News / 08 June 2021

Minnesota Supercomputing Institute joins the iRODS Consortium

University of Minnesota institute aims to use iRODS to support HIPAA compliance

The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) of the University of Minnesota has become the newest member of the iRODS Consortium, the membership-based foundation that leads development and support of the integrated Rule-Oriented Data System (iRODS).

MSI provides state-of-the art compute and storage solutions to accelerate scientific inquiry at the University of Minnesota and beyond. Its high-performance computing resources, specialized hardware, visualization tools, and dedicated consultants support data intensive research in any area of science, engineering, and the humanities.

"Our users have large data sets so we are always interested in new ways to help users manage their data," said Edward Munsell, system administrator at MSI. "After we started testing iRODS, we quickly saw how it could help us with our compliance concerns around our new HIPAA cluster. We will be using iRODS to help log user activity on files, ensure files are only accessed according to our policies, and to automate processing of data off of instruments."

Looking ahead, the team plans to expand its use of iRODS to help users manage and share their data in MSI’s second tiered storage system. Munsell noted that the open source nature of iRODS makes it possible to customize the system for MSI’s specific needs by building in additional logging and permissions handling. In addition, the team plans to take advantage of iRODS’ capability to automatically extract and tag objects with metadata, helping MSI move closer to completely automating some user workflows.

The iRODS Consortium is a membership-based organization that guides development and support of iRODS as free open source software for data discovery, workflow automation, secure collaboration, and data virtualization. The iRODS Consortium provides a production-ready iRODS distribution and iRODS professional integration services, training, and support. The consortium is administered by founding member RENCI, a research institute for applications of cyberinfrastructure located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.

"We are excited to welcome the University of Minnesota to the iRODS community," said Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium. "The variety and complexity of their use cases requires a solution with significant flexibility, and we believe iRODS will be able to meet their current and future needs. UMN will be a valuable member of the community, and we look forward to a long relationship."

"We decided to become a community member because we see the value that iRODS has and we want to help support the software," said Munsell. "I have worked with many from the team while we were evaluating iRODS, and have been impressed with their responsiveness, knowledge, and willingness to help."

In addition to UMN, current iRODS Consortium members include Agriculture Victoria, Bayer, Bibiothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, CINES, Cloudian, DataDirect Networks, KU Leuven, Maastricht University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NetApp, OpenIO, RENCI, SoftIron, the SURF cooperative, SUSE, the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing, Texas Advanced Computing Center, University College London, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Western Digital, and four organizations that wish to remain anonymous.

To learn more about iRODS and the iRODS Consortium, please visit

To learn more about the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, please visit

Anne Johnson