B. Allen, J. Bresnahan, L. Childers, I. Foster, G. Kandaswamy, R. Kettimuthu, J. Kordas, M. Link, S. Martin, K. Pickett, and S. Tuecke, "Globus Online: Radical Simplification of Data Movement via SasS," Preprint ANL/MCS-P1905-0611, June 2011. [pdf]
We propose that research data management capabilities be delivered to users as hosted "software as a service" (SaaS). We report on a system, Globus Online, that adopts this approach, initially for a small set of data movement functions. Globus Online leverages modern Web 2.0 technologies to provide fire-and-forget file transfers, automatic fault recovery, and high performance, while also simplifying security configuration and requiring no client software installation. SaaS means that new features are rapidly available, and provides for consolidated support and troubleshooting. We describe Globus Online's design and implementation. We also describe a novel approach for providing a command line interface to SaaS without distributing client software, and Globus Connect, which simplifies installation of a GridFTP server for use with Globus Online. Experiments show low overhead for small transfers and high performance for large transfers, relative to conventional tools, and demonstrate scalability to many concurrent requests and files.