ELIXIR staff exchange between the German and Italian ELIXIR nodes


Hello, I’m Pietro Mandreoli, PhD student at the University of Milan (Italy) and one of the developers of the Laniakea platform for the deployment of on-demand Galaxy instances over Cloud infrastructures.

The ELIXIR Staff Exchange program gave me the precious opportunity to work in Freiburg for two months, with the amazing useGalaxy.eu team. In this period I worked hard to understand each component of the UseGalaxy.eu infrastructure, how they are configured but above all how it is maintained and kept up to date over time. My final aim is to reproduce the very same (or quite similar!) infrastructure in Italy, opening the path to an Italian National version of usegalaxy.

I have tested the deployment of a completely cloud hosted version of the Usegalaxy.eu infrastructure, consisting of only the Galaxy instance and its underlying HTcondor based infrastructure. This deployment procedure once finished, tested and documented, can be used by other groups as a starting point, a seed, for the development of other Usegalaxy.* services. This work allowed me to become familiar with the software used to operate and maintain Usegalaxy.eu e.g. Terraform, Ansible, Jenkins and it was interesting for the platform developers team to test once again part of their infrastructure deployment process.

During my stay, I also had the opportunity to improve Laniakea and contribute to the ELIXIR-IT community, deploying a dedicated CVMFS mirror of the GalaxyProject one hosting reference data at GARR cloud in Italy. In addition to the purely technical things I have mentioned so far, these two months were also a great experience from the cultural and social point of view. The group was lovely and welcomed me immediately, and we have spent a lot of time together outside, hiking in the forest and trying different restaurants. I particularly recommend Kantine West, great hamburgers :D. This experience also helped me to improve my proficiency with English, and to integrate better into the awesome Galaxy community. I would thank ELIXIR-Italy for giving me the opportunity to experience this, and the German Node for hosting me so kindly. It was a wonderful experience and I think it has definitely laid the foundations for future collaborations between the German and Italian Elixir nodes.

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