San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
25.54.1 - 25.54.7
A Grid of Online Laboratories Based on the iLab Shared Architecture AbstractActive learning or working by means of online laboratories is especially valuable for distanceworking or education. Users in the workplace can access remote laboratories without having totravel. This flexibility is important for teleworking, education and lifelong learning.The realization of online labs is expensive and partially associated with high administrative efforts.These are reasons, why sharing online lab resources via different universities worldwide is acurrent necessity. Therefore we started at our university together with partners all over the world aproject to establish a network of interconnected iLab Service Brokers in Europe and, in a secondstage, worldwide.The development of the iLab Grid is based on MIT’s iLab Shared Architecture (ISA). ISA is asoftware architecture that offers online laboratory developers and users a common framework forusing and sharing online laboratories. It facilitates managing laboratories and user accounts in ascalable manner. The services offered by ISA are used to provide access control, framing andmaintenance of user sessions for the laboratory.Overall, the iLab Shared Architecture divides an online laboratory into three distinct parts: the LabClient (LC), the Service Broker (SB) and the Lab Server (LS). This clear separation of functions isone of the main advantages of this architecture. Users access a lab via a Service Broker.The main idea of the iLab Grid is to connect more Service Brokers available at differentinstitutions across Europe in such a way that the users of one Service Broker automatically haveaccess to all the experiments available in the network.Three different topologies were examined in detail. The draft paper will briefly present theadvantages and disadvantages of these topologies. Key points are the reliability and easy scalabilityof the network.Reliability refers to when one of the connected Service Brokers is offline. How the overall networkreacts to this factor and, of course, how difficult it is for users to connect if one Service Broker isoffline.From the point of view of the implementation, scalability can be evaluated in the following way:what is the reaction of the entire system if new domains are added to the network and how difficultit is to add a new Service Broker to the Grid?The target topology does not have extra administrators and additional computers to connect theparticipating universities. The main idea is to implement the Grid Architecture and share resourceswithout knowing where the actual experiments are located. If one SB is offline, the rest of thenetwork should function normally. Of course, iLAB is easily scalable, allowing administrators toadd new SBs to the grid, which is a simple process as it does not require additional settings. Thefirst results in implementing the grid are very positive and will be described in detail in the draftversion.
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