March 15, 2018 — SURF, a cooperative of research and educational institutions that supports researchers throughout the Netherlands, has joined the iRODS Consortium and plans to use iRODS to support Dutch scientists and their research data management needs.
SURF joins Bayer, Dell/EMC, DDN, HGST, IBM, Intel, MSC, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, OCF, RENCI, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing, University College London, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute as iRODS Consortium members. The consortium leads efforts to develop, support, and sustain the integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS) as an open source data management platform.
As a cooperative of research and educational institution that supports researchers throughout the Netherlands with large-scale storage facilities, SURF needs innovative and comprehensive data management tools. Those needs include access to distributed storage facilities, tools to support effective and efficient data management, and data provenance that complies with national and international regulatory requirements. To support its clients’ needs, SURF began using iRODS about two years ago. Now, it is creating a national Research Data Management (RDM) expertise center that will incorporate iRODS into nationwide services for researchers. The center, with help from the iRODS Consortium, plans to build knowledge on the use of iRODS among members of the SURF cooperative, a collaborative information and communication technology (ITC) organization for education and research in the Netherlands.
According to Mark Cole, head of business development and product management at SURF, the new RDM will use iRODS as the backbone of its data management infrastructure. iRODS will make it possible for researchers to find and share data across multiple sites without the cost, time, compatibility issues, or security risks that come with transferring large datasets. iRODS will also enable data provenance, a historical record of the data and its origins, that implements privacy by design.
“We view iRODS as an RDM tool that has the potential to support researchers throughout the entire research cycle,” said Saskia van Eeuwijk, project manager at SURF. “The iRODS technology is for that reason positioned by us in the center of RDM solutions for researchers. We are very enthusiastic on iRODS as a platform and we want to contribute to the further development of this platform for the coming years.”
As consortium members, SURF will play a role in guiding the future development of iRODS, growing the user and developer community, and facilitating iRODS support, education, and collaboration opportunities. They will also have the opportunity to participate in the annual iRODS User Group meeting, which this year will take place June 5 – 7 in Durham, NC, USA.
“Having SURF as an iRODS Consortium member gives us the chance to make a real impact on how research is done in the Netherlands,” said iRODS Consortium Executive Director Jason Coposky. “Large, multi-institutional research support organizations need practical solutions to their data challenges, while adhering to data security and provenance requirements. We think we can meet those needs for SURF and look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”
For more on iRODS and the iRODS Consortium, visit the iRODS website.