Last updated: January 23 2007 09:40:53

Self-training: How to Use the Grid

The dissemination and training activities are of strategic importance to introduce state of the art grid technologies and services to an international community of users covering a broad range of scientific and technological areas. At the same time, the knowledge dissemination events will contribute to further disseminate the project and the benefits of the grid technologies.

The strategic tool and key enabler of these activities will be the INFN GILDA virtual laboratory for grid dissemination and knowledge dissemination which has originally been developed and successfully used in the context of the EGEE Project.

GILDA is a complete and fully functional grid infrastructure whose elements are:

  • a testbed consisting, as of today, of 15 sites located in 3 continents;
  • a dummy Certification Authority which can issue both users and server certificates (more than 1600 issued so far in EGEE);
  • a dummy Virtual Organization including the Virtual Organization Membership Service (VOMS);
  • a complete set of documentation about how to become a GILDA user and/or join GILDA as a site;
  • a complete set of grid portals (the GILDA Grid Tutor and the GILDA Grid Demonstrator) both based on the GENIUS portal, which are fully compliant with both LCG and gLite middlewares;
  • a full set of demonstrative applications that can be used to impress and stimulate attendees to dissemination events.

GILDA runs the latest stable versions of the LCG middleware and gLite middleware so it is the ideal environment to start developing the interfaces between the grid middleware and the EELA applications that have then to be used on the EELA production infrastructure.

GILDA’s key advantages are the following:

  • Users only need a certificate to access GILDA. This certificate, delivered by INFN, is valid for 2 weeks.
  • The GENIUS grid portal allows quick deployment of new applications.

By its nature, then, GILDA is one of the key enablers of the “virtuous cycle” set-up in the EGEE Project to attract and support new communities. In fact:

  1. A novice user can get the feeling of what is grid computing and which applications can run on a grid infrastructure simply using the Grid Demonstrator which is available around the clock.
  2. An interested user participating in a tutorial event or an induction course, can go through all the mandatory procedure of the request of a personal digital certificate and subscription to a VO and then use the Grid Tutor.
  3. A community that is interested in testing the grid can join GILDA and try to port its applications on its test-bed, thus solving, on a smaller scale, all problems related to interfacing with grid services before entering the huge EGEE infrastructure.
  4. The various applications from different communities ported on GILDA can be incorporated into the Grid Demonstrator, thus enriching the portfolio of examples that can be demonstrated to newcomers.
  5. A site, which needs to set-up a computing or a storage resource for a grid infrastructure, can join GILDA in the short term and solve, on a smaller scale, all the problems of installation and proper configuration of the machines.

Up to now, GILDA has been used in more than 45 demonstrative events and induction courses. A continuously updated list of the tutorials given using GILDA is available at

In the first fifteen months of operation the GILDA web site has received more than 600,000 hits from tens of different countries in the world. Detailed statistics, continuously updated, can be found at

More useful information about LCG middleware may be found here: