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GridDrive: Using sshfs to access the Grid

Ciaran Hearne

To patch sshfs to make it work with Grid certificates, then install it on a Linux machine and mount a directory on a machine that is part of the National Grid Service.

The Grid is a heterogeneous resource of machines that offer data storage and computing facilities. Although much research has gone into how to make interaction with computing facilities transparent to the user, this is not the case for the handling of data transfers.

In this project you will modify sshfs, a kernel extension that allows mounting directories over ssh, and FUSE, that allows users to mount discs in user-space. The aim is to patch sshfs in the same manner as ssh was patched to work with Grid certificates. These certificates are issued by parties involved in the National Grid Service, such as the National e-Science Centre, and allows users access to resources in many universities.

Once sshfs runs, anyone with a Grid certificate would be able to mount a directory "on their desktop" pointing to a machine that is part of the Grid. The next step is then to run a program that continuously looks for data files and then runs compute jobs on them.

This project requires a person with a hacker personality in the positive sense (, with much experience with Linux and its surrounding culture.

Project status: 
Degree level: 
You must like hacking Linux kernels and understand the idea behind ssh authentication, and be a proficient C programmer.
Supervisors @ NeSC: 
Subject areas: 
Computer Architecture
Distributed Systems
Software Engineering
Student project type: 
SSHFS & FUSE National Grid Service x509 proxy certificates x509 patch for SSH