iRODS Overview


The Integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS) is open source data management software for storing, searching, organizing, and sharing files and datasets that are large, important, and complex. Thousands of businesses, research centers, and government agencies worldwide use iRODS for flexible, policy-based management of files and metadata that span storage devices and locations.

iRODS supports a wide range of data intensive applications around the globe:

  • Companies including Novartis, Bayer, and Dow use iRODS to administer data for commercial research and development.
  • It underpins the CyVerse Discovery Environment, which provides a cloud-based genomics workbench for over 20,000 users.
  • Federal agencies including NASA, NOAA, and NIH centers and institutes organize and share research data using iRODS.
  • The French National Library (BnF) counts on iRODS to preserve thousands of digitized works for future generations.

Additionally, iRODS has a growing user base in energy, media and entertainment, finance, and business services applications.

The iRODS Consortium

The product of nearly 20 years and $25M of grant-funded research, iRODS is now supported and maintained by the iRODS Consortium at RENCI. The iRODS Consortium brings together businesses, universities, research organizations, and government agencies to ensure the sustainability of iRODS by:

  • Guiding development of a commercial-grade distribution of the software;
  • Growing the user and developer communities; and
  • Facilitating iRODS support, education, and collaboration opportunities.

iRODS Consortium members receive priority access to iRODS support, training, and consulting, and they play an important role in directing iRODS technology and the governance of the Consortium. Learn more at

The iRODS Consortium maintains binary iRODS packages at Source code is available on Github. iRODS is released under a 3-clause BSD license.

Want to learn more about iRODS? Check out some of our presentations and whitepapers and our documentation to get started.

Who Uses iRODS?

iRODS is in use in thousands of locations worldwide.

Here is a listing of selected iRODS users:

Topic / Discipline / Industry Location / Organization
Archives Taiwan National Archive, Chronopolis
Astrophysics Auger supernova search
Atmospheric science NASA Langley Atmospheric Sciences Center
Biology Phylogenetics at CC IN2P3
Climate NOAA National Climatic Data Center
Cognitive Science Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center
Computer Science GENI experimental network
Cosmic Ray AMS experiment on the International Space Station
Dark Matter Physics Edelweiss II
Earth Science NASA Center for Climate Simulations
Ecology CEED Caveat Emptor Ecological Data
Engineering CIBER-U
High Energy Physics BaBar / Stanford Linear Accelerator
Hydrology UNC-CH Institute for the Environment, HydroShare
Institutional Repositories Carolina Digital Repository
Genomics Broad Institute, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, NGS
Libraries French National Library, Texas Digital Libraries
Medicine UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Neuroscience International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility
Neutrino Physics T2K and dChooz neutrino experiments
Oceanography Ocean Observatories Initiative
Optical Astronomy National Optical Astronomy Observatory
Particle Physics Indra multi-detector collaboration at IN2P3
Plant Genetics CyVerse (formerly the iPlant Collaborative)
Quantum Chromodynamics CC-IN2P3
Radio Astronomy Cyber Square Kilometer Array, TREND, BAOradio
Seismology Southern California Earthquake Center
Social Science Odum, TerraPop


A full paper on the Evolution of Data Grid Technology is available here (PDF).

In 1995, a team led by Reagan Moore of the San Diego Supercomputer Center kicked off a data management project known as the Storage Resource Broker (SRB). SRB was developed through the cooperative efforts of General Atomics, the Data Intensive Computing Environments (DICE) group, and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Storage Resource Broker demonstrated the promise of a logical distributed file system that presents users with a single global logical namespace.

The integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS), was created by the DICE group in 2006 to advance the concepts explored in SRB, but re-written from scratch, as open source software, around a highly-configurable Rule Engine. In 2008, the DICE group expanded, with some members located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). With the DICE group on campus, the Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) became progressively more involved in iRODS and formed a dedicated iRODS software engineering team to explore enterprise-grade iRODS technology development. In 2013, RENCI founded the iRODS Consortium, to further the mission and sustainability of iRODS technology.

Funded Projects that supported the development of iRODS Technology

HydroShare NSF 7/1/2012 – 6/30/2017
EarthCube Layered Architecture NSF 4/1/2012 – 3/31/2013
DFC Supplement for Extensible Hardware NSF 9/1/2011 – 8/31/2015
DFC Supplement for Interoperability NSF 9/1/2011 – 8/31/2015
DataNet Federation Consortium NSF 9/1/2011 – 8/31/2016
SDCI Data Improvement NSF 10/1/2010 – 9/30/2013
Subcontract: Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center NSF 1/1/2010 – 12/31/2010
National Climatic Data Center NOAA 10/1/2009 – 9/1/2010
NARA Transcontinental Persistent Archive Prototype NSF 9/15/2009 – 9/30/2010
Subcontract: Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center NSF 3/1/2009 – 12/31/2009
Transcontinental Persistent Archive Prototype NSF 9/15/2008 – 8/31/2013
Petascale Cyberfacility for Seismic Community NSF 4/1/2008 – 3/30/2010
Data Grids for Community Driven Applications NSF 10/1/2007 – 9/30/2010
Joint Virtual Network Centric Warfare DOD 11/1/2006 – 10/30/2007
Petascale Cyberfacility for Seismic Analysis NSF 10/1/2006 – 9/30/2009
LLNL Scientific Data Management LLNL 3/1/2005 – 12/31/2008
NARA Persistent Archives NSF 10/1/2004 – 6/30/2008
Constraint-based Knowledge Systems NSF 10/1/2004 – 9/30/2006
NDIIPP California Digital Library LC 2/1/2004 – 1/31/2007
NASA Information Power Grid NASA 10/1/2003 – 9/30/2004
National Science Digital Library NSF 10/1/2002 – 9/30/2006
NARA Persistent Archive NSF 6/1/2002 – 5/31/2005
SCEC Community Modeling NSF 10/1/2001 – 9/30/2006
Particle Physics Data Grid DOE 8/15/2001 – 8/14/2004
Grid Physics Network NSF 7/1/2000 – 6/30/2005
Digital Library Initiative UCSB NSF 9/1/1999 – 8/31/2004
Digital Library Initiative Stanford NSF 9/1/1999 – 8/31/2004
Persistent Archive NARA 9/1999 – 8/2000
Information Power Grid NASA 10/1/1998 – 9/30/1999
Terascale Visualization DOE 9/1/1998 – 8/31/2002
Persistent Archive NARA 9/1998 – 8/1999
NPACI Data Management NSF 10/1/1997 – 9/30/1999
DOE ASCI DOE 10/1/1997 – 9/30/1999
Distributed Object Computation Testbed DARPA/USPTO 8/1/1996 – 12/31/1999
Massive Data Analysis Systems DARPA 9/1/1995 – 8/31/1996