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Storage Technology and Options

Storage Technology

This page describes various storage provided by LCSR, which you can use. However you can use the same technology to set up your own file servers, or to allow files on your server or desktop to be available from other systems.

The underlying approach we use is NFS, a Network File System that is supported for Unix and Linux, and to some extent also MacOS and Windows. Specifically, we use NFS version 4 with Kerberos authentication. Version 4 with Kerberos allows incorporation of systems run by different system administrators, which may not always have consistent UID and GIDs, and may have varying levels of security. 

We also recommend setting up the /net virtual file system. That allows you to access files on any system that permits it, without having to get your system administrator to add a mount. Thus is provides the illusion that file systems on all of our servers are part of a single, combined name space.

Systems run by LCSR already have the necessary software. For information on integrating your systems into our Kerberos infrastructure, see Setting up Kerberos and Related Services.
 

Storage available with Computer Science

A. Home Directories

Users' home directories are located on the LCSR NetApp, and on several petabyte Linux-based file servers. Users are given quotas on the NetApp in order to minimize their impact both on other users on the same qtree (NetApp's version of a partition) and the smooth functioning of the NetApp itself. Each machine in its cluster share the same home directory storage and accessible at: 

  • /ilab/users for ILab machines

  • /grad/users for  Graduate machines

  • /res/users for Research machines

  • /fac/users for Faculty machines.

These directories are backed up and lost files are recoverable under our restore service level. (Essentially, we keep backups for up to two months and have a fall back position in case of hardware failure.)

Accounts are given home directory quota limits in order to share this resource. Should you find your initial quota too small, you can request additional space (please give an estimate of how much more you need, how long you believe you will need it and a short jutification of what you need it for) in an email to "help@cs.rutgers.edu". (Our guideline for max quotas is 5GB for faculty, 3GB for students.) 
 

B. Shared Local Filesystems
  • Freespace
    Most machines have some extra non quota disk space set aside in a partition called /freespace/local. You should note that these filesystems restrictions below.
    o Files are not backed up
    o Files are not counted toward your disk quota
    o Files in /freespace/local are automatically deleted when machines are re-installed without prior warning.
    o All files are removed between end and start of a semester without prior warning.

  • aurora local disk
    On aurora.cs.rutgers.edu only, there are additional extra local non quota storage under the name: /aurora.cs/local1 .../aurora.cs/local9 and /aurora.cs/ssd that you can use for temporary storage. Note that this filesystems are not backed up. Please be a "good citizen" in your usage of these filesystems. Don't fill them up or leave large amounts of data there for long periods of time.
     

C. Computer Science Remote Filesystems
  • Common Users
    Beginning mid Summer 2018, all users are allocated 100 GB quota storage. This storage has a single daily backup and there is no snapshot and can be accessed in /common/users/your_netid. This storage is accessible from any all CS Faculty/Research/Grad/iLab cluster.  This storage is especially useful for non crucial data like your Dropbox sync, local browser cache and large temporary data.

  • Filer Tmp
    LCSR has a raided (so any single disk failure will not cause data loss) filer with about 9 TB space available on it. The space is split into two separate temporary filesystems.  Like the local shared filesystems, this space is not counted toward your disk quota and not backed up. Usage on the filer is a matter of public record. More details on the filer are contained in a warning file in the root of each filesystem called README.this-filesystem-is-not-backed-up. The filesystems are separated as follow:
    /filer/tmp1 (~6 TB) accessible from the faculty and research clusters and
    /filer/tmp2 (~3 TB) accessible from the facultyresearchgrad and ilab clusters. 

  • Project space on our NetApp
    Larger amounts of space can be arranged for on our NetApp for individuals or groups needing backed up space. This space is generally subject to the same restore policy that our home directories on the NetApp are. (Essentially, we keep backups for up to two months and have a fall back position in case of hardware failure.) This space must be requested by the DCS faculty member working on the project. For details, see our page on project disk space.

  • Petabyte filers
    CBIM currently has two 1 PB file servers, but reasonable amounts of space are available for other CS users. File storage can be requested through help@cs.rutgers.edu.

  • Sharing files between systems
    If you want to make local files on your system available for other systems, see sharing files.
     

D. Cloud Storage 
  • Dropbox
    All CS Linux systems have the Linux client for dropbox installed. It's a synchronization tool, which means that it copies all your files to a local file system, and keeps them in sync with the cloud copies.  You can link your dropbox account with our system. Please make sure to sync your dropbox with /common/users disk or you will quickly runs out of space.

  • Google Drive.
    University has made an arrangement for an unlimited disk space for Google Drive under the Scarlet Apps system. All CS Linux machines can be linked to Google Drive.  Please see Connecting Google Drive with CS Linux Machines. Note that this can only be used if you are using Gnome graphical interface locally or via Microsoft Remote Desktop client. This does not work if you access via ssh or X2Go client.

  • Box.com
    The University is in the process of arranging an unlimited capacity contract with box.com. Access to box.com is via webdav. Performance is good for copying large files, not good for operations creating lots of small files. When the arrangement is made public, we will install a script that automates setting up webdav. For systems you manage, install the davfs2 package. Then you can use mount -t davfs https://dav.box.com.

  • If there are other cloud services you want to access, contact help@cs.rutgers.edu. There are tools avaiable for many services, but many of them aren't things we'd want to make generally available.
     
  • If you are using VMs or storage in Amazon or similar environments, we're willing to look at setting up links from systems here to them. There are Linux tools to access Amazon file systems and their competitors.
     
E. Other Storage

If you maintain your own disk space you would like to access them from our machines or want to access our file systems from home computers, below are a few options.

  • shfs 
    LCSR has installed sshfs on our primary clusters. You can also install it on system you run, as well as home systems. sshfs allows you to mount file systems to which you have access on any computer where you can login via ssh. Performance is at least as good as an NFS mount, and often better. In most cases this is a better option than WebDAV. For details, see https://cs.rutgers.edu/resources/accessing-files-remotely

  • /net/yourhost/... 
    On the faculty and research machines, we have enabled /net automounting. So if your hostname is "myhost", and you NFS export the filesystem "/my/directory/" to the faculty or research machines, you will be able to automount your files by connecting to "/net/myhost/my/directory".  See sharing files for more details.