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Advanced Risk Assessment for Trustable Grids

The goal of AssessGrid is to address obstacles to wide adoption of Grid technologies by bringing risk management and assessment to this field, enabling the use of Grid computing in business and society.

AssessGrid delivers Open Source software providing users’ estimation
and aggregated confidence information for provider selection and fault-tolerance/penalty negotiations, as well as risk assessment methods such as decision support for accepting/rejecting Service Level Agreements (SLAs), price/penalty negotiation, and capacity and service planning.

Project Background

Grid technologies have reached a high level of development, but adopters still highlight core shortcomings related to security, trustworthiness, and dependability of the Grid for commercial applications and services. Users require a job execution with the desired priority and quality to negotiate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to define all aspects of the business relationship. Nevertheless, providers are reluctant to adopt this mechanism because agreeing on SLAs, including penalty fees, is a business risk. For example system failure or operator unavailability can actually lead to SLA violation.
On the other hand, providers require risk assessment methods as decision support for accepting/rejecting SLAs, for price/penalty negotiation, for activating fault-tolerance actions, and for capacity and service planning. Customers, Grid end-users and brokers also need estimation and aggregated confidence information for provider selection and fault-tolerance/penalty negotiations.

AssessGrid addresses risk awareness and consideration in SLA negotiation, self-organising fault-tolerant actions, and capacity planning for both providers and customers. The project develops and integrates methods for risk assessment and management in all Grid layers. The cornerstones are risk management scenarios reflecting the perspective of Grid end-users, brokers and providers. The outcomes of the project will support all Grid actors by increasing transparency, reliability, and trustworthiness, as well as providing an
objective foundation for planning and management of Grid activities. Thus, AssessGrid will supply Next Generation Grids with additional innovative and required components to close the gap between SLAs as a concept and an accepted tool for commercial Grid uptake.

Added Value for CETIC

AssessGrid is considered by CETIC as a key project. CETIC led one of the project’s critical tasks: providing the requirements of the projects. By providing the AssessGrid requirements, CETIC not only gains expertise in the specificities of Grid domain requirements, but also reinforces its know-how offered as services to enterprises. Under CETIC lead, implementation of the requirements
is tested through a verification and validation process for each of the project’s software deliverables. CETIC is also involved in the dissemination activities. Participating in the dissemination strengthens CETIC’s experience in this field and contributes to its mission of providing Belgian enterprises with a high level of technical information.

Added Value for Businesses

The largest impact of the AssessGrid achievements can be observed in commercial Grid environments. By integrating risk assessment and trustiness information into service negotiation and runtime management, the confidence of users in the selected provider and its resources will be strengthened. This way it is possible to face the concerns of potential Grid customers and reduce reserved attitudes of those who are currently not using any Grid environment for their time/deadline critical jobs. They rather rely on their own resources, as they feel that these provide the lowest risk. The attraction of this user community will lead to a steady rise of outsourcing activities in the commercial domain since Grid technology has an enormous potential for cost optimization. The increasing number of Grid users will boost the service and capacity development within this market. By contributing to AssessGrid, CETIC wants to enable the Belgian enterprises to gain from a cutting edge expertise on these new Grid services and the innovative tools that will come up from this project.

Main Achievements

Methods and algorithms elaborated in AssessGrid are applied and delivered through generic, customisable, and interoperable open-source software for risk assessment, risk management and decision support in each Grid layer.

AssessGrid software is released in three steps, following the use-cases defined in the project: for the end-user, from a Grid service broker viewpoint and for all stake-holders.

  • Risk-aware end-user client
    The first outcome focuses on the end-user perspective. It contains basic mechanisms on risk management and allows negotiation of Grid jobs from end-user to several providers through a brokering service. Main software components (risk management and assessment components, confidence service, risk assessor) are deployed into the Grid software architecture. The software prototype was released in September 2007.
  • Risk-enhanced broker service
    In the second phase the AssessGrid system is enhanced to consider risk management methods especially for improving analysis performed by the broker service. The risk assessment is based on dynamic data. The software prototype was released in July 2008, and demonstrations took place from August to November.
  • - AssessGrid risk management system
    This is the main AssessGrid outcome: a vertically integrated solution including all planning, monitoring and risk management methods for the Grid end-user client, Grid broker and Grid provider. It further enhances the risk assessment by considering statistical/historical data (like events log), ad-hoc input, and general data on the Grid infrastructure (such as human operator availability). Overall, this outcome will enhance the second result from the provider’s perspective. It will be released at the end of the project.