GridFTP-Lite Advantages

Here are the key advantages of GridFTP-Lite:

  • Performance:

    Typically GridFTP-Lite provides order of magnitude performance improvements compared to standard FTP. GridFTP-Lite achieves good performance by using parallel streams to minimize bottlenecks inherent in TCP/IP and non-TCP protocols such as UDT.
  • Cluster-to-cluster data movement:

    GridFTP-Lite can do coordinated data transfer by using multiple computer nodes at the source and destination. This approach can increase performance by another order of magnitude.
  • Security:

    The control channel is authenticated and encrypted using SSH and a shared secret is passed down this encrypted channel to authenticate, integrity-protect or encrypt the data channel.
  • Partial File Transfer:

    In many cases in the scientific community it is expedient to download only portions of a large file, instead of the entire file. GridFTP-Lite supports this capability by specifying the byte position in the file to begin the transfer.
  • Third Party Control and Reliable/Restartable Data Transfer:

    In many cases, reliability is more important than speed. In fact, the desire for speed is born out of the user needing to baby-sit the transfer, not some intrinsic application need. To enable reliability, GridFTP-Lite server automatically sends restart markers (checkpoints) to the client. If the transfer has a fault, the client may restart the transfer and provide the markers received. The server will restart the transfer, picking up where it left off based on the markers. Additionally clients are able to act as a third-party to initiate transfers between remote sites.
  • Modular and Extensible:

    • Interaction with Storage Systems:
      The Data Storage Interface (DSI) completely abstracts away the underlying storage. If the user can implement the DSI for a storage system, then a GridFTP-Lite server can be put in front of the storage system. We currently have DSIs for POSIX filesystems, HPSS and the Storage Resource Broker (SRB).
    • Interaction with the Network:
      The eXtensible IO (XIO) system utilizes a read, write, open, close abstraction that GridFTP-Lite is able to leverage in order to be transport-protocol-agnostic. Hence, in environments where it makes sense, protocols much more aggressive than TCP can be utilized. To meet more specific extensibility needs, we also provide easy-to-use development libraries. Currently there is an XIO driver for UDT and GridFTP-Lite can use UDT as an alternate transport mechanism for TCP.