The iRODs consortium has announced the release of iRODS 4.0, a sustainable and production-oriented version of the iRODS (integrated Rule-Oriented Data System) data management platform.
In a previous article by Reagan W Moore, director of the Data Intensive Cyber Environments Center (DICE Center) he explained that policy-based data-management systems could be the future of data management. ‘They represent perhaps the latest stage in the evolution of data-management systems from file-based systems, to information-based systems, and now to knowledge-based systems.’
iRODS represents the latest iteration of this technology, a highly configurable, open source technology used in high-demand production sites for data management, sharing and integration.
For the past sixteen years the Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) group at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have been developing data-management systems called data grids. This is software that makes it helps users to organise distributed data into sharable collections, while enforcing access controls. The original system, the Storage Resource Broker (SRB), focused on ensuring consistency across all operations performed in a distributed environment. Implemented as middleware, the SRB was installed at each location where data would be stored.
Despite SRB’s success in managing both data and information, users requested the ability to modify consistency constraints, and implement multiple types of data-management policies. This led to the development of the iRODS system; developed over seven years the iRODS system has replaced the SRB.
‘Through policy-based data management systems, it will be possible to implement feature-based indexing of data collections. Discovery of data can be driven by the presence of desired features within the data set, instead of descriptive metadata,’ explained Moore.
Key features of the new iRODS release include:
· A plugin architecture, which enables easy customisation of iRODS installations without recompiling the core code.
· A binary distribution, allowing users to click and use iRODS, eliminating the need to compile the installation.
· Resource composition, which allows users to create a hierarchy of iRODS resources.
The 4.0 release merges what was previously known as the iRODS community version with the version of iRODS developed at RENCI, called E-iRODS. The consortium will assist users of all previous versions of iRODS in their transition to iRODS 4.0.
RENCI created the iRODS consortium to work with universities, research organisations, businesses, and government agencies to guide the continued development of iRODS, obtain funding to support that development, and broaden the iRODS user community. Current consortium members include RENCI, the Max Planck Society, DataDirect Networks, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, EMC, and the DICE research group.