Storage Options

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There are a few options researchers can take advantage of when storing their research data.

Data Classification

Please review the different data classifications that are outlined by the Information Security Classification Standard. There are 4 levels of data classification which are summarized in the table below.

Level Description Example
Level 1 Public
  • Reference data sets
  • Published research data
Level 2 Internal
  • Internal memos
  • Unpublished research data
  • Anonymized or de-identified human subject data
  • Library transactions and journals
Level 3 Confidential
  • Faculty/staff employment applications, personnel files, contact information
  • Donor or prospective donor information
  • Contracts
  • Intellectual property
Level 4 Restricted
  • Patient identifiable health information
  • identifiable human subject research data
  • information subject to special government requirements

When selecting a storage option, you must use one that meets or exceeds the rated security classification.

  • See also the Collaboration, storage and file shares article in Service Now:

Research Data Management

We recommend you follow good Research Data Management practices and ensure you have a DMP (Data Management Plan) created to guide your data's lifecycle. DMP Assistant has been created specifically for Canadian scholars and aims to meet any and all Tri-Agency requirements. See:

Your DMP can help us support the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) principles for data management.

Please consider contacting Libraries and Cultural Resources for assistance. For guidance on general data management and developing a DMP, consult or contact

For support using PRISM Dataverse, UofC's institutional data repository, contact

If you need to share and preserve your large post-publication data set for a mandated period of time, please visit in order to learn more about the national Federated Research Data Repository.

FRDR aligns with Tri-Agency Principles as a platform for Preservation, Retention and Sharing of research data. see: Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management

University of Calgary RCS storage services

Secure Compute Data Storage (SCDS)

Secure Computing Data Storage (SCDS) is a service provided by Research Computing Services that allows researchers to store restricted and confidential data. Collaboration with Level 4 data stored in SCDS is possible using ShareFile, a secure file sharing and collaboration tool by Citrix.

Capacity 10 GB or more
Classification Level 4
Learn More Visit The SCDS Website
Request Access Visit ServiceNow to request access


ResearchFS is a UofC hosted SMB/CIFS storage solution funded and operated by RCS. It is available by request to faculty and staff with active research data.

Capacity 1TB with quota increases available on request.
Classification Level 1 - 2
Request Access Visit ServiceNow to request access

Service Description

You may use ResearchFS to store your active research data files. ResearchFS is intended to be used as a research group or project share. ResearchFS is available on campus or off campus using the IT supported VPN client. Information on how to download and install the VPN client can be found here: (IT account login may be required). All ResearchFS users must have a UofC IT account.

Data recovery

ResearchFS does daily snapshots at a bit past midnight, which it keeps for 30 days. You should be able to recover a deleted file for up to 30 days, if it was in your share overnight. If you create a file and delete it during a day, no snapshot will be available for you to recover. ResearchFS presents backups using the windows OS 'previous versions' functionality. If you are not familiar with using this, or if you are on a Linux or MacOS device, you can request a restore, with Service Now.

For backup, we replicate changes to a distant data center every hour. The storage hardware which hosts your data is located in the basement of the Math Sciences building and our backup is in the HRIC building, so in case of an on campus disaster, your data should be safe.

Support for ResearchFS

If you have questions, please contact the IT Support Centre.

Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm; Sat, Sun & holidays: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Live Chat:
Phone: 403.220.5555
In person: 773 Math Science

University of Calgary IT storage services

  • Information Technologies Storage usage guide:

OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is a storage solution provided by Microsoft and is available to all faculty and staff.

Capacity 5 TB with quota increases available on request.
Classification Level 1 - 4

You may use OneDrive for Business to store your personal and work related files. Files stored within OneDrive are by default private only to you but has the option to allow sharing and collaboration with others. OneDrive for Business cannot be used as a department or project share space. There is no group/lab offering with OneDrive.

While OneDrive provides a secure/compliant location from an IT Security stand point, it’s not the most adequate location for data the PI is accountable for 5 years upon completion of the study. This is not a security issue, but a data management issue.

For example, if a study was using a personal OneDrive of one of the researchers to store all the records, and the researcher was to leave the university, this OneDrive would be gone in 30 days.

MS has an automation capability for their O365 products. If you have a windows OS machine, you can use the automation product ‘Flow’ to copy a file to a local file system when a new file is created on OneDrive.

To back up data residing on ARC to your personal OneDrive allocation please see: How to transfer data#rclone: rsync for cloud storage

OneDrive requires Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enabled on your University of Calgary IT account.

More information can be located in the following article

UofC OneDrive data is reportedly hosted in Canada (Markham Ont).

Support for OneDrive

If you have questions, please contact the UService Support Centre. Phone:403.210.9300 1.888.342.3802 Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed over the lunch hour) Walk-in service Math Sciences 7th floor, Room 773 Tues - Thurs: 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Data recovery

Other Resources

For more information on OneDrive for Business:

Any questions regarding if data hosted on OneDrive is subject to US jurisdiction discovery or access should be directed to:

Office365 SharePoint for research groups

To be determined....

Researchers will be able to request an Office 365 SharePoint site for a group at some point in the future which could be considered a group cloud sharing platform.

