Software News

Retirements and New Beginnings: The Transition to Tokens

July 21, 2022

May 1, 2022 officially marked the retirement of OSG 3.5, GridFTP, and GSI dependencies. OSG 3.6, up and running since February of 2021, is prepared for usage and took its place, relying on WebDAV and bearer tokens.

In December of 2019, OSG announced its plan to transition towards bearer tokens and WebDAV-based file transfer, which would ultimately culminate in the retirement of OSG 3.5. Nearly two and a half years later, after significant development and work with collaborators on the transition, OSG marked the end of support for OSG 3.5.

OSG celebrated the successful and long-planned OSG 3.5 retirement and transition to OSG 3.6, the first version of the OSG Software Stack without any Globus dependencies. Instead, it relies on WebDAV (an extension to HTTP/S allowing for distributed authoring and versioning of files) and bearer tokens.

Jeff Dost, OSG Coordinator of Operations, reports that the transition “was a big success!” Ultimately, OSG made the May 1st deadline without having to backtrack and put out new fires. Dost notes, however, that “the transition was one of the most difficult ones I can remember in the ten plus years of working with OSG, due to all the coordination needed.”

Looking back, for nearly fifteen years, communications in OSG were secured with X.509 certificates and proxies via Globus Security Infrastructure (GSI) as an Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI).

Then, in June of 2017, Globus announced the end of support for its open-source Toolkit that the OSG depended on. In October, they established the Grid Community Forum (GCF) to continue supporting the Toolkit to ensure that research could continue uninterrupted.

While the OSG continued contributing to the GCT, the long-term goal was to transition the research community from these approaches to token-based pilot job authentication instead of X.509 proxy authentication.

A more detailed document of the OSG-LHC GridFTP and GSI migration plans can be found in this document. Please visit the GridFTP and GSI Migration FAQ page if you have any questions. For more information and news about OSG 3.6, please visit the OSG 3.6 News release documentation page.

If you have any questions about the retirement of OSG 3.5 or the implementation of OSG 3.6, please contact