located at Indiana University in the United States, has many other functions, aside from assisting the early morning researcher. GOC is a communication hub between developers, system administrators and users. GOC responds to security issues, coordinates grid-wide changes, keeps track of registered virtual organizations, support centers and services, and maintains grid servers and OSG information repositories. All OSG infrastructure services, in effect, rely on the GOC.

Quick, who works with a team of five other full-time staff members, says working at the GOC is not so different from working as a firefighter. "When there is an emergency it's hectic-everybody is rushing around to put out the fire. When there's not, it's a more relaxed job."

To learn more about the GOC visit their Web site.

-Danielle Venton
iSGTW Editor