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Installing and Maintaining a GridFTP Server

About This Guide

This page explains how to install the stand-alone Globus GridFTP server.

The GridFTP package contains components necessary to set up a stand-alone gsiftp server and tools used to monitor and report its performance. A stand-alone GridFTP server might be used under the following circumstances:

  • You are serving VOs that use storage heavily (CMS, ATLAS, CDF, and D0) and your site has more than 250 cores
  • Your site will be managing more than 50 TB of disk space
  • A simple front-end to a filesystem allowing access over WAN - for example NFS.


This document is for a standalone GridFTP server on top of POSIX storage. We have two specialized documents for Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) and XRootD based storage:

Before Starting

Before starting the installation process you will need to fulfill these prerequisites.

  • Ensure the host has a supported operating system
  • Obtain root access to the host
  • Prepare the required Yum repositories
  • Install CA certificates
  • Service certificate: The GridFTP service uses a host certificate at /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem and an accompanying key at /etc/grid-security/hostkey.pem
  • Network ports: GridFTP listens on TCP port 2811 and the list of ports configured by the GLOBUS_TCP_SOURCE_RANGE environment variable.

Installing GridFTP

First, you will need to install the GridFTP meta-package:

[email protected] # yum install osg-gridftp

Configuring GridFTP

Configuring authentication

To configure which virtual organizations and users are allowed to use your GridFTP server, follow the instructions in the LCMAPS VOMS plugin document.

Enabling Gratia GridFTP transfer probe

The Gratia GridFTP probe collects the information about the Gridftp transfers and forwards it to central Gratia collector. You need to enable the probe first. To do this, edit /etc/gratia/gridftp-transfer/ProbeConfig to set:


All other configuration settings should be suitable for most purposes. However, you can edit them if needed. The probe runs every 30 minutes as a cron job.

Optional configuration

Setting transfer limits for GridFTP-HDFS

To set a limit on the total or per-user number of transfers, create /etc/sysconfig/gridftp-hdfs and set the following configuration:


In the above configuration:

  • There would be no more than 80 transfers going at a time, across all users.
  • By default, any single user can have no more than 50 transfers at a time.
  • The <UNIX USERNAME> user has a more stringent limit of 40 transfers at a time.


This limits are per gridftp server. If you have several gridftp servers you may want to have this limits divided by the number of gridftp servers at your site.

Modifying the environment

Environment variables are stored in /etc/sysconfig/globus-gridftp-server which is sourced on service startup. If you want to change LCMAPS log levels, or GridFTP port ranges, you can edit them there.

#Uncomment and modify for firewalls
#export GLOBUS_TCP_PORT_RANGE=min,max

Note that the variables GLOBUS_TCP_PORT_RANGE and GLOBUS_TCP_SOURCE_RANGE can be set here to allow GridFTP to navigate around firewall rules (these affect the inbound and outbound ports, respectively).

To troubleshoot LCMAPS authorization, you can add the following to /etc/sysconfig/globus-gridftp-server and choose a higher debug level:

# level 0: no messages, 1: errors, 2: also warnings, 3: also notices,
#  4: also info, 5: maximum debug

Output goes to /var/log/messages by default. Do not set logging to 5 on any production systems as that may cause systems to slow down significantly or become unresponsive.

Configuring a multi-homed server

The GridFTP uses control connections, data connections and IPC connections. By default it listens in all interfaces but this can be changed by editing the configuration file /etc/gridftp.conf.

To use a single interface you can set hostname to the Hostname or IP address to use:

hostname IP-TO-USE

You can also set separately the control_interface, data_interface and ipc_interface. On systems that have multiple network interfaces, you may want to associate data transfers with the fastest possible NIC available. This can be done in the GridFTP server by setting data_interface:

control_interface IP-TO-USE
data_interface IP-TO-USE
ipc_interface IP-TO-USE

For more options available for the GridFTP server, read the comments in the configuration file (/etc/gridftp.conf) or see the GridFTP manual.

Managing GridFTP

In addition to the GridFTP service itself, there are a number of supporting services in your installation. The specific services are:

Software Service name Notes
Fetch CRL fetch-crl-boot and fetch-crl-cron See CA documentation for more info
Gratia gratia-probes-cron Accounting software
GridFTP globus-gridftp-server

Validating GridFTP

The GridFTP service can be validated by using globus-url-copy. You will need to run grid-proxy-init or voms-proxy-init in order to get a valid user proxy in order to communicate with the GridFTP server.

[email protected] # globus-url-copy file:///tmp/zero.source gsiftp://yourhost.yourdomain/tmp/zero
[email protected] # echo $?

Run the validation as an unprivileged user; when invoked as root, globus-url-copy will attempt to use the host certificate instead of your user certificate, with confusing results.

Getting Help

For assistance, please use this page.


Configuration and Log Files

Service/Process Configuration File Description
GridFTP /etc/sysconfig/globus-gridftp-server Environment variables for GridFTP and LCMAPS
/usr/share/osg/sysconfig/globus-gridftp-server-plugin Where environment variables for GridFTP plugin are included
Gratia Probe /etc/gratia/gridftp-transfer/ProbeConfig GridFTP Gratia Probe configuration
Gratia Probe /etc/cron.d/gratia-probe-gridftp-transfer.cron Cron tab file
Service/Process Log File Description
GridFTP /var/log/gridftp.log GridFTP transfer log
/var/log/gridftp-auth.log GridFTP authorization log
Gratia probe /var/logs/gratia


Certificate User that owns certificate Path to certificate
Host certificate root /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem and /etc/grid-security/hostkey.pem

Instructions to request a service certificate.

You will also need a copy of CA certificates.


For this package to function correctly, you will have to create the users needed for grid operation. Any Unix username that can be mapped by LCMAPS VOMS should be created on the GridFTP host.

For example, VOs newly-added to the LCMAPS VOMS configuration will not be able to transfer files until the corresponding Unix user account is created.


Service Name Protocol Port Number Inbound Outbound Comment
GridFTP data channels tcp GLOBUS_TCP_PORT_RANGE X contiguous range of ports is necessary.
GridFTP data channels tcp GLOBUS_TCP_SOURCE_RANGE X contiguous range of ports is necessary.
GridFTP control channel tcp 2811 X