JAVA based portable GRID storage access tools installation (no root access required)

This page describes the procedure to set up the tools for working directly on the srm storage. You may want to consider using the staging and download services provided by Astron if you just want to retrieve data from the archive:

For the impatient: skip text and jump to the installation walk-through. (Assumes you have a grid certificate available and have been placed in the VOMS /lofar/user group.)

For further reading and a non-portable installation you might be interested in SRM software installation.

Installation of grid middleware used to be quite challenging although their is now often reasonable support via linux installation packages (see e.g. the page on SRM software installation. It is however possible to deploy the required client tools without the need for root access and reasonably independent of the OS, The setup below has been tested on Kubuntu 12.10 and Mac OS X 10.6.8. Since all programs are JAVA based, it is very likely that these packages can be made to work on other systems as well. However, the tools would require customized scripts as provided in the (s)bin directories.

Given the title of this page, it is obviously necessary to start with a system with a JAVA VM installed (1.6 or higher). NB Since there is a known issue for the dCache/FNAL SRM client tools on openjdk-7, it may be required to install an alternative JVM than the system default and point JAVA_HOME to the alternative location.

The key elements in any minimal installation are:

  • A valid (personal) grid certificate.
  • Functionality to generate a proxy with VOMS attributes
  • Functionality to initiate data transfers using SRM and the gsiftp protocol

Below, we will take a detailed look at each individual element.

Note that you only have to install your grid certificate yourself and can then simply use our prepackaged tarball for the rest.

The procedure for obtaining a personal grid certificate is described here. The default locations for the private key and the signed certificate are respectively $HOME/.globus/userkey.pem and $HOME/.globus/usercert.pem. Alternative locations may be used but should then be configured by setting appropriate values for the X509_USER_KEY and X509_USER_CERT environment variables.

NB It is not required to store the personal certificate on the system that has the SRM clients installed. These clients only require a valid 'proxy' generated from the certificate and it is perfectly possible to generate the proxy elsewhere and copy it to the SRM client system using e.g. scp or 'MyProxy' (to be further documented).

Note on security: By whatever means the certificate and/or proxy are generated, it is critical that the private key (stored as userkey.pem or in any other form) and the generated proxy (see below) are kept secure. These files should have set read/write access for only the owner (e.g. chmod 600 userkey.pem) and it is good practice to be very restrictive regarding the creation of copies, in particular on shared systems. In addition, the private key should always be secured by setting a (good) encryption password when it is generated.

The voms-proxy-init tool from the VOMS client tools can be used to generate a proxy with VOMS attributes from the personal certificate.

Note that the previouly provided script from jLite is now discouraged because its encryption strength of 512 bit is not considered sufficient any more. SRM sites require a minimum strength of 1024 bit.

To allow usage of the LOFAR VO (Virtual Organization), there are three additional steps to take:

  • Create a vomses file to allow voms-proxy-init to contact the relevant VOMS server
  • Create a file that contains the certificate chain for authentication of the VOMS server
  • Install the set of trusted grid Certificate Authority (CA) certificates (these are also required by the SRM tools).

To allow generation of proxies with LOFAR voms attributes, a 'vomses' file must exist that contains at least the following line:

"lofar" "" "30019" "/O=dutchgrid/O=hosts/" "lofar"

Place the file in a location where the proxy generator (voms-proxy-init) can find it (e.g. ~/.glite/vomses or export custom location to $X509_VOMSES variable). Alternatively, you may point voms-proxy-init to any custom location by the '-vomses' option.

To allow the proxy generator to check the authenticity of the voms server, the chain of certificates for the the VOMS server must be provided in a file named '<voms_server_address>.lsc'. This file must be placed in a subdirectory with the name of the virtual organization which is placed in the VOMS directory (see below). For the lofar VO, this file is lofar/ which should contain the following lines:

/C=NL/O=NIKHEF/CN=NIKHEF medium-security certification auth

The VOMS directory location can be configured by setting the $X509_VOMS_DIR environment value.

If your system has been installed with grid software already, it is likely that the trusted CA certificates can be found in the default directory /etc/grid-security/certificates. If this is not the case, or you receive error messages related to not being able to determine the authenticity of a certificate, you can retrieve the latest certificates, e.g. from EUGridPMA, and place them in a directory of your choosing (set environment variable X509_CERT_DIR accordingly). If you use our prepackaged tarball, you can use the provided script '' (for bash; use the .csh version for c-shell) to deploy the latest certificates (Note: The script requires the lynx text browser to be installed on your system).

There are (at least) two JAVA based packages that provide the required SRM client functionality, including support for the gsiftp (a.k.a. 'gridftp') protocol. One has been developed by Fermilab and is hosted by dCache. Another has been developed at Berkeley.

