HARNESS Software Carpentry Bootcamp Retrospective

In July 2015, the HARNESS project hosted a Software Carpentry bootcamp/workshop at the SAP headquarters in Feltham, near London Heathrow. This was an outreach activity with three distinct, but related, objectives: 1) to disseminate HARNESS project outcomes to the research community, 2) to bring together researchers interested in topics relevant to HARNESS, and 3) provide skills and knowledge training as a public service to contribute toward the improvement computational science practice within the European Union. This activity was particularly targeted at the HPC'',cloud research”, and ``heterogeneous compute research” communities discussed in the HARNESS deliverable documentation. In addition to the standard topics on task automation, version control, and programming in python, there were additional modules on cloud computing, FPGA data-flow engines, and distributed file systems. Representatives from both the Software Sustainability Institute and the European Grid Infrastructure attended to provide additional teaching support. The full list of topics covered was as follows: Automating Tasks with the Unix Shell (Alistair Grant, SSI) Version Control with Git (Alistair Grant, SSI) Building Programs with Python (Mark Stillwell, HARNESS, ICL) Managing Cloud Services with ConPaaS (Guillaume Pierre, HARNESS, UR1) Dataflow Programming with Maxeler (Peter Sanders, HARNESS, Maxeler) EGI Federated Cloud for Open Science (Diego Scardaci and Gergely Sipos, EGI) Distributed Filesystems with XtreemFS (Christoph Kleinweber, HARNESS, ZIB)

'Research in the Cloud' Software Carpentry Event near London this Summer! (2015)

I’m very excited to announce that for the past month I have been working on the arrangements for a cloud-oriented software carpentry event, and we are now ready to start recruiting for participants! The event, which is going to be held at the SAP offices in Feltham (near London Heathrow) July 15-17, is being organized as a dissemination activity for the European FP7 HARNESS project. At this event we will extend the standard software carpentry curriculum of task automation, modular programming, and version control, with additional modules on cloud computing, including deployment, configuration, and management of virtual machines.

DevOps, Systems Administration, and the Culture of Fear

Today at the HARNESS project integration team meeting I gave a brief presentation wherein I discussed DevOps and some of my favorite tools, namely Ansible, Vagrant, and Docker. The central thesis of my talk was that a modern devops approach, based in version-controlled configuration management implemented using industry-standard deployment tools and making use of continuous integration and rolling updates is a must for creating robust distributed systems with lots of moving parts.