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iSGTW Technology - YAIM: herding gLite configuration


Technology - YAIM: herding gLite configuration


And why a yak? The yak logo was provided by David O'Callaghan, in reference to the concept of "shaving the yak." This was subsequently adopted as part of YAIM's motto.
Images courtesy of YAIM

Setting up a grid site can present a pretty steep learning curve, and with more than 250 EGEE sites and new administrators arriving all the time, anything that eases the transition to becoming a fully fledged grid administrator is a big plus. That's where YAIM comes in.

EGEE's gLite middleware takes its components from a number of different sources, each of which has its own configuration paradigm. To save administrators from having to learn the details of each service, the YAIM configuration utility does all the hard work, providing simple and separable installation and configuration methods.

Built on basic Unix technology, YAIM offers administrators a familiar and uniform interface, also adding transparency to the process.

YAIM is installed on every EGEE grid service node except one, and surveys indicate that the vast majority of administrators use it. It is the widest deployment of any component in the gLite stack.

The grid has arrived…

YAIM's ultimate goal is to contribute to the much wider objective of a stable and robust grid service that is useful for science.

YAIM's part in this is a supporting role: it is a tool that simplifies the lives of the grid administrators who are working hard to make the grid happen. YAIM also lowers the barrier to participation in grids, which in turn helps to attract more resources to the grid.

Maria Alandes Pradillo (top) and Gergely Debreczeni (bottom), members of the YAIM team, speak at the EGEE 07 conference, held in October 2007 in Budapest, Hungary.
Images courtesy of
Toth Csilla

We believe that the model for adding new resources to the grid must be based on enabling existing resources. We cannot just say "the grid has arrived; build me a new data-centre." For this reason, YAIM is designed to work with existing fabric or configuration management systems, such as quattor.

Community effort

Inspired by the large number of users who have contributed to YAIM over the last three years, YAIM 4 makes it as easy as possible to integrate customizations, which can then be passed onto the wider community if generally applicable.

The admin/developer community gathering around YAIM allows the entire grid community to profit from the work grid administrators do to get their sites working.

Under the yak's skin

Following Unix culture, YAIM depends on simple text-based configuration files and shell scripts to get the job done.

This essentially low-tech approach has proven extremely effective in the high-tech world of grid technology. It has enabled widespread participation in the project, thus allowing us to maintain this core product with just Maria Alandes Pradillo as full-time staff, and additional effort from local team members equivalent to half a person.

- the YAIM team, EGEE

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