NB If the client srm copy call returns timeout messages, the most likely cause is that a firewall is blocking outward connections. The following ports are typically needed by the srm client tools: 8443/8444, 2811, and any port in the gridftp port range (typically in the range 20000 - 25000). Note that these ports are configured on the server side so this list may not be complete for all situations. If at all possible, it is advisable to configure the firewall to allow all outward connections. The next best option is to allow all outward connections to the domains that provide LOFAR LTA services (currently,, and

We provide a slightly modified package in two different versions: srm client tools (Java 7) (or alternatively srm client tools (Java 6)). (Note that both are also part of the prepackaged tarball together with an init script to set up the environment.) These contain updated scripts that allow installation in any directory. The client can be unpacked anywhere after which the $SRM_PATH environment variable should be set to the root directory of the unpacked tarball. Additionally, the $SRM_PATH/bin directory should be added to $PATH and trusted CA certificates must be installed. Finally, a valid proxy must be available in the default grid location (/tmp/x509up_u<UID>) or in the location configured as $X509_USER_PROXY. You should now be able to retrieve a file from the LOFAR LTA:

srmcp -server_mode=passive srm:// file:///file1M

If your firewall allows incoming connections to non-standard ports, you can try active gridftp, which will enable utilization of multiple streams to increase performance.

If you have the gridftp client software installed (requires installation with root privileges) and in your path, it provides superior performance as compared to the native JAVA gridftp client that is provided by srmcp. In order to utilize this, download, unzip it and use the command:

srmcp -use_urlcopy_script=true -urlcopy=./ -server_mode=passive srm:// file:///`pwd`/file1M

Note: Usually, the url-copy script requires an absolute destination path. Make sure that you don't use the one from other sources, but the modified script from this page (named, now also included in the tarball below) to retrieve data with the srm.txt files from your notification mails.

Active gridftp

In the examples above, srmcp is run with the option -server_mode=passive, which limits the transfer to a single stream. If you want to enable 'active' transfers, your firewall has to allow incoming access to the ports configured as the globus port range (typically ports 20000-25000, also open 8443, 8444, 2811). The IP ranges for remote gridftp servers that need to be able to connect to your machine are:

  •, i.e. to, for SURFsara
  •, i.e. to, for FZJuelich.

Active gridftp can improve performance of a single transfer as it will use multiple parallel connections for retrieving a file. For the FNAL/dCache client, 'active' transfers are initiated if the -server_mode=passive setting is omitted. For the Berkely client, parallel transfers will be initiated when the -parallelism parameter is set to a value larger than 1. Since most cases LOFAR datasets consist of a large number of files, a similar performance improvement can be achieved by splitting the set of files over multiple srm copy processes. This is usually easier to set up than the firewall requirements. Note that e.g. the dCache client does not have a default setting for the gridftp port range. Further, srmcp ignores the GLOBUS_TCP_PORT_RANGE environment variable. You have to specify the port range (that you opened in your firewall) via the globus_tcp_prt_range option of srmcp, e.g.:

srmcp -globus_tcp_port_range=20000,25000 srm:// file:///file1M 

Prepackaged tarball

We provide the Lofar Grid Clients tarball that comes prepackaged with the above (except your personal grid certificate of course) to allow easy access to the LOFAR VO. Extract the tarball to a directory of your liking and source '' if you use Java 7 (or newer) or source '' if you still use Java 6. This sets up the environment for you. You can voms-proxy-init for generating a proxy and voms-proxy-info for inspecting the generated proxy.
It needs (semi-)regular updates of the certificates, with one of the supplied scripts.

This walkthrough guides you to setting up the prepackaged tarball (containing the FNAL/dCache SRM client tools) on your system. It assumes a bash-like shell.

  • Store your private key in $HOME/.globus/userkey.pem
  • Change private key permissions to owner-read-only:
    chmod 400 $HOME/.globus/userkey.pem
  • Store your signed certificate in $HOME/.globus/usercert.pem
  • Download the Lofar Grid Clients
  • Untar package in directory of your choosing:
    tar -xvzf lofar_grid_clients.tar.gz
  • Determine your java version:
    java -version
  • Source (Java 7 or 8) or init_java6 (Java 6) in lofar_grid/, e.g. :
    . lofar_grid/
  • Update the certificates with one of the provided scripts, e.g.:
  • Optional: Set proxy environment variable to custom location:
    export X509_USER_PROXY=<proxy_location>
  • Generate a proxy:
    voms-proxy-init -voms lofar:/lofar/user
  • Test data retrieval:
    srmcp -server_mode=passive srm:// file://`pwd`/file1M
  • Done!
    NB If you modified any default location by the export command, you have to put it in a shell start-up script like '.bashrc' to make your changes permanent, of course (with full paths where appropriate).
  • If you get any errors related to CA certificates, retry after running one of the provided scripts to update your certificates, e.g.

    The certificates change every now and then, and then you need to update them.

Note: For (t)csh, use *.csh init scripts and 'setenv <key> <value>' instead of 'export <key>=<value>'.


  • There is a LTA FAQ page that should help with the common difficulties.
  • Last modified: 2017-03-08 15:27
  • by