  • The official service page:

Digital Research Alliance of Canada storage services

Storage on the Alliance HPC clusters

  • Alliance Wiki article "Storage and file management":

Personal storage options

For personal or level 1 data, you may use an external solution from the Alliance. One has to have an Alliance account to use the service. This is similar to DropBox or Google drive functionality.

  • The Alliance NextCloud:
100 GB of storage that can be shared between your computers.
Alliance documentation:

Commercial Cloud Based Storage Options


Provided by Amazon Web Services, Inc..

AWS provides very many different kinds of services, including storage services.

These options can be a solution for your research needs, but

  • it can be expensive, depending on your needs and the amount of data;
  • pricing schema is complex and can be confusing for new users;
  • the number of options can be overwhelming. A lot of it is designed to provide pricing flexibility, not to increase functionality.

The key points:

  • Uploading data to AWS is free.
  • Storing data on AWS storage is a paid service.
  • Downloading data from AWS storage to your computer is a paid service.

ARC Cluster Storage

ARC storage is used to support workflows on the ARC computing cluster. The expectation is that storage on ARC will only be used for active and upcoming computational projects. It is not suitable for long-term or archival storage as it is not backed-up and is not guaranteed to be available for the time periods that are typical of archiving. ARC is a research cluster, which means it has high performance but can be stopped for required maintenance when needed. Thus, ARC cannot be relied on for any kind of service that requires constant availability. Which means, in turn that ARC's storage cannot and should not be used as a main storage facility for research data. The master copy of research data should be stored elsewhere and only part of that data are expected to be copied to ARC for computational analysis.

Home Directories

Every user account on ARC has a static 500GB allocation of storage and a maximum of 1.5 million files (including directories). This cannot be increased or decreased. Home directory storage is connected via a network file system to the rest of the cluster and supports fast data transfer to memory on compute nodes. This also means that basic file system commands (like ls, find, and du) take longer to run as the number of files in your home directory increases. In particular, we strongly encourage users to stay under 100000 files if it is at all possible. This can be achieved by combining smaller data files into single larger files, using structured data formats rather than large number of text files, or combining collections of files that will be used together into archives (tar, dar, etc). Since top level permissions on home directories are set to prevent other users from reading or executing, home directories are not suitable for sharing data directly with colleagues working on ARC. A Research Group Allocation is a more appropriate place for storing shared data or very large data sets that will be used as part of active computational projects.

Research Group Allocations (/work and /bulk)

The principal investigator (PI) for a research group may request an extended shared allocation for the research group by contacting with answers to the following questions (please copy the full text of the questions into your email and write answers under it):

  • How much storage is requested and why is that the amount that you need?

A rationale for a request can be a formal data management plan or something more informal like a rough estimate to the primary dataset used for a project and a rough estimate to the size of outputs expected from your computations that are planned to run on ARC over the next year.

  • What is the requested allocation name? (typically something like <PI name>_lab, smith_lab, for example)
  • What is the data classification using the University of Calgary data security classification system?
  • Which user or users would be the owner of the allocation? (Full Name and UCalgary Email address, typically the requesting PI but there may be co-PIs)
  • Which members of the allocation should be able to request access for new users? (Full Name and UCalgary Email address for active ARC users)
  • What is the faculty of the owner or owners?
  • Please provide a short description of the lab.
  • Please provide a brief numerical estimate of the required storage space based on projects that will use the allocation and their storage requirements .

Example 1: "We will be processing a 1T dataset by performing 100 experimental runs. Each experiment will be processed to produce a 6GB output, giving 600GB of the total output data. We will also need 400GB additional space for post-processing and data management. Thus, we would like to request 2TB of shared space in total."

Example 2: "3 members of our research group need additional shared space on ARC for their independent projects. Project 1 starts with 100GB of initial data and is expected to generate 800GB of the output results. Project 2 is going to use simulations and does not use any input data but is expected to generate 2TB of the simulated data for further processing. The processing will require 200GB of additional space. Project 3 will be working on a 1TB dataset and is expected to generate about 1TB of the output data. These projects, therefore, will require 5.1TB of storage. For convenience of data manipulation and management we would also like to have additional 400GB of extra storage space. Therefore, we would like to request 5.5TB of shared storage space in total."

Work and Bulk storage can be considerably larger than the home directory allocations. However, there are limits on what RCS can provide as ARC storage provides high-speed access and is expensive to purchase. Typically, any request over 10TB will require some discussion. Work and Bulk allocations differ in a few ways that influence how they are used. Work storage is faster to access as part of computational jobs on ARC although the impact is small for jobs that don't involve enormous numbers of reads. Bulk storage is designed to be a target for instrument data (which is typically processed in a way that reads data a small number of times per job) and is capable of mounting instruments elsewhere on campus using SMB. A number of questions come up frequently about Work and Bulk storage and these are addressed in an FAQ.

How to a add group member to the access list (/work and /bulk)?

Any group member who wants to use the shared storage, should send an email to the to be added to the access group and CC the PI/ data owner. This will confirm that the PI approves the group member's request access to the shared storage. Please note that the access permissions inside the directory are expected to be managed by the data owners.

Archive Storage

Archive storage for data sets supporting published research is available through the Federated Research Data Repository (FRDR). FRDR is a bilingual publishing platform for sharing and preserving Canadian research data. It is a curated, general-purpose repository, custom built for large datasets. FRDR is run by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada.

For more information on FRDR visit their web site: