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Department of Computer Science

Technical Services and Support

Storage Technology Options

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.

Note that LCSR is moving in the direction of a few file servers, all accessible from all systems that participate in the LCSR Kerberos system. This includes generally-available systems such as ilab, but also most research systems.


Most systems in computer science have access to the following:

  • Home directories [/ilab/users,/fac/users] . On general-access systems these have quotas of around 6 GB, and are hosted in a Netapp file server using traditional disks. Research systems may have their own home directories
  • /common/users/$NETID. Can be used to supplement your home directory if you need more space. 100 GB quotas. Traditional storage.
  • /common/home/$NETID. This is intended for projects that need high performance. It is on SSD (actually NVMe) disks with 40 Gbps networking. 50 GB quotas, except 200 GB for faculty and PhD students. We can allocate space for projects. We recommend using this for home directories on research systems.
  • /research/archive. For data that funding agencies require to be kept. This will eventually be merged with /common/users into a single system for files that don’t need SSD. Please contact if you need this service.
  • /filer/tmp1 – intended as working space if you need more storage for a short period. No quota, but not backed up, and will be cleared if it fills. On SSD.
  • /filer/tmp2 – working storage similar to /filer/tmp1, but on traditional disks We’re phasing this out. Please use /filer/tmp1.
  • Local storage, normally on /freespace/local. For newer systems this is SSD storage (i.e. fairly fast), but it is not backed up, and may be cleared out when it fills. This is intended for short-term working storage.

Future plans are for /common/home to be primary storage for research and advanced instruction, with /common/users for files not currently being used heavily. /common/home has fast disks. /common/users will be larger capacity, but with traditional disks.


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.

Running out of space?

To find out how much disk quota is available for you, open a terminal or via ssh client and type: quota -vs. If you run out of disk space in your home directory, you can find out where your disk space went typing:  du -a ~ | sort -rn | more.  Most common cases, the hidden .cache directory is growing out of bound and needs to be cleaned up or you forgot to empty your Trash can.

If you run out of space in your home directory, please utilize  /freespace/local, /common/users/your_netid and /common/home/your_netid storage described in section B and C below.


Storage available with Computer Science

A.Home Directories

Users’ home directories on our generally-available systems are located on the LCSR NetApp. Users are given 6GB 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.
  • /fac/users for Faculty machines.
  • /dresden/users for CBIM 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.)

The Netapp file system is a high-quality enterprise system, with builtin redundancy. Thus it is reliable but expensive. We are using it for students, where even a brief failure could cause people to miss assignments. However we are moving to lower-cost storage for other purposes.

Accounts are given home directory quota limits in order to share this very expensive resource. Should you find your initial quota too small, you should consider other shared disks like /common/users, /filer/tmp and /freespace/local below. If there are justifiable reasons, 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 justification of what you need it for) in an email to ““. (Our guideline for max quotas is 6GB for faculty, 6GB for students.)

B. Shared Local Filesystems
  • /freespace/local (available only on iLab/Grad/Fac desktops machines)
    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.
    – Files are not backed up
    – This storage has has no quota but limited to available space available.
    – Files in /freespace/local are automatically deleted when machines are re-installed without prior warning.
    – All files may be removed between end and start of a semester or when we run out of space without prior warning.
  • /aurora/local (available only on
    On only, there are additional extra temporary local disks. 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.
    – This storage has has no quota but limited to available space available.
    – Files are accessible via /aurora.cs/local1 …/aurora.cs/local9 and /aurora.cs/ssd
    – These filesystems are not backed up.
    – Non accessed files will be removed when we run out of space without prior warning.
C. Computer Science Remote Filesystems
  • /common/users
    Beginning mid Summer 2018, we have new storage that can be used by all users.
    – There is a 100 GB quota limit.
    – Can be accessed in /common/users/your_netid.
    – It is accessible from all systems that participate in LCSR’s Kerberos, i.e. the general-access sysrems and most research systems.
    – This file system has a single daily backup and there is no snapshot.
  • /common/home
    – Available on the same systems as /common/users.
    – Quotas as 50 GB, with 200 GB for faculty and PhD students.
    – Based on a Linux file server using the ZFS file system, and NVMe storage.
    – It is backed up daily. There are daily snapshots, kept for 60 days. These can be used to recover files that were accidentally deleted.
    – Researchers may request special project directories.
  • /filer/tmpLCSR 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.  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 all generally-available systems. This uses SSD storage.
    /filer/tmp2 (~6 TB) accessible from all generally-available systems. This is being phased out. Please use /filer/tmp1.
    – This storage has has no quota but limited to available space available.
    – These filesystems are not backed up.
    – This space is wiped at the beginning of every semester and summer.

  • /dresden/users
    As of October 1, 2019, we have enabled access to /dresden/users home directory on iLab machines. This means CBIM users who has access to /dresden/users home directory can access their data from iLab machines without first copying them locally saving everyone both  time and disk space.
D. Special Storage For Projects
  • Project space on our NetApp
    Larger amounts of space can be arranged for on our NetApp for individuals or groups needing aggressively 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
E. Cloud Storage
  • Dropbox – No longer works due to new requirement of glibc 2.19 or higher and ext4 file system as of Oct 15 2018.
    Use Scarletmail Google Drive. You have unlimited space there instead of 2GB.
  • 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. Alternatively, you can use rclone(cmd line) or rclone-browserGUI) by following for configuration.
    To start rclone-browser, follow:
    export TERMINAL=/usr/bin/xfce4-terminal

    Note: if you setup mount points, make sure you set it at  /tmp/mountPointName, where mountPointName is a name of your choosing. Example: your_netid-gdrive
    The University has  arranged an unlimited capacity contract with  To acess, please use rclone(cmd line) or rclone-browserGUI) by following for configuration.
    To start rclone-browser, follow:
    export TERMINAL=/usr/bin/xfce4-terminal

    Note: if you setup mount points, make sure you set it at  /tmp/mountPointName, where mountPointName is a name of your choosing. Example: your_netid-box
  • If there are other cloud services you want to access, contact 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.
F. 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 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.
  • See our how to page to learn more about available File Sharing options.