Globus Online is a free file-transfer service, designed specifically with the research community in mind, to simplify and speed up the process of secure data movement. Popular with both high performance computing centers and individual researchers, Globus Online currently has over 6,000 registered users who have transferred over 500 million files, close to 7 petabytes of data, since the service was launched almost two years ago.
The service is a joint initiative of the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory. It is popular with leading research institutes, such as the STAR Experiment at Brookhaven National Lab, the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, and the Semel Institute at UCLA.
The newly launched European site is the the result of an ongoing collaboration with the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI) and Initiative for Globus in Europe (IGE), which seeks to better address the specific requirements of EU-based researchers. The service allows researchers to move data directly between source and destination systems without the need for the data to pass through an intermediate server. "European data stays in Europe, just as US data stays in the US", says Helmut Heller, project director of IGE. The benefit of this approach is that the transfer is secure, since Globus Online acts only as a control mechanism and does not view the content of the files being transferred. Servers in the US do, however, monitor the transfers, allowing automatic recovery from common network or server failures, as well as optimizing the endpoints so that transfers are completed as quickly and efficiently as possible. "We do make it clear that we store some basic information about these transfers on our servers in the US, but ask for the researchers' consent first," explains Steve Tuecke, co-principal investigator for Globus Online.
Globus Online evolved from the Globus Toolkit, an open-source suite of applications for building computing grids. The Globus Toolkit is widely used around the world and IGE is working to increase its use in Europe and to improve its interoperability with other high-performance computing software used by sites in EGI. "I'm delighted that IGE have chosen to launch this new service during our Technical Forum" says EGI director Steven Newhouse. "Our partnership with IGE and Globus Online is important for the future of the infrastructure and helps us support a wider range of researcher," he adds.
"With the ongoing support of IGE and EGI, we plan to use the file transfer service as a foundation to deliver additional data management capabilities, currently under development, to EU researchers," says Tuecke. "Our goal is to work more closely with the European community in order to understand their needs and demonstrate the value a hosted service delivers to their research workflows."
Read more in our interview with Globus Online co-PI Steve Tuecke.