As an alternative to WebDAV, EDRN has deployed iRODS, a data transfer and archive system that is efficient at moving massive amounts of data using parallel TCP and UDP blast technologies.

To use iRODS, you'll need to install the iRODS client software on your system:

  • Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, Solaris, and other Unix users have a simple installer that creates "i-commands", simple command-line tools to log in, put and get data, and so forth.
  • Windows users have iRODS Explorer, a drag-and-drop user interface.
  • NOTE: The following iRODS extensions and features are NOT required
    • iRODS server
    • GSI (Grid Security Infrastructure) extensions
    • NCCS Auditing extensions

Configuring iRODS

To configure iRODS on your computer, you'll need to set up your iRODS account, and create an iRODS configuration file (if you're on Unix and similar) or set up your iRODS properties (if you're on Windows).

Getting Your iRODS Account

iRODS is not compatible with the standard EDRN authentication system (LDAP). Therefore, you'll need to request a separate iRODS account. (Your iRODS account's username can match your current EDRN username.)

To request an iRODS account, contact the EDRN Informatics Center.

The EDRN iRODS Configuration

To set up your iRODS Configuration, you'll need to create an iRODS configuration file. This file is located in $HOME/.irods/.irodsEnv, and is a plain text file with the following contents:

irodsUserName 'USERNAME'
irodsHost ''
irodsPort 1247
irodsDefResource 'cancerResc'
irodsHome '/cancer/home/USERNAME'
irodsCwd '/cancer/home/USERNAME'
irodsZone 'cancer'

Replace USERNAME with your iRODS username.

For Windows users, substitute the values shown above into the iRODS Explorer properties.

Using iRODS

Using the i-commands is simple. After making them available on your data path, you first log in by running:


You'll be prompted for your iRODS password.

Once logged in, you can type:


to see the files available in the EDRN iRODS server.

To send a new file into the EDRN iRODS server, type:


where FILENAME is the file you wish to send. iRODS will automatically adjust the number of parallel TCP streams to optimize the transfer, but you can control that manually as well. Type iput -h for help.

To view the progress of an upload, use the -P flag:


To send an entire directory recursively, type:


where DIRECTORY is the directory you wish to send.

If the file or directory you're sending is quite large and you're afraid the transfer might get interrupted, you can use a "restart file" which keeps track of the transfer and allows you to resume it later. Type:


where RESTARTFILE is the name of the restart status data file to create, and FILENAME is the file to send. You can then repeat the command with the same RESTARTFILE to resume the transfer later.

To retrieve a file, use iget. Type iget -h for more help.

Other i-commands include:

  • icd, to change the current working iRODS directory on the server
  • ichksum, to verify file checksums
  • iexit, to log out of iRODS
  • ihelp, for help with the i-commands
  • imkdir, to create a directory in the iRODS server
  • ipwd, to print the current working directory on the server
  • irm, to remove files or directories on the server
  • irmtrash, to empty the trash on the server

See the i-commands list for more information.

Windows users: use drag-and-drop.