Globus file transfers

Created by Unknown User (bjsmith), last modified on 2023-04-25

Updated 4/25/2023: CISL has enabled the Globus for Google Drive connector service to facilitate file transfers to NCAR's Google Drive by NCAR and UCAR staff. University users and others who are interested in using the connector service are advised to consult with their own institutional IT experts.

Globus is the most efficient way to transfer files – large files, in particular – between NCAR file systems such as Campaign Storage, GLADE, and non-NCAR resources and storage systems. NCAR and UCAR researchers can also use the Globus for Google Drive connector service to transfer files to the NCAR Google Drive collection on Globus for sharing and storage purposes as described below.

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Globus has both a web interface and a command line interface (CLI), which are described below. To use either interface, the first step is to create a free personal account and log in using a Globus ID or a Google account. (UCAR and NCAR staff: Do not use the NCAR RDA organizational login.)

Screen showing the location of the link for signing in with a Globus ID.

Several mapped collections, which provide access to different file system locations on a public endpoint, are set up on the Globus system for transferring files to and from NCAR storage systems. These include:

  • NCAR Campaign Storage
  • NCAR Data Sharing Service

Users can also create their own guest collections as described here in order to facilitate data sharing with colleagues and to accommodate unattended workflows.

Globus also offers a feature called Globus Connect Personal for moving files to and from a laptop or desktop computer and other endpoints.


  • The Globus interface for transferring data does not handle symbolic links and does not create symbolic links on a destination endpoint.
  • It is possible to corrupt data when performing a transfer if you accidentally specify the same files as both source and destination. To avoid inadvertently deleting data when using the web interface, activate the sync option in the Transfer & Sync Options menu. Sync can be set to allow a file transfer only if the file does not exist on the destination, if there’s a difference in checksum or file size, or if the source copy is newer than the destination copy.
  • Transferred files assume the user's umask permissions on the destination system regardless of permissions on the source system.

Transferring files with the web interface

When transferring files between systems, keep in mind that your username might not be the same on each system.

Follow these steps to transfer files. See the image below for reference.

  1. Go to the main Globus page ( and log in using your personal Globus ID
  2. Go to File Manager.
  3. Use the Panels button to display two endpoint panels side by side.
  4. Enter the name of your source endpoint in the Collection field on one panel.
  5. Specify the path where your source files are located.
  6. Enter your username and authenticate as you do when logging in to NCAR systems. You will not need to authenticate to access the collection for the next 30 days.
  7. Identify your target endpoint in the other panel.
  8. Specify a destination path.
  9. Select the files you want to copy.
  10. Click the Start button to initiate the transfer.

You can check the status of your transfers any time through the web interface and will be notified when they are complete.

Globus file manager screen, highlighting form fields and buttons described in the text above.

Using mapped collections for CLI transfers

The Globus CLI application, an installable Python package, can be used to make both manual and unattended file transfers.

The application is:

  • installed on the NCAR/CISL data-access nodes.
  • available within the NCAR Python Library conda environment.
  • can be added to a personal conda environment using conda install globus-cli.

To begin, log in as shown in this example for using the data-access nodes. (If your UCAR username and your username on your local computer are different, follow the alternative example.)

ssh (alternative: ssh

Run globus login and follow the on-screen instructions.

globus login

Output example (if you are not already logged in):

Please authenticate with Globus here:


URL to copy and paste into your browser.


Enter the resulting Authorization Code here:

Copy the lengthy URL and paste it into your browser. It will ask you to choose an identity – as above, use either a Globus ID or Google account – and then it will take you to a consent form that looks like this:

Image of Globus CLI access screen

Click Allow to give the CLI app the necessary access and you will receive an authorization code.

After entering the code at the terminal prompt, you will be logged in to the Globus CLI and in your /glade/u/home directory. You can use this authentication credential for 30 days before you will need to reactivate a mapped collection. Workflows that need longer collection access – to facilitate unattended file transfers, for example – can instead use guest collections.

Using the CLI, it is possible to query your current mapped collection activation and also force Globus to reactivate it (thus extending your activation lifetime):

gc_glade=$(globus endpoint search " NCAR GLADE" --jq "DATA[0].id" --format UNIX)

globus endpoint activate $gc_glade
Endpoint is already activated. Activation expires at 2022-11-22 20:47:46+00:00
globus endpoint activate --force $gc_glade
Autoactivation succeeded with message: Endpoint activated successfully using Globus Online credentials.

Your default shell on the data-access nodes is tcsh. To change your current shell, just enter bash or another preferred shell.

Executing CLI transfers

For details regarding how to make batch transfers and single-item transfers, manage endpoints, and more, see these resources:

Globus for Google Drive

NCAR and UCAR researchers can use the Globus for Google Drive connector service to transfer files to the NCAR Google Drive collection on Globus for sharing and storage purposes by following the instructions below. (To transfer files to a personal Google Drive, see Transferring files to Google Drive or DropBox instead.)

The Globus Google Drive connector is not designed to transfer Google apps products – such as Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides – between Google accounts or beyond Google Drive. While such files might appear to be visible in your Google Drive as .gsheet or .gdoc files, those are just pointers and downloading them will not download the data stored in the files.

It also is not intended for backing up your scratch space or other GLADE files. It is intended for sharing smaller files such as plots. If you need to transfer many small files, compress or archive them into a smaller number of files.

To make a transfer, follow these steps after logging in to your personal Globus account:

  1. Go to File Manager and search for the collection named NCAR Google Drive
  2. Select the drive and authenticate as required. You will be directed to the NCAR/UCAR authentication page to give Globus access to the Google Drive by using Duo and your CIT credentials. (You are only required to do this once.) 
  3. Select your target collection (endpoint) in the other File Manager panel.
  4. Execute the transfer.

Your Google Drive endpoint will originate in your /My Drive/ path by default. To access other Google Drive folders such as Shared with me or Starred, simply navigate up one level.

Avoid giving the same name to multiple files when using Globus integration. While Google Drive can support multiple files with the same name, they cannot be mapped into a POSIX file system.

Storage limits and limitations

Keep these storage and file size limitations in mind when using Globus to transfer data to the NCAR Google Drive:

  • Google imposes a maximum file size limit of 5 TB.
  • The daily upload limit is 750 GB per user. However, Google allows uploading of a single file larger than 750 GB.
  • Each user is limited to having a maximum of 5 million files and folders within their Google Drive, which includes all Google products such as Google Docs.

Example use case

The Globus Google Drive connector can streamline data sharing and collaboration with team members who don't have access to Globus.

For example, a meteorologist who performs daily operational simulations on an NCAR system as part of a multi-organizational field campaign and generates plots for flight planning can share them with the operational team and collaborators via a shared drive.

Instead of manually transferring the plots to a personal device and then uploading them to the shared drive, the meteorologist can leverage the connector to automate the workflow and move the plots directly from GLADE to Google Drive. 

Globus Connect Personal

To set up your laptop or desktop computer to use Globus Connect Personal:

  • Go to Globus Connect Personal and follow the instructions to download and install it on your local system.
  • Add your local system as an endpoint by following the instructions on the Globus Connect website.
  • Start Globus Connect, and then sign in to

Your local system should now appear as an endpoint that can be used for transferring files.