Open Source Data Management for All

On today’s episode of “The Interview” with The Next Platform, we talk about an open source data management platform (and related standards group) called iRODS, which many in scientific computing already know—but that also has applicability in enterprise.

We found that several of our readers had heard of iRODS and knew it was associated with a scientific computing base, but few understood what the technology was and were not aware that there was a consortium. To dispel any confusion, we spoke with Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium about both the technology itself and the group’s role in making data management and storage easier.

Efforts under the consortium’s umbrella include bringing together businesses, research organizations, universities, and government agencies to ensure the sustainability of iRODS by guiding further development of the software, growing the user and developer communities, and facilitating iRODS support, education, and collaboration opportunities. The iRODS Consortium maintains and supports a commercial-grade distribution of iRODS, a technology we discuss in detail for both scientific and industry use cases (podcast player below).

We talk with Coposky about the history of the organization, which is largely based at the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and how the technology standards for data management they shepherd have evolved over time. We also discuss examples of workflows that integrate iRODS (life sciences, for example) to put the technology and consortium involvement in context and understand how the same problems were solved before iRODS.

We also talk about who owns the problems that iRODS tries to solve–from the people who keep the lights on at the datacenter to the typical application user and walk through the four main areas where iRODS technology works for users, including data virtualization, data discovery, workflow automation, and secure collaboration.

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