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Installing an XRootD Storage Element


This page is out of date and is not known to work with XRootD 5; parts of it do not work with EL 7+.

XRootD is a hierarchical storage system that can be used in a variety of ways to access data, typically distributed among actual storage resources. One way to use XRootD is to have it refer to many data resources at a single site, and another way to use it is to refer to many storage systems, most likely distributed among sites. An XRootD system includes a redirector, which accepts requests for data and finds a storage repository — locally or otherwise — that can provide the data to the requestor.

Use this page to learn how to install, configure, and use an XRootD redirector as part of a Storage Element (SE) or as part of a global namespace.

Before Starting

Before starting the installation process, consider the following points:

  • User IDs: If it does not exist already, the installation will create the Linux user ID xrootd
  • Service certificate: The XRootD service uses a host certificate at /etc/grid-security/host*.pem
  • Networking: The XRootD service uses port 1094 by default

As with all OSG software installations, there are some one-time (per host) steps to prepare in advance:

Installing an XRootD Server

An installation of the XRootD server consists of the server itself and its dependencies. Install these with Yum:

root@host # yum install osg-xrootd

Configuring an XRootD Server

An advanced XRootD setup has multiple components; it is important to validate that each additional component that you set up is working before moving on to the next component. We have included validation instructions after each component below.

Creating an XRootD cluster

XRootD cluster

If your storage is spread out over multiple hosts, you will need to set up an XRootD cluster. The cluster uses one "redirector" node as a frontend for user accesses, and multiple data nodes that have the data that users request. Two daemons will run on each node:

The eXtended Root Daemon controls file access and storage.

The Cluster Management Services Daemon controls communication between nodes.

Note that for large virtual organizations, a site-level redirector may actually also communicate upwards to a regional or global redirector that handles access to a multi-level hierarchy. This section will only cover handling one level of XRootD hierarchy.

In the instructions below, <RDRNODE> will refer to the redirector host and <DATANODE> will refer to the data node host. These should be replaced with the fully-qualified domain name of the host in question.

Modify /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg

You will need to modify the xrootd-clustered.cfg on the redirector node and each data node. The following example should serve as a base configuration for clustering. Further customizations are detailed below.

all.export /mnt/xrootd stage
set xrdr = <RDRNODE>
all.manager $(xrdr):3121

if $(xrdr)
  # Lines in this block are only executed on the redirector node
  all.role manager
  # Lines in this block are executed on all nodes but the redirector node
  all.role server min 2g 5g

You will need to customize the following lines:

Configuration Line Changes Needed
all.export /mnt/xrootd stage Change /mnt/xrootd to the directory to allow XRootD access to
set xrdr=<RDRNODE> Change to the hostname of the redirector min 2g 5g Reserve this amount of free space on the node. For this example, if space falls below 2GB, xrootd will not store further files on this node until space climbs above 5GB. You can use k, m, g, or t to indicate kilobyte, megabytes, gigabytes, or terabytes, respectively.

Further information can be found at

Verifying the clustered config

Start both xrootd and cmsd on all nodes according to the instructions in the Using XRootD section.

Verify that you can copy a file such as /bin/sh to /mnt/xrootd on the server data via the redirector:

root@host # xrdcp /bin/sh  root://<RDRNODE>:1094///mnt/xrootd/second_test
[xrootd] Total 0.76 MB  [====================] 100.00 % [inf MB/s]

Check that the /mnt/xrootd/second_test is located on data server <DATANODE>.

(Optional) Adding High Availability (HA) redirectors

It is possible to have an XRootD clustered setup with more than one redirector to ensure high availability service. To do this:

  1. In the /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg on each data node follow the instructions in this section with:

    set xrdr1 = <RDRNODE1>
    set xrdr2 = <RDRNODE2>
    all.manager $(xrdr1):3121
    all.manager $(xrdr2):3121
  2. Create DNS ALIAS records for <RDRNODE> pointing to <RDNODE1> and <RDRNODE2>

  3. Advertise the <RDRNODE> FQDN to users interacting with the XRootD cluster should be <RDRNODE>.

(Optional) Adding Simple Server Inventory to your cluster

The Simple Server Inventory (SSI) provide means to have an inventory for each data server. SSI requires:

  • A second instance of the xrootd daemon on the redirector
  • A "composite name space daemon" (XrdCnsd) on each data server; this daemon handles the inventory

As an example, we will set up a two-node XRootD cluster with SSI.

