Downloading a file from the grid

Learning Objectives

  • Obtain a DST file from the grid

In the previous section, we obtained a file called:

which contains the following section:

], clear=True)

which is just a collection of Logical File Names on the grid.

This is a list of files that make up the dataset we are interested in. Each of the files contains a number of individual events, so if we just want to take a quick look at the dataset, it is sufficient to just obtain one of those files.

Before we can download the file, we need to set up our connection with the grid and load the Dirac software:


Initialisation of the proxy might take a while and should ask you for your certificate password.

Once we have a working Dirac installation, getting the file is as easy as

lb-dirac dirac-dms-get-file LFN:/lhcb/MC/2016/ALLSTREAMS.DST/00070793/0000/00070793_00000001_7.AllStreams.dst

Again this will take a while but afterwards you should have a file called 00070793_00000001_7.AllStreams.dst in the directory where you called the command.

Downloading the file during a Starterkit lesson

Lots of people downloading the same file at the same time can be very slow. As a workaround, the file is also available on EOS, and can be downloaded to your current directory with the following command:

$ xrdcp root:// .

Since these files tend to be quite large, you might want to use your AFS work directory instead of your AFS user directory to store files (if you want to increase your AFS user and work spaces quota, you can follow the instructions on CERN Resources Portal - you can get up to 10GB of space for your AFS user directory and up to 100GB for your workspace).

Alternative: read files remotely instead of downloading them

To avoid filling up your AFS quota with DST files, you can also pass Gaudi an XML catalog such that it can access them remotely.

First generate the XML catalog with

lb-dirac dirac-bookkeeping-genXMLCatalog --Catalog=myCatalog.xml

and add

from Gaudi.Configuration import FileCatalog
FileCatalog().Catalogs = [ "xmlcatalog_file:/path/to/myCatalog.xml" ]

to your options file. See the bookkeeping twiki.

Warning: the replicas of an LFN may change, so first try to regenerate the XML catalog in case you cannot access a file using this recipe.

If you want to obtain all the files, you can copy and paste the list of file names from the file you got from the bookkeeping and paste them into the following python script for convenience.

# Your list of file names here
FILES = []

if __name__ == '__main__':
    from subprocess import call
    from sys import argv

    n_files = len(FILES)
    if len(argv) > 1:
        n_files = int(argv[1])

    files = FILES[:n_files]
    for f in files:
        print('Getting file {0}.'.format(f))
        call('dirac-dms-get-file {0}'.format(f), shell=True)
    print('Done getting {0} files.'.format(n_files))

Save it as and use it via lb-dirac python [n]. If you specify n, the script will only get the first n files from the grid.

Such a clever script!

dirac-dms-get-file (and the other dirac-dms-* scripts) is actually able to extract the LFNs from any file and download them for you. So a simple

 lb-dirac dirac-dms-get-file

would do to download them all!