iSGTW Technology - XtreemOS: a Linux-based operating system to support next-generation grids

Technology - XtreemOS: a Linux-based operating system to support next-generation grids

At November's SC07 conference XtreemOS was represented in the INRIA's booth and also organized a well-attended Birds of a Feather session on grid operating systems.
Image courtesy of XtreemOS

While grids allow organizations to significantly increase their computational power, they can also threaten to be a significant headache. That's where it can help to have an operating system designed to keep things simple.

"Tools developed for grid use, like the Globus Toolkit, can be demanding and complex," explains Christine Morin of INRIA Rennes Bretagne Atlantique in France, "especially because they are based on operating systems that are not designed to manage distributed and versatile resources."

Morin is the scientific coordinator of XtreemOS, a four-year research project that aims to develop a grid operating system to simplify the usage, management and programming of grids.

"XtreemOS will provide native support for virtual organizations," says Morin. "It is based on Linux and will have three different versions capable of running on single PCs, clusters and mobile devices. It will provide for grids what other operating systems offer for single computers: abstraction from the hardware and secure resource sharing between different users."

Functions in good form

The core functionalities of XtreemOS allow users to securely manage their computation and data resources. Moran explains:

"'Virtual Organization and Security Management' guarantees a secure operational environment for grids, covering all common requirements for information security as well as those intrinsic to grids," she says. "'Application Execution Management' allows users to start, monitor and control applications, and selects and allocates resources to them; and 'Data Management' is a grid file system-XtreemFS-that targets wide-area networks with high latencies."

The cluster version of XtreemOS is based on the Kerrighed open source project, which provides a Single System Image operating system for clusters.

The XtreemOS team recently met in Pisa, Italy.
Images courtesy of XtreemOS

The road to 2008 release

XtreemOS is being comprehensively tested using eleven reference applications, including aeronautics, economics, biology and more, to ensure that end-user perspectives are taken into account in the design, implementation and validation of the system.

"These experiments will initially be carried out on the French national grid experimental platform Grid'5000," says Morin. "We then plan to extend the initial test bed to the DAS-3 grid in the Netherlands and CNGrid in China."

The first public release of XtreemOS will be in June 2008, while demo prototypes of individual components are already available.

The final two years of the XtreemOS project will be dedicated to developing advanced features, with a focus on robustness and security of the system and the creation of a users' community.

XtreemOS involves 19 partners and is partly funded by the European Commission.

- Sandrine L'Hermitte, XtreemOS