Host A is a redirector node that is running the following daemons:

  1. xrootd redirector
  2. cmsd
  3. xrootd - second instance that required for SSI

Host B is a data server that is running the following daemons:

  1. xrootd data server
  2. cmsd
  3. XrdCnsd - started automatically by xrootd

We will need to create a directory on the redirector node for Inventory files.

root@host # mkdir -p /data/inventory
root@host # chown xrootd:xrootd /data/inventory

On the data server (host B) let's use a storage cache that will be at a different location from /mnt/xrootd.

root@host # mkdir -p  /local/xrootd
root@host # chown xrootd:xrootd /local/xrootd

We will be running two instances of XRootD on <HOST A>. Modify /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg to give the two instances different behavior, as such:

all.export /data/xrootdfs
set xrdr=<HOST A>
all.manager $(xrdr):3121
if $(xrdr) && named cns
      all.export /data/inventory
      xrd.port 1095
else if $(xrdr)
      all.role manager
      xrd.port 1094
      all.role server
      oss.localroot /local/xrootd
      ofs.notify closew create mkdir mv rm rmdir trunc | /usr/bin/XrdCnsd -d -D 2 -i 90 -b $(xrdr):1095:/data/inventory
      #add if you have less the 11GB
      # options min 2g 5g

The value of oss.localroot will be prepended to any file access.
E.g. accessing root://<RDRNODE>:1094//data/xrootdfs/test1 will actually go to /local/xrootd/data/xrootdfs/test1.

Starting a second instance of XRootD

  1. Create a symlink pointing to /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg at /etc/xrootd/xrootd-cns.cfg:
root@host # ln -s /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg /etc/xrootd/xrootd-cns.cfg
  1. Start an instance of the xrootd service named cns using the syntax in the managing services section:
root@host # systemctl start xrootd@cns

Testing an XRootD cluster with SSI

  1. Copy file to redirector node specifying storage path (/data/xrootdfs instead of /mnt/xrootd):
root@host # xrdcp /bin/sh root://<RDRNODE>:1094//data/xrootdfs/test1
[xrootd] Total 0.00 MB [================] 100.00 % [inf MB/s] 
  1. To verify that SSI is working execute cns_ssi command on the redirector node:
root@host # cns_ssi list /data/inventory incomplete inventory as of Mon Apr 11 17:28:11 2011 
root@host # cns_ssi updt /data/inventory 
cns_ssi: inventory with 1 directory and 1 file updated with 0 errors. 
root@host # cns_ssi list /data/inventory complete inventory as of Tue Apr 12 07:38:29 2011 /data/xrootdfs/test1 

Note: In this example, is a redirector node and is a data node.

(Optional) Enabling Xrootd over HTTP

XRootD can be accessed using the HTTP protocol. To do that:

  1. Add the following line to /etc/xrootd/config.d/10-common-site-local.cfg:

    set EnableHttp = 1
  2. Testing the configuration

    From the terminal, generate a proxy and attempt to use davix-get to copy from your XRootD host (the XRootD service needs running; see the services section). For example, if your server has a file named /store/user/test.root:

    davix-get https://<YOUR FQDN>:1094/store/user/test.root -E /mnt/xrootd/x509up_u`id -u` --capath /etc/grid-security/certificates


For clients to successfully read from the regional redirector, HTTPS must be enabled for the data servers and the site-level redirector.


If you have u * in your Authfile, recall this provides an authorization to ALL users, including unauthenticated. This includes random web spiders!

(Optional) Enable HTTP based Writes

No changes to the HTTP module is needed to enable HTTP-based writes. The HTTP protocol uses the same authorization setup as the XRootD protocol. For example, you may need to provide a (all) style authorizations to allow users authorization to write. See the Authentication File section for more details.

