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Installation of a gridFTP server

In the previous examples we showed how to ingest data into iRODS via the icommands. To transfer large data EUDAT offers the possibility to employ gridFTP to directly enter data into an iRODS zone. Here we show how to setup a gridFTP endpoint, in module 09 we explain how to connect this gridFTP endpoint with iRODS.


  • Ubuntu 14.04 srever
  • iRODS 4.1.X server


1. Update and upgrade if necessary

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

2. Set firewall

sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent
  • open ports 2811 and 50000-51000 in /etc/iptables/rules.v4
:OUTPUT ACCEPT [4538:480396]
-A INPUT -m state --state INVALID -j DROP
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp ! --tcp-flags FIN,SYN,RST,ACK SYN -m state --state NEW -j DROP
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --tcp-flags FIN,SYN,RST,PSH,ACK,URG NONE -j DROP
-A INPUT -p icmp -m limit --limit 5/sec -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 22 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 1248 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 1247 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 20000:20199 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 4443 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 443 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 5432 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 2811 -j ACCEPT
-A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --dport 50000:51000 -j ACCEPT
/etc/init.d/iptables-persistent restart

For Ubuntu 16.04 you can follow this guide to change your default iptables configuration.

To ensure the mapping from IP to hostname you might have to edit the /etc/hosts:

echo "your.ip.num.ber <yourhostname>" >> /etc/hosts

Installing the globus toolkit

  • Download the package
sudo dpkg -i globus-toolkit-repo_latest_all.deb
sudo apt-get update
  • Install globus-data-management-client, globus-gridftp, globus-gsi
sudo apt-get install globus-data-management-client globus-gridftp globus-gsi

Creating a certificate authority (CA) on the server

Installing the globus-gsi module will automatically create a simple ca on your server.


The unique subject name for this CA is:

cn=Globus Simple CA, ou=simpleCA-<hostname>, ou=GlobusTest, o=Grid

The certificates are automatically stored and linked in /etc/grid-security/

  • In case you want to setup your own CA follow the following steps.
sudo su -
cd /root/

Follow the prompt.

  • Create symlinks in /etc/grid-security:
cd /etc/grid-security
ln -s /var/lib/globus/simple_ca/grid-security.conf grid-security.conf
ln -s /var/lib/globus/simple_ca/globus-host-ssl.conf  globus-host-ssl.conf
ln -s /var/lib/globus/simple_ca/globus-user-ssl.conf  globus-user-ssl.conf
  • Request a host certificate and sign it:
grid-cert-request -host <fully.qualified.hostname> -force

Make sure <fully.qualified.hostname> matches the way how to call the server from outside to transfer data. If you use a different hostname, users will have to add the mapping from IP to the hostname in their /etc/hosts on their client machine.

Sign the certificate, check it and restart the gridFTP server

grid-ca-sign -in /etc/grid-security/hostcert_request.pem -out /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem
openssl x509 -in /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem -text -noout
/etc/init.d/globus-gridftp-server restart

Creating user certificates and editing the gridmap file

Users need to have an own user certificate in order to transfer data to the gridFTP endpoint. This is how you create and sign a user certificate.

  • As user on the server that runs gridFTP create a user certificate:

This will create the .globus folder in your home directory and create a request file, the user key and an empty user certificate.

A user with sudo rights needs to sign the request and create the user certificate:

sudo grid-ca-sign -in /<path to>/.globus/usercert_request.pem -out /<path to>/.globus/usercert.pem
  • In case the user has no own account on the gridFTP server, a sudo user can create user key and user certificate.

  • The the usercert.pem and the userkey.pem needs to placed in a folder /home/user/.globus/ on the machine from which the user wants to connect to the gridFTP server (in the of this repository you need to transfer these two files to the user interface machine).

  • Add the subject of the user to the gridmap file

grid-cert-info -subject
sudo grid-mapfile-add-entry -dn "/O=Grid/OU=GlobusTest/OU=simpleCA-irods4.alice/OU=Globus Simple CA/CN=alice" -ln alice

The flag -ln specifies a user on your unix system on the server runnning gridFTP. Since we will use gridFTP to communicate to iRODS the ln-flag needs to specify the iRODS username rather than a linux user, we will adjust that later. For testing purposes, however, we will first map the subject to a linux user and later change it to the iRODS user name.

Configuring the gridFTP endpoint

  • Open the /etc/gridftp.conf and add the control ports and some path for logging:
# globus-gridftp-server configuration file

# this is a comment

# option names beginning with '$' will be set as environment variables, e.g.

# port
port 2811
log_level ALL
log_single "/var/log/globus-gridftp-server.log"
log_transfer "/var/log/globus-gridftp-server-transfer.log"
  • Restart the gridFTP server
/etc/init.d/globus-gridftp-server restart

Testing the gridFTP endpoint on the server

  • If you have not done so install the grid certificates to the .globus directory of a unix user on the gridFTP server.
mkdir .globus
cd .globus
  • Make sure the certificates belong to the user (here alice)
sudo chown alice:alice *
  • Become the user and initialise a proxy

Try to list the /tmp directory via gridFTP and create and copy a file to that directory. The protocol to use is gsiftp and the server name needs to match the field CN in the host certificate.

globus-url-copy -dbg -list gsiftp://alice-server/tmp/
echo "kjsbdj" > /home/alice/test.txt
globus-url-copy file:/home/alice/test.txt gsiftp://alice-server/tmp/test.txt

Hostname, fully qualified name and grid certficates

In this example we used the hostname to address the gridFTP server. The way to address the gridFTP server is set in the server certificates. The default setup uses the hostname. No matter from where you want to address and access the gridFTP endpoint on this server, you will have to use the hostname. When you try to get access from a different server via the internet that poses a problem. Machines from which you want to get access need in their /etc/hosts file an entry that maps the fully qualified domain name or IP address of the gridFTP server to the hostname of the gridFTP server. For production it is advised to create new server certificates and replace the CN (Common name) with the fully qualified domain name of the server (Step Creating a certificate authority (CA) on the server).

Trouble shooting

  • When accessing the gridFTP server from outside, you might run into the problem that the server just listens on ipv6 interfaces. To change this, add the following line to the gridftp.conf:

It forces the server to listen to all ipv4 interfaces.

  • Server needs to be restarted with
sudo /etc/init.d/globus-gridftp-server restart

Do not use sudo service globus-gridftp-server restart

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