About home directory space on IU research supercomputers

On this page:


Home directory space for individuals and groups with accounts on the Indiana University research supercomputers is hosted on Geode, IU's disk-based, online storage service.

To request an account on an Indiana University research system, see Get additional IU computing accounts. Account availability depends on your eligibility.

Home directories are backed up once a month. Additionally, daily snapshots are taken of each directory and stored in hidden .snap directories, allowing users to recover their deleted or corrupted files. Thirty days' worth of snapshots are accessible; for more, see Recover deleted or corrupt files from your home directory or Geode-Project space on the IU research supercomputers.


Before storing data on any of Indiana University's research computing or storage systems, make sure you understand the information in Types of sensitive institutional data appropriate for UITS Research Technologies services.

Make sure you do not include sensitive institutional data as part of a file's filename or pathname.

Appropriate use

Your home directory space is intended for low-capacity, low-performance uses, such as storing documentation, configuration files, source files, and data files needed to run batch and/or interactive jobs on IU's research supercomputers. Your home directory space is not intended for storing large data sets, nor is it capable of handling data-intensive computational I/O from parallel compute jobs; other Research Technologies systems are provided for those purposes:

Home directory paths

When you create an account on one or more of IU's research supercomputers, your home directory space is created automatically within the file system path /N/u/username/supercomputer; replace username with your IU username and supercomputer with the name of the supercomputer (for example, /N/u/username/BigRed200).

You can navigate your home directory space and manage your files using basic command-line utilities.

System Home directory path
Big Red 200 /N/u/username/BigRed200
Quartz /N/u/username/Quartz

For more, see this document's Navigate your home directory space(s) and manage your files section, below.

Home directory allocations (storage quotas)

By default, IU research supercomputer users are allocated 100 GB of home directory space with a maximum file limit of 800,000 files. When you have accounts on more than one IU research supercomputer, your home directory allocation is shared among those accounts.

To check your quota, use the quota command from the command line of any IU research supercomputer. If the quota command is not already loaded by default, use the module load quota command to add it to your environment. The quota command displays disk (data) quotas and usage for your home directory space on the research supercomputers, your space on Slate, and your space on the Scholarly Data Archive (SDA), as applicable.

When you exceed your home directory data quota or file limit, the system returns a disk or file quota error to the application you are using. If you reach or exceed the data or file quota while a job is running, the job will continue to run, but it will be unable to append or create output files in your home directory. As long as your home directory remains over quota, you (and the jobs you run) will not have access to additional storage space. To bring your home directory back under quota, delete unneeded files, and archive needed files on the SDA or another storage resource (for options, see Available access to allocated and short-term storage capacity on IU's research systems).


Files containing PHI must be encrypted when they are stored (at rest) and when they are transferred between networked systems (in transit). To ensure that files containing PHI are encrypted when they are stored, encrypt them before transferring them to storage. To ensure that files containing PHI remain encrypted during transit, use SFTP/SCP or the IU Globus Web App. For more, see Recommended tools for encrypting data containing HIPAA-regulated PHI.

When in support of research activities, home directory quota increases may be granted. If you need home directory disk space, and other allocated storage options do not meet your needs, email the UITS Research Storage team (store-admin@iu.edu). Users who need even larger home directory allocations can request additional storage for a nominal annual fee.

Access your home directory space


Once your account on an IU research supercomputer is created , you can use any of the following methods to access your home directory space.

If you have home directory space on more than one IU research supercomputer, you can navigate the file system and manage files in each space without having to make separate SSH or SFTP connections.

For example, if you have accounts on Quartz and Big Red 200, connecting via SSH to quartz.uits.iu.edu places you on the command line in your Quartz home directory. You should see the following command prompt (with username replaced by your IU username):

[username@h2 ~]$

From there, you can:

  • Navigate between your home directory spaces: To move from your Quartz home directory to your Big Red 200 home directory, at the command prompt, enter:
    cd ../BigRed200

    The command prompt will change to indicate your current location in the file system (with username replaced with your IU username):

    [username@h2 BigRed200]$

    To automatically return to your Quartz home directory, at the command prompt, enter:

  • List the files stored in another home directory space: From your Quartz home directory, you can list the files in your home directory; at the command prompt, enter:
    ls ../BigRed200

    You should see a simple listing of the files in your Big Red 200 home directory; for example:

    file1 file2 matlab_script
  • Copy a file from another home directory space: From your Quartz home directory, to copy a file (for example, matlab_script) that is stored in your Big Red 200 home directory and save it to your Quartz home directory, at the command prompt, enter:
    cp ../BigRed200/matlab_script ~/
  • Create a new subdirectory in another home directory space: From your Quartz home directory, to create a new subdirectory (for example, R_files) in your Big Red 200 home directory, at the command prompt enter:
    mkdir ../BigRed200/R_files
  • Move a file to another home directory space: From your Quartz home directory, to move a file (for example, R_input.R) in your Quartz home directory to your Big Red 200 home directory, at the command prompt, enter:
    mv R_input.R ../BigRed200

    Alternatively, to move the same file to the R_files subdirectory created in the previous example, at the command prompt, enter:

    mv R_input.R ../BigRed200/R_files

The directory path, including file name, of any stored object may not exceed 4,096 bytes in length.

Share access with other IU research supercomputer users

To set up shared access to files and subdirectories in your home directory space for other IU research supercomputer users:

  1. Direct users to whom you are granting access to email the UITS Research Storage team (store-admin@iu.edu) to request network access for their IU usernames.
  2. Set up Access Control Lists (ACLs) for granting individual- and/or group-level access to specific files and/or subdirectories in your home directory space; for instructions, see Share access to your home directory space or Geode-Project space with other IU research supercomputer users.

Work with PHI

The Research Technologies division of UITS provides several systems and services that meet certain requirements established in the HIPAA Security Rule thereby enabling their use for research involving data that contain protected health information (PHI). However, using a UITS Research Technologies resource does not fulfill your legal responsibilities for protecting the privacy and security of data containing PHI. You may use these resources for research involving data containing PHI only if you institute additional administrative, physical, and technical safeguards that complement those UITS already has in place.

If you have questions about securing HIPAA-regulated research data at IU, email securemyresearch@iu.edu. SecureMyResearch provides self-service resources and one-on-one consulting to help IU researchers, faculty, and staff meet cybersecurity and compliance requirements for processing, storing, and sharing regulated and unregulated research data; for more, see About SecureMyResearch. To learn more about properly ensuring the safe handling of PHI on UITS systems, see the UITS IT Training video Securing HIPAA Workflows on UITS Systems. To learn about division of responsibilities for securing PHI, see Shared responsibility model for securing PHI on UITS systems.

Get help

For help learning how to use command-line Unix/Linux, see Unix basics.

Geode, the service that hosts IU research supercomputer home directories, is operated by the Research Storage team within the Research Technologies division of UITS. If you have questions about your home directory space, or need help, email the UITS Research Storage team (store-admin@iu.edu).

This is document auad in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2024-06-10 15:45:12.