Globus Online is a fast, reliable file transfer service that simplifies the process of secure data movement for the research community. This free cloud-hosted service automates the activity of managing file transfers between supercomputing facilities, campus clusters, lab servers, and personal computers. Globus Online is a collaborative effort led by the Computation Institute, a joint initiative between the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
Steve Tuecke, Globus Online Project Lead and Deputy Director of the Computation Institute at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory, explains the team’s decision to use Amazon Web Services (AWS): “When we started this effort in 2009, best practices for how to build reliable, scalable Software-as-a-Service [SaaS] applications on AWS fit well with what we wanted to accomplish.” According to Tuecke, the following factors made AWS a better solution than other hosting providers:
The Globus Online system currently comprises several related but distinct components, which use Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3):
The vast majority of Globus Online is programmed in Python, running on Ubuntu Linux servers, with Cassandra and Postgres databases.
The team is currently using about 10 instances of varying sizes across multiple availability zones to host their production service. Tuecke notes, “We have tens of additional instances running at any given time for development and test environments.”
Since its launch in November 2010, Globus Online has moved over 1.5 petabytes of data and acquired over 2,600 registered users, numbers that are steadily growing. According to Tuecke, cost savings, man hours saved, and reduced time-to-market are all “sizable.”
As the team introduces new services, they plan to evaluate and consider adopting additional AWS products, including Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES), Amazon Route 53, and reserved instances of Amazon EC2.
The team has been pleased with AWS’s ability to provide a good mix of low-level control and flexibility. Tuecke says, “We have studied and tried other cloud providers, and their models have typically been too rigid to fit our needs. AWS has allowed us to tailor our approach to our particular needs, and to our team’s skills.”
To learn more, visit http://www.globusonline.org/ .
Added November 10, 2011