Data Transfer Nodes

Data Transfer Nodes, or DTNs, are dedicated systems (typically but not always Linux servers) deployed and configured specifically for transferring data over networks. DTNs are an important part of a Science DMZ, and are the place where data transfer applications run - they are therefore the place where the “user interface” to the Science DMZ resides, since most users interact with a Science DMZ through data transfers.

For security reasons, the application set which runs on a DTN is strictly limited - only the software necessary for data transfer and system maintenance are deployed. This reduction in scope and functionality is a critical enabler of the high performance security measures necessary in the Science DMZ - it is far easier to defend a small number of well-understood data transfer tools using performant security mechanisms than to defend a broad array of complex enterprise applications, as is typical in general-purpose networks.

ESnet runs several DTNs for use by the scientific community for testing the data transfer performance of their own DTNs and Science DMZs. The ESnet DTNs host a variety of data sets for use in performance engineering, and are further documented on the Fasterdata knowledgebase.

Further information covering data transfer applications, system design, performance tuning, and other aspects of DTNs is available in the DTN section of the Fasterdata knowledge base.