Cloud Services for Synchronization and Sharing (CS3) have become increasing popular in the European Education and Research landscape in the last
years. Services such as CERNBox, SWITCHdrive, CloudStor and many more have become indispensable in everyday work for scientists, engineers and in administration
CS3 services represent an important part of the EFSS market segment (Enterprise File Sync and Share). According to the report at the last CS3 2019 Rome conference, 25 sites provide a service to the total of 395 thousand researchers and educators around the globe (in Europe and Australia, China, US, Brazil, South Africa and Russia) serving 2.7 billion files (corresponding to 11.5 PB of storage). CS3 provides easily accessible, sync&share services with intuitive and responsive user interfaces.
Although these services are becoming popular because of their intuitive interface for sharing and synchronization of data, availability on all platforms (mobile, desktop and web) and capabilities to adapt to different user scenarios such as offline work, the commercially developed sync&share platforms are not sufficiently integrated with research services, tools and applications. This lack of integration currently forms a major bottleneck for European collaborative research communities. In addition, services as operated by several European providers who are in CS3, are currently too fragmented.
The CS3 APIs is a set of APIs to make research clouds based on sync and share technology interoperable. The APIs are designed to decrease the burden of porting an application developed for one EFSS service to another one and also provide a standard way to connect the sync and share platform with existing and new storage repositories over a well-defined metadata control protocol. These interconnections increase the cohesion between services to create an easily-accessible and integrated science environment that facilitates research activities across institutions without having fragmented silos based on ad-hoc solutions.
We report on our experience designing the protocol and the reference implementation (REVA), and its future evolution to reduce the fragmentation in the pan-European research network.
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