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VO software installation and maintenance

Basic Requirements

While many individual grid users supply the necessary executables, libraries and application files during job submission, specialized VOs have teams that use a common set of applications. For consistency reasos (everyone runs the same code) and practical reasons, as sometimes the applications can have large size, grid sites support a special shared storage area for each supported VO where they can install software which should be available to all their members in a grid site. The benefits of this include reduced usage of network/storage resources, as the software needs to be deployed only once, instead for each job individually (and with some sites supporting thousands of jobs this could be a serious problem) as well as reduced wasted time.

Depending on distribution being used, software can be installed via RPM packages, .tgz packages, .debs, or directly from source code compilation either manually or via an automatic system. However most of these methods are designed towards installing system wide available software in the OS file system which means they require increased, typically root, privileges. The simplest method to overcome this is to install the software from a compressed file (typically a .tar.gz file) to the shared VO software area.

Grid middleware integration

As far as glite middleware is concerned, a VO software installation task is no different than any other grid job. They payload is executed by a special pool account designed as software manager. The glite middleware also supplied the lcg-tags command, which allows the VO software manager to add to the sites information system special tags which indicate the presence of a certain software. Grid users can then adjust their jobs to match only sites containing specific VO software required.

Available options

Installing a software across grid sites can be a very challenging task, especially if this software evolves during time, with newer version coming out, old ones becoming obsolete, while there may be a requirement for multiple versions to be installed at the same time. Large VOs like the LHC VOs have pioneered in this area, due to the nature of their work and being the first ones to use the grid. Various methods have been developed to perform grid scale software installations. The Atlas VO in particular has developed a very attractive tool, called LJSFI (Light Job Submission Framework for Installation), which recently has been expanded to support VOs other than atlas.


General information

The LJSFI is described as "VO-independent framework for job tracking and task management in LCG/EGEE. The framework is a thin layer over the Grid middleware, built partially of shell scripts, to wrap the Grid commands, and python scripts to interface to the database. More information can be found here


The LJSFI software consists of a server and a client part. The server part is consisted a database and web interface. The web interface is being used to define and request tasks such as installation, removal, patching, or anything that a software manager can deem necessary. It is also used to define software releases that are to be installed and their target machine architecture as well as groups of sites where operations such as installation/removal are to take place.

The client part contains a number of scripts that queries the database about pending requests, launches the actual software installation job against the sites using a set of scripts and jdl templates supplied by the software manager in a special directory. It also updates the database with the status of the tasks requested.

Some more information can be found here:


During the tests of the NA4 VO support group, installation was performed with the instructions available at Two systems running Scientific Linux 4.6 64 bit have been used, one acting as the server and the other as client.


The server requires a host certificate. A normal Scientific Linux installation, with apache, php, mod_ssl, php-ldap is sufficient.

When the above are available installation can proceed according to the instrutions at


For the client a Scientic Linux 4 User Interface with host certificate is sufficient. Step by step instructions are available at


-- DimitrisZilaskos - 15-Jan-2010

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Topic revision: r1 - 2010-01-15 - DimitrisZilaskos
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