June 10, 2011 | Vas Vasiliadis

.. is that they now come with enormous disks. So we are seeing research workers storing everything from patient X-rays to car proving-ground videos on their Windows-7 machines with terabyte disks.

Eventually they figure that they need to share that data with others. The iRODS-based ARCS Data Fabric has been set up so that they can do this. Uploading to that resource can most easily be accomplished using its browser- based interface. It is unfortunate that many browsers are unable to support the uploading of files whose size exceeds two gigabytes. There are also some efficiency and reliability issues. A GridFTP interface known as Griffin has therefore been developed, and this is able to support high-speed transfers of very large files. But our Windows-7 laptop users still have a couple of problems. There are not many easily-used Windows GridFTP clients. And if users lose connectivity while transferring a large set of files, they need to re-initiate transfer of the entire set. The recent release of Globus Connect has made things a whole lot easier for such users. Following the instructions on the ARCS site, they are able to perform the simple client installation procedure, then generate a proxy certificate and manage their file transfer operations using a simple browser interface. We are expecting both an increased level of usage for the ARCS Data Fabric in the next few months, together with a reduction in the number of Help Desk calls!