Using the Grid

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A Quick Start Howto for GlueX Members

Richard Jones, University of Connecticut

The GlueX collaboration is registered as a Virtual Organization (VO) within the Open Science Grid (OSG). One requirement for all VO's is that someone within the collaboration be the primary point of support for the members of the VO, and provide both documentation and assistance in problem-solving for users of grid resources and tools within the collaboration. I am that point of support for GlueX members, for the period leading up to the start of physics data taking. In return for the support I provide to Gluex VO users, I have direct access to experts within the OSG central support to help with issues that are beyond my control or expertise. This document is only the starting point for my support to GlueX members. Feedback on the accuracy, organization, and general usefulness of this page will be appreciated.

Who should read this document?

This document was written for those directly involved in the production of large-scale physics simulation data sets, and the end-users who want easy access to these data for carrying out physics analyses. In the past this has primarily been graduate students. Blake Leverington has written a detailed beginner's guide based on his experience, and Jake Bennett has provided a separate instructions page addressing issues he encountered that were not covered by Blake. Those pages will be useful to those who find this document assumes too much background knowledge, or uses too much grid jargon. If you just want to get started with a minimum of verbage, and don't need every term defined and concept explained, this is the place to start.


Before you can start to use the grid, you need to install two objects in your login environment: your personal grid certificate, and the OSG Client Software bundle. If you have never had a grid certificate, go to this separate page for instructions on how to obtain one and have it registered with the Gluex VO. The certificate itself is public, but the private key that comes with it should be carefully guarded and protected with a secure password. When they are bundled together in a single file encrypted with a password, it is called a 'PKCS12' file (file extension .p12, or sometimes .pfx on Windows). Import this file into your favorite browser(s) so that you can use it to authenticate yourself to secure web services when needed, and into your email client so you can use it to attach your own digital signature to email messages when requested. However, the most important use of your certificate will be when you use it to generate a proxy. For that to work, save a copy of the .p12 file in ~/.globus/usercred.p12 in your home directory on your linux/Mac work machine.

A proxy is an authorization from a grid security hub that identifies you as a valid member of the Gluex VO and authorizes you for access to grid resources. You can do nothing on the grid without your proxy. The proxy resides within your unix (or Mac OS/X) shell environment, and gets picked up by grid tools and passed around the network together with your service requests. Generate your proxy with a command like the following.

$ voms-proxy-init -voms Gluex:/Gluex -valid 24:0

The VOMS is the VO Membership Service, a grid service residing at UConn that is specific to the Gluex VO. Note that Gluex (lowercase x) is an OSG entity, whereas GlueX is the scientific collaboration that owns it. The string Gluex:/Gluex means that the VO is Gluex: and within Gluex you are asking only for basic rights as a member by writing /Gluex instead of something longer like /Gluex/production or /Gluex/software/role=admin. The string 24:0 means that the proxy will be good for 24 hours and 0 minutes, starting from when it is approved.