SRB provides a uniform interface to heterogeneous data storage resources over a network. As part of this, it implements a logical namespace (distinct from physical file names) and maintains metadata on data-objects (files), users, groups, resources, collections, and other items in an SRB Metadata Catalog (MCAT) stored in a relational database management system. System and user-defined metadata can be queried to locate files based on attributes as well as by name. SRB runs on various versions of Unix, Linux, and Microsoft Windows.
The SDSC SRB system is middleware in the sense that it is built on top of other major software packages (various storage systems, real-time data sources, a relational database management system, etc) and it has callable library functions that can be utilized by higher level software. However, it is more complete than many middleware software systems as it implements a comprehensive distributed data management environment, including various end-user client applications. It has features to support the management and collaborative (and controlled) sharing, publication, replication, transfer, and preservation of distributed data collections.
SDSC SRB is sometimes used in conjunction with computational grid computing systems, such as Globus Alliance, and can utilize the Globus Alliance Grid Security Infrastructure (GSI) authentication system.
SRB can store and retrieve data in archival storage systems such as HPSS and SAM-FS, on disk file systems (Unix, Linux, or Windows), as Binary Large Objects or tabular data in relational database management systems, and on tape libraries.
The SRB has been used in production since 1997. Globally the SRB is estimated to be managing over one petabyte of data, as of early 2006. That number is expected to grow at a rate of one petabyte a year. SDSC is currently managing over 655 terabytes of data in over 106 million files. Many other computer centers and consortia are independently managing additional SRB data collections.
While licensed, SRB source distributions are freely available to academic and non-profit organizations. A commercial version (which diverged from the SDSC version in 2001) is also available by Nirvana