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Concept Questions
Why did you create another client?
Does "FTP" refer to the protocol, the client, or the server?
What is GridFTP?
Then what is GSI FTP?
What is the relationship between GSIFTP and GridFTP?


Concept Answers
Why did you create another client?
At the time of creation, no other interactive GridFTP clients were available, or none were known to be available.

Does "FTP" refer to the protocol, the client, or the server?
FTP refers to the protocol. The client and server are implementations of that protocol.

What is GridFTP?
GridFTP is an unofficial addition to the FTP protocol. In adds needed features like parallel data connections, striping across servers and data channel authentication.

Then what is GSI FTP?
GSI FTP is the FTP protocol, standard or extended with GridFTP, that uses GSI authentication. GSI is a form of PKI (public/private keys with certificates). GSI FTP uses certificates instead of clear text username/password combinations. GSI is added to the protocol by making use of RFC 2228.

What is the relationship between GSIFTP and GridFTP?
Globus introduced GSI FTP with Globus 1.x. It included a standard FTP client (gsincftp) and server. The only modification was to add GSI authentication to the client and server as defined in RFC 2228. In 2.x, Globus included a GridFTP client (globus-url-copy) and server. The modifications included parallel data channels, striping, etc. The GridFTP protocol does not explicitly imply GSI authentication, it does however build on top of RFC 2228 features to provide data channel authentication (DCAU).

So, GridFTP does not obsolete GSI FTP, it builds upon it. You could have GridFTP services using Kerberos (also supported via RFC 2228). Or you could have GridFTP without DCAU using a non RFC 2228 authentication mechanism such as username and password or hardware authentication. However, most people only recognize the GridFTP buzzword and since GSI was quickly adopted as the Grid authentication mechanism, the two terms are synonymous for most end users.