Consortium plans to merge branches of iRODS data management platform

November 15, 2013

Dr. Reagan MooreThe Data Intensive Cyber Environments (DICE) Group at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill led by Dr. Reagan Moore, professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), and RENCI, (UNC-Chapel Hill’s Renaissance Computing Institute), have announced a plan to merge the two main branches of the iRODS (integrated Rule-Oriented Data System) data management platform into a single, sustainable and production-oriented product. 

iRODS is a popular, highly-configurable, open source technology used in multiple high-demand production sites globally for data management, sharing and integration. Two branches exist: iRODS 3.3, and E-iRODS 3.01, the latter being a binary distribution of iRODS developed by RENCI that provides the robustness and extensive testing usually associated with enterprise software. DICE and RENCI plan a March 2014 release that will merge iRODS and E-iRODS into a single iRODS 4.0 product. The new version will offer all the features of iRODS 3.3, as well as improvements and new features of the soon-to-be-released iRODS 3.3.1, in an enterprise-like binary distribution that includes pluggable microservices and composable resources.

Starting in February 2014, installations of iRODS will be supported by the iRODS Consortium under the direction of Wayne Schroeder, who heads DICE at UCSD.

“The iRODS Consortium promotes the long-term sustainability of the iRODS data grid software,” said Moore. “Prior development was funded through grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Archives and Records Administration. More than 25 science and engineering domains have applied the software to manage distributed data collections. Under the iRODS Consortium, development activities will be funded by consortium members. The software will remain available as an open source distribution. Project members using the iRODS software will discuss their applications at the 2013 iRODS Consortium at Supercomputing meeting on Nov. 20, 2013.”  

“This is big news for this community,” said Brand Fortner, director of the iRODS Consortium and a senior researcher at RENCI. The vision is to eventually have one code base that is extensively tested, easy to use, customizable to the needs of the user, and has the reliability of any open source commercial software “We have a roadmap for that transition, and the iRODS Consortium, DICE and RENCI are committed to supporting all iRODS users and all versions of iRODS as we make this transition.”

Details of the iRODS technology roadmap will be presented at a consortium reception Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Governor’s Square room at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, 1550 Court Place. The reception will also feature an overview of the iRODS framework, use cases presented by iRODS users and information about membership in the iRODS Consortium. The reception is open to all Super Computing (SC) attendees on a first-come, first-served basis and will include hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

The iRODS Consortium formed about a year ago with RENCI and members of Germany’s Max Planck Society as its founding members. The consortium works to bring together universities, research organizations, businesses and government agencies to guide the continued development of iRODS, obtain funding to support that development and broaden the iRODS user community. Its vision is to build iRODS into an open source data management system with the robustness, stability, documentation and development cycle of commercial software—a critical need for researchers and businesses as data sets grow larger and data sharing and access become more challenging.

Information about the merger will be available at the RENCI/North Carolina booth (#4305) on the SC13 show floor, and at an iRODS Consortium reception aimed at SC13 participants on Wednesday evening, Nov. 20.

For more information about the iRODS Consortium, see irods-consortium.org.