Updated SaaS Offering Lets Users Add Personal Machines to the Cloud; Supplies Transfer API for Developers

Newswise — (Chicago, IL) April 26, 2011 — The Computation Institute at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory announced this week a set of new features available in the latest version of Globus Online, the free SaaS-based service for fast, reliable file transfer.

Among the new features is the production version of “Globus Connect,” which allows users to add local machines as endpoints in the Globus Online Cloud. With Globus Connect, users can transfer files to and from their personal computers or local servers, without requiring administrative privileges or dealing with the details of installing Globus or GridFTP. The system requires only outbound connections, so it works behind most firewalls and NATs.

“The standard transfer speed using scp for my work was around 0.25 megabits per second(Mb/s),” reported Luke Van Roekel, a Post-Doctoral Research Associate and Globus Online user from the University of Colorado. “It would have taken days to download just 1 slice of data to my desktop – I didn’t even bother trying. With Globus Online, I’m averaging 40 Mb/s and can even reach 400 Mb/s on occasion – that’s insanely fast!”

Dr. Van Roekel added, “One of the biggest benefits is the auto performance tuning. Choosing the right parameters for large transfers using other standard tools can be very complex, so Globus Online is an invaluable tool to me since it automates that process.”

Globus Online is a secure, reliable file transfer service that makes it easy for researchers and others to move massive files without the need for complex infrastructure or system configuration. The service automates the data movement process and re-tried failed transfers, saving users hours or even days of valuable time.

At the University of Chicago’s Sequencing Center, Globus Online is being implemented as a solution to deliver DNA sequencing results to customers. “Scientists shouldn’t have to spend time managing file transfer – we wanted to make the system much easier for them,” said Neil Bahroos, Associate Director at the Initiative in Biomedical Informatics. “Now, with Globus Online, the process will be trivial and our scientists and they will be able to move data to the right location with just a few clicks. File size will no longer be a barrier to productivity.”

In November 2010, NERSC (the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) became one of the first major research organizations to announce its selection of Globus Online as a recommended method of file transfer for its thousands of users.

“It just makes sense to enable Globus Online for our users,” said David Skinner, software group leader at NERSC. “Our scientists are familiar with tools like scp and GridFTP, but with Globus Online we can offer a much simpler and faster method for moving data. Globus Online actually makes web-based data syncing an easy, nearly trivial process, so you don’t have to be an IT or middleware expert to move your files.”

The latest release also introduces significant improvements to the way users create and manage accounts, in keeping with the Globus Online mission of making it easy for researchers to use HPC resources. Users can now create a Globus Online account and easily associate multiple identities with it – including Google accounts and other OpenIDs – which greatly simplifies file transfer among systems that use different security schemes.

This approach, known as federated identity management, is emerging as a key requirement for users of distributed computing facilities and represents another example of how Globus Online brings grid and cloud computing together for an enhanced user experience. Future releases will support an even wider range of authentication infrastructures and identity providers, including Shibboleth, OAuth and InCommon.

Another new Globus Online feature is the Transfer REST API for developers, which provides a “RESTful” interface to Globus Online for developers who need to deliver solutions to a community of users. The Transfer REST API makes it possible to integrate reliable data movement into users’ HPC workflows, such as integrating with Java clients or Web–based portals, with no requirement for specialized software. This feature ensures optimal usage of available computing resources; for example, users who only have a compute resource available to them for a specific time window can minimize the downtime spent getting data to the right machine.

To sign up for the Globus Online service, visit www.globusonline.org/signup. For more information on Globus Online visit www.globusonline.org/whygo.

About Globus OnlineGlobus Online is a fast, reliable file transfer service recommended by high-performance computing centers and research communities worldwide. Globus Online is a collaborative effort led by a team housed at the Computation Institute (CI), a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. Contributors span the globe, and include the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Initiative for Globus in Europe, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. To learn more or use the service, visit http://www.globusonline.org/.