(Optional) Enabling a FUSE mount

XRootD storage can be mounted as a standard POSIX filesystem via FUSE, providing users with a more familiar interface..

Modify /etc/fstab by adding the following entries:

xrootdfs                /mnt/xrootd              fuse    rdr=xroot://<REDIRECTOR FQDN>:1094/<PATH TO FILE>,uid=xrootd 0 0

Replace /mnt/xrootd with the path that you would like to access with. Create /mnt/xrootd directory. Make sure the xrootd user exists on the system. Once you are finished, you can mount it:

mount /mnt/xrootd

You should now be able to run UNIX commands such as ls /mnt/xrootd to see the contents of the XRootD server.

(Optional) Authorization

For information on how to configure XRootD authorization, please refer to the Configuring XRootD Authorization guide.

(Optional) Adding CMS TFC support to XRootD (CMS sites only)

For CMS users, there is a package available to integrate rule-based name lookup using a storage.xml file. See this documentation.

(Optional) Adding Multi user support for an XRootd server

For documentation how to enable multi-user support using XRootD see this documentation.

(Optional) Adding File Residency Manager (FRM) to an XRootd cluster

If you have a multi-tiered storage system (e.g. some data is stored on SSDs and some on disks or tapes), then install the File Residency Manager (FRM), so you can move data between tiers more easily. If you do not have a multi-tiered storage system, then you do not need FRM and you can skip this section.

The FRM deals with two major mechanisms:

  • local disk
  • remote servers

The description of fully functional multiple XRootD clusters is beyond the scope of this document. In order to have this fully functional system you will need a global redirector and at least one remote XRootD cluster from where files could be moved to the local cluster.

Below are the modifications you should make in order to enable FRM on your local cluster:

  1. Make sure that FRM is enabled in /etc/sysconfig/xrootd on your data sever:
XROOTD_DEFAULT_OPTIONS="-l /var/log/xrootd/xrootd.log -c /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg" 
CMSD_DEFAULT_OPTIONS="-l /var/log/xrootd/cmsd.log -c /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg" 
FRMD_DEFAULT_OPTIONS="-l /var/log/xrootd/frmd.log -c /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg" 
  1. Modify /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg on both nodes to specify options for frm_xfrd (File Transfer Daemon) and frm_purged (File Purging Daemon). For more information, you can visit the FRM Documentation
  2. Start frm daemons on data server:
root@host # service frm_xfrd start
root@host # service frm_purged start

Using XRootD

Managing XRootD services

Start services on the redirector node before starting any services on the data nodes. If you installed only XRootD itself, you will only need to start the xrootd service. However, if you installed cluster management services, you will need to start cmsd as well.

XRootD determines which configuration to use based on the service name specified by systemctl. For example, to have xrootd use the clustered config, you would start up xrootd with this line:

root@host # systemctl start xrootd@clustered

To use the standalone config instead, you would use:

root@host # systemctl start xrootd@standalone

The services are:

Service EL 7 & 8 service name
XRootD (standalone config) xrootd@standalone
XRootD (clustered config) xrootd@clustered
XRootD (multiuser) xrootd-privileged@clustered
CMSD (clustered config) cmsd@clustered

As a reminder, here are common service commands (all run as root):

To ... On EL 7 & 8, run the command...
Start a service systemctl start SERVICE-NAME
Stop a service systemctl stop SERVICE-NAME
Enable a service to start during boot systemctl enable SERVICE-NAME
Disable a service from starting during boot systemctl disable SERVICE-NAME

Getting Help

To get assistance. please use the Help Procedure page.


File locations

Service/Process Configuration File Description
xrootd /etc/xrootd/xrootd-clustered.cfg Main clustered mode XRootD configuration
/etc/xrootd/auth_file Authorized users file
Service/Process Log File Description
xrootd /var/log/xrootd/xrootd.log XRootD server daemon log
cmsd /var/log/xrootd/cmsd.log Cluster management log
cns /var/log/xrootd/cns/xrootd.log Server inventory (composite name space) log
frm_xfrd, frm_purged /var/log/xrootd/frmd.log File Residency Manager log
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