News / 26 February 2015

iRODS Development Update: February 2015

In this post, I will talk about our decision to accelerate the release of iRODS 4.1, and I will present part two of our three-part discussion of the new JSON-based configuration model for iRODS.

Notes from the Technology Working Group

During the February 9th TWG, the development team proposed a change in scope for the 4.1 release. We have pushed hundreds of bug fixes on our journey toward fixing all of the issues identified by Coverity, as well as other fixes identified by the community. To get these fixes out to the community sooner rather than later, we have made the hard decision to push some milestones to a later release.

The important things we are keeping for iRODS 4.1:

  • Coverity Clean – this is huge and one reason to accelerate the release
  • The new JSON configuration schemas, described below and last month
  • 2297, 2298 - The control plane for graceful pause and shutdown, and grid status
  • 2070 – key value pass-through from iCommands to resource plugins
  • 2064 – atomic put with metadata

We will push the following new architectural development to iRODS 4.2:

  • 2308 – create a server runtime library
  • 2307 – isolate the C API into the client library
  • 2290 – configurable parallel transfer
  • 2291 – shared memory for properties table

This way we can get the most stable version of iRODS out to the community as quickly as possible, while maintaining focus on key features requested by consortium members and the community.

JSON Server Configuration File

Last month we introduced the new JSON-based iRODS configuration files and discussed the client-side irods_environment.json file. Continuing our discussion of the new JSON configuration files, I will review the server configuration, which was our primary motivation for the move to JSON.

Given a markup language with structure, scoping, and name spacing, we have created a much richer system for describing iRODS, which has allowed us to consolidate all of the myriad configuration options--once spread out over several locations--into one single source of truth.  These configuration files are now managed in a single repository with subdirectories organized by version number, which allows the configuration model to grow and change as the project develops.  For iRODS 4.1, we will be releasing the server against v2 of the configuration schema, which will be packaged with the server itself.

Basic Configuration

The server_config.json file, found in /etc/irods for packaged binary installations, contains a considerable number of knobs and switches.  Starting with the basic configuration parameters, we have the following top level entries:

icat_host - The fully qualified domain name of the iCAT Enabled Server

zone_name -The name of the Zone in which the server participates

zone_user - The name of the rodsadmin user running this iRODS instance

zone_port - The port used by the Zone for communication

zone_auth_scheme - The authentication scheme used by thezone_user:native, PAM, OSAuth, KRB, or GSI

zone_id - The server ID used for authentication and identification of server-to-server communication -- this can be a string of any length, excluding the use of hyphens, for historical purposes

negotiation_key -a 32-byte encryption key shared by the zone for use in the advanced negotiation handshake at the beginning of an iRODS client connection

default_dir_mode - The unix filesystem octal mode for a newly created directory within a resource vault

default_file_mode - The unix filesystem octal mode for a newly created file within a resource vault

default_hash_scheme - The hash scheme used for file integrity checking: MD5 or SHA256

match_hash_policy - Indicates to iRODS whether to use the hash used by the client or the data at rest, or to force the use of the default hash scheme: strict or compatible

pam_password_length - Maximum length of a PAM password

pam_no_extend - Set PAM password lifetime: 8 hours or 2 weeks, either true or false

pam_password_min_time - Minimum allowed PAM password lifetime

pam_password_max_time - Maximum allowed PAM password lifetime

xmsg_port - Port on which the XMessage Server operates, should it be enabled

kerberos_name - Kerberos Distinguished Name for KRB and GSI authentication

control_plane_port - Port on which the control plane operates, with a default of 1248

control_plane_key - Encryption key required for communicating with the iRODS grid control plane

Rule Engine

Moving on to the new, structured portions of the JSON configuration, we have been able to create a more robust syntax for referencing the configuration files for the rule engine.  The following three sections are used to configure the rule engine:

re_rule_base_set - this is an array of file names comprising the list of rule files used by the rule engine, for example: { "filename": "core" } which references ''.  This array is ordered as the order of the rule files affects which (multiply) matching rule would fire first.

re_function_name_mapping_set - an array of file names comprising the list of function name map used by the rule engine, for example: { "filename": "core" } which references 'core.fnm'

re_data_variable_mapping_set - an array of file names comprising the list of data to variable mappings used by the rule engine, for example: { "filename": "core" } which references 'core.dvm'

Server Environment

We now have a section for setting environment variables for the server environment, which allows for the consolidation of the configuration environment:

environment_variables - This section is an array of strings of the form VARIABLE=VALUE such as "ORACLE_HOME=/full/path"


And finally, we have a section which defines the environment in which (multiple) federation operates:

federation - This section is an array of objects which define the parameters necessary for federating with another grid:
        zone_name -  The name of the zone with which we are federating
        zone_id - The server ID for the federated zone
        negotiation_key - A 32 byte encryption key used for connections across a federation

Database Configuration File

The database configuration has been broken out into its own file known as database_config.json, which is also found in /etc/irods for  packaged binary installations.  Currently it only contains three parameters:

catalog_database_type - The flavor of database: postgres, mysql, or oracle
db_username - The username which the iRODS agent uses to connect to the database
db_password - The password which the iRODS agent uses to connect to the database

Next Time...

In our next update, we will review the final two configuration files that have moved to JSON, irods_host.json and host_access_control.json, and perhaps touch on the new control plane capabilities.

Jason Coposky