Projects & Shared Space

Project space can be used privately, or shared with collaborators (hence the name, "shared space"). Because our researchers bring confidential data to the RCE, we keep all project space separate from your home directory. There are four types of project space:

  • Project space with long-term backups
  • Project space without long-term backups
  • Confidential project space with long-term backups
  • Confidential project space without long-term backups

When you apply for an RCE account, you are asked which category would best suit your needs. Therefore, you should know ahead of time if your data is rated as confidential information by your IRB.

HMDC offers two backup plans for your data. If you have large data sets, there is a nominal fee involved; please contact us for more information.

Project Backups

  • Monthly full backups and daily incremental backups to tape, available up to three (3) months. Recovery from tape backup can take anywhere from a few hours to over a day.
  • Multiple hourly snapshots, multiple daily snapshots, plus a single weekly snapshot. Recovery from snapshots take only a few minutes and is accessible directly to the researchers, look for a hidden .snapshot folder (note the dot).

No Project Backups

  • No tape backups.
  • Weekly snapshot. Data must reside on disk for at least one week, after which the researcher can recover data up to a week.

Locating Project Space

Home directories are always named with your username, and can be found at /nfs/home/J/jsmith/, or by using the tilde shortcut: ~/. Personal project space is also named after your username (jsmith in this example), but shared space can take any name. It will be located depending on the type of project space you requested:

  • Project space with backups: /nfs/projects/p/projectname
  • Project space without backups: /nfs/projects_nobackup/p/projectname
  • Confidential project space with backups: /nfs/projects_ci3/p/projectname
  • Confidential project space without backups: /nfs/projects_nobackup_ci3/p/projectname

(In this example, ci3 denotes level 3 confidential data. For more information on security ratings, see Harvards data classification table.)

To make accessing your project space easier, a shortcut (called a symbolic link, or symlink) is created in your home directory in ~/shared_space/. In this directory, you will find symlinks to all the projects of which you are a member. For example, as a researcher, I may store my raw data in ~/shared_space/ci3_politicalfunds/data/ and my output in ~/shared_space/ci3_politicalfunds/output/. I could then additionally access my output from /nfs/projects_ci3/p/ci3_politicalfunds/output/....

You are welcome to create your own symlinks! In this example, I want a shortcut to my project space on the desktop, for easier access in my NX session. From a terminal, I would execute this command: ln -s ~/Desktop/politicalfunds /nfs/projects_ci3/p/ci3_politicalfunds (please take note there is no trailing slash).

NOTICE: Do not use your home directory to store IRB-rated confidential (i.e. level 3) data, as home directories do not have the same security applied as project spaces. You should also avoid saving large files to your home directory as there is a 500MB quota (and exceeding that quota will prevent new NX sessions) however all project directories have individual quotas.