The Research File System (RFS) at Indiana University
Note: To keep pace with the growing needs of Indiana University researchers, Research File System (RFS) storage will be migrating in the near future from OpenAFS to a new technology from DataDirect Networks, Inc. (DDN), based on the General Parallel File System (GPFS). For more, see Information about upcoming changes to the Research File System at IU.
On this page:
At Indiana University, the Research File System (RFS) is a centralized storage area designed to support IU researchers. RFS is based on OpenAFS, compatible with all major operating systems, and accessible using various methods from on and off campus. RFS data are regularly backed up, and reside in physically secure environments on the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses.
IU researchers can get 100 GB of disk storage at no charge. In addition to individual user directories, RFS offers project areas for collaborative projects (e.g., research teams). All users in a project area group have access to that area, and can therefore exchange files and collaborate. Group account owners can tailor access rights for individual users within their projects. For more, see In RFS, what are projects?
RFS is HIPAA-aligned (see About IU's research systems and services and HIPAA alignment). However, RFS does not encrypt stored data, so you must encrypt electronic protected health information (ePHI) before storing it on RFS.
|System configuration||Aggregate information|
|Machine type||Research file system|
|Operating system||Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5|
|Nodes||4 file servers
4 gateway nodes
|Storage information||Aggregate information|
|Network file system protocols||OpenAFS, CIFS (Samba), SFTP/SCP, HTTPS|
|Total disk space||50 TB|
|Availability scope||Access to RFS is available to IU graduate students, faculty, and staff. Undergraduates and non-IU collaborators must have IU faculty sponsors.|
|Quotas||100 GB (default) per user, 100 GB (default) per project; increases as needed|
|Backup and purge policies||The system is backed up nightly. Data recoveries are possible within 30 days of deletion. The system is never purged.|
|Aggregate I/O||4 gbs (currently limited by network connection)|
You can access RFS from your personal computer using several methods; choose the method that best fits your work habits, operating system, and location:
Samba: The Samba interface is popular
with Windows and Mac OS X users, because it lets you map
(or mount) RFS on your desktop (like any other disk drive
or a portable storage device). Via Samba, your RFS area appears as a
desktop window filled with your folders and files. See At IU, how do I map or mount my RFS account to my workstation?
SFTP: If you routinely copy files that are 1 GB
or larger, use SFTP, a fast, secure tool specialized for
file transfer. SFTP is commonly used from the command line, but
graphical SFTP clients are also available. See At IU, can I use FTP or SFTP to access my RFS space?
RFSWeb: RFSWeb is a secure web
site that lets you navigate to your RFS storage area using your
web browser. It's accessible from on and off campus, and
compatible with most operating systems. See At IU, what is RFSWeb and how do I use it?
OpenAFS client: The OpenAFS client is a somewhat
advanced tool that works best under Linux, but Windows and
Mac OS X versions are also available. The OpenAFS client displays your
RFS storage area as part of your computer's local directory structure,
and is well suited for high-volume, high-intensity work. Installing
the client on your computer can be challenging, and it's helpful to
have experience with the finer details of your operating system. See
At IU, how do I install and configure OpenAFS on my workstation for use with the RFS?
If you have an account on Big Red or Quarry, the OpenAFS client is already installed. Your RFS storage area will appear as part of the cluster's directory structure.
Creating an account
To create an RFS account, use the IU Account Management Service:
- For individual accounts, see At IU, if I already have some computing accounts, how do I get others?
- For group accounts, see At IU, how can my group or department request a computing account?
Best uses for RFS
RFS is primarily a file system, and not intended as archival storage. Archival storage for IU researchers is available on the Scholarly Data Archive (SDA).
RFS is best suited for:
- Storing relatively small files
- Storing files that are updated frequently
Note: Your applications can open files on RFS directly if you use Samba or the OpenAFS client to access your RFS space.
- Storing frequently accessed files
- Storing files that need to be shared, especially group project work
Do not use RFS for:
- Backup storage; RFS is intended as working space, use the SDA to
- Storing concurrently updated files (e.g., Access databases)
- Storing relational database (e.g., MySQL or Postgre SQL databases)
Last modified on April 12, 2013.