Introduction to iRODS

The integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS) is an open source data management software middleware that manages a highly controlled collection of distributed digital objects (various data), while enforcing user/institution-defined Management Policies across multiple storage locations.

It enables users to access, manage and share data across different storage systems as well as exercising precise control over their data with rules while maintaining security and user friendly approaches.

iRODS gives users four core competencies:

  • Virtualization

    It provides a logical representation of files stored in distributed physical storage locations. Regardless of differences of storage assets, the virtualization of iRODS present a unified namespace with the classical files and folders format.

  • Data Discovery

    This is ensured through the use of descriptive, user-defined metadata in addition to traditional system metadata, such as filename, file size and creation date.

  • Workflow Automation

    iRODS servers can execute event-triggered background process (rules) to execute defined actions when a particular system activity happens. iRODS event triggers are called Policy Enforcement Points (PEPs). The combination of PEPs and rules allows administrators and users to create powerful, customized workflows for automating procedures that help to save time and prevent human error.

  • Secure Collaboration

    iRODS provides facilities to share data between users and user groups in a secure way. iRODS has a permissions model similar to Unix file system permissions. Other facilities offered are ‘Tickets’ and ‘Federation’, but these are not actively used on the Tier-1 Data Platform.


Other features that make iRODS a unique data management platform can be found on the next pages.