Difference between revisions of "Storage Options"

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== Data Classification ==
 
== Data Classification ==
Please review the different data classifications that are outlined by the [https://ucalgary.ca/legal-services/sites/default/files/teams/1/Standards-Legal-Information-Security-Classification-Standard.pdf Information Security Classification Standard]. There are [https://www.ucalgary.ca/policies/files/policies/im010-app-1_1.pdf 4 levels of data classification] which are summarized in the table below.
+
Please review the different data classifications that are outlined by the [https://ucalgary.ca/legal-services/sites/default/files/teams/1/Standards-Legal-Information-Security-Classification-Standard.pdf Information Security Classification Standard]. There are 4 levels of data classification which are summarized in the table below.
  
 
{| class="wikitable"
 
{| class="wikitable"
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When selecting a storage option, you must use one that meets or exceeds the rated security classification.
 
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:
 +
: https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=it_catalog_by_category&sys_id=4dbb82ee13661200c524fc04e144b044
  
 
== Research Data Management ==
 
== Research Data Management ==
Line 53: Line 56:
  
 
FRDR aligns with Tri-Agency Principles as a platform for Preservation, Retention and Sharing of research data. see: [http://www.science.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_83F7624E.html Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management]
 
FRDR aligns with Tri-Agency Principles as a platform for Preservation, Retention and Sharing of research data. see: [http://www.science.gc.ca/eic/site/063.nsf/eng/h_83F7624E.html Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management]
 +
  
 
== Secure Compute Data Storage (SCDS) ==
 
== Secure Compute Data Storage (SCDS) ==
Line 90: Line 94:
 
AcademicFS 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. AcademicFS 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.
 
AcademicFS 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. AcademicFS 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 ~22KM distant, so in case of an on campus disaster, your data should be safe.
+
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 AcademicFS ===
 
=== Support for AcademicFS ===
Line 119: Line 123:
 
OneDrive for Business cannot be used as a department or project share space.
 
OneDrive for Business cannot be used as a department or project share space.
 
There is no group/lab offering with OneDrive.  
 
There is no group/lab offering with OneDrive.  
 +
  
  
Line 124: Line 129:
 
it’s not the most adequate location for data the PI is accountable for 5 years upon completion of the study.  
 
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.
 
This is not a security issue, but a data management issue.
OneDrive could be great for short term needs,
+
 
but '''SCDS''' (see above) is the best option to store all research related electronic records for the long run.
 
 
For example, if a study was using a personal OneDrive of one of the researchers to store all the records,  
 
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.  
+
and the researcher was to leave the university, this OneDrive would be gone in 30 days.
That would never happen with SCDS where we are able to track discrete containers which remain associated to the PI and the REB project as one entity.
+
 
  
  
Line 134: Line 138:
 
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.
 
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.  
 
OneDrive requires Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enabled on your University of Calgary IT account.  
Line 140: Line 145:
 
UofC OneDrive data is reportedly hosted in Canada (Markham Ont).
 
UofC OneDrive data is reportedly hosted in Canada (Markham Ont).
  
=== Request Access ===
+
===Request Access===
 
To request for OneDrive for Business:
 
To request for OneDrive for Business:
# Submit your request on ServiceNow using the OneDrive for Business request form (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=sc_cat_item&sys_id=522b68ebdb83e700897e4b8b0b961997)
+
#Submit your request on ServiceNow using the OneDrive for Business request form (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=sc_cat_item&sys_id=522b68ebdb83e700897e4b8b0b961997)
# The IT Support Centre will contact you
+
#The IT Support Centre will contact you
# Set a time with IT Support Centre to turn on MFA
+
#Set a time with IT Support Centre to turn on MFA
 
# Turn on MFA
 
# Turn on MFA
# Turn on OneDrive for Business
+
#Turn on OneDrive for Business
  
=== Support for OneDrive for Business ===
+
===Support for OneDrive for Business===
 
If you have questions, please contact the IT Support Centre.
 
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.
 
: Mon – Fri: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm; Sat, Sun & holidays: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
: Live Chat: ucalgary.ca/it
+
:Live Chat: ucalgary.ca/it
: Email: itsupport@ucalgary.ca
+
:Email: itsupport@ucalgary.ca
 
: Phone: 403.220.5555
 
: Phone: 403.220.5555
: In person: 773 Math Science
+
:In person: 773 Math Science
  
=== Data recovery ===
+
===Data recovery===
  
=== Other Resources ===
+
===Other Resources===
 
For more information on OneDrive for Business:
 
For more information on OneDrive for Business:
 
* Operating Level of Agreement KB0032404 (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&sys_id=7f57bddcdb56a3047cab5068dc9619b6)
 
* Operating Level of Agreement KB0032404 (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&sys_id=7f57bddcdb56a3047cab5068dc9619b6)
* OneDrive for Business Getting Started KB0032351 (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&sys_id=60994170db2da7487cab5068dc961900)
+
*OneDrive for Business Getting Started KB0032351 (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&sys_id=60994170db2da7487cab5068dc961900)
 +
*If you are above 90% of your OneDrive quota, you can request an increase here: ( https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=sc_cat_item&sys_id=438e6d8313896a0053f2d7b2e144b0b9) PLEASE NOTE: Microsoft will only increase an allocation while the Cloud Storage is more than 90% full. Please log into your O365 cloud account to review before making your request.
  
 
Any questions regarding if data hosted on OneDrive is subject to US jurisdiction discovery or access should be directed to:
 
Any questions regarding if data hosted on OneDrive is subject to US jurisdiction discovery or access should be directed to:
* https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/research-institutes/csm-research-services/legal-research-services (CSM researchers.)
+
*https://cumming.ucalgary.ca/research-institutes/csm-research-services/legal-research-services (CSM researchers.)
* https://research.ucalgary.ca/contact/research-services (Not CSM Researchers)
+
*https://research.ucalgary.ca/contact/research-services (Not CSM Researchers)
* https://www.ucalgary.ca/legalservices/  (for teaching/learning – non research enquiries that make their way to you)
+
*https://www.ucalgary.ca/legalservices/  (for teaching/learning – non research enquiries that make their way to you)
  
== Office365 SharePoint for research groups ==
+
==Office365 SharePoint for research groups==
  
 
To be determined....
 
To be determined....
Line 175: Line 181:
 
which could be considered a group cloud sharing platform.
 
which could be considered a group cloud sharing platform.
  
== Personal storage options ==
+
==Personal storage options==
For personal or level 1 data, you may use external solutions from WestGrid or Compute Canada.
+
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''':
 +
:https://nextcloud.computecanada.ca
 +
: 100 GB of storage that can be shared between your computers.
 +
: Alliance documentation: https://docs.alliancecan.ca/wiki/Nextcloud
 +
 
 +
== Home Directories and Research Group Allocations on ARC ==
 +
 
 +
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 <code>ls</code>, <code>find</code>, and <code>du</code>) 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 (<code>/work</code> and <code>/bulk</code>) ===
 +
The principal investigator (PI) for a research group may request an extended shared allocation for the research group by contacting support@hpc.ucalgary.ca 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)
 +
* 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 or project that will use the allocation.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
'''Example 1''': "We will be processing a 3T dataset consisting of 1000 experimental runs. Each experiment will be processed to produce a 6GB output and we will need some further space for post-processing. We would like to request 12TB total.
  
* '''WestGrid ownCloud''':
+
'''Example 2''': "Our research group has 5 members with separate projects. 3 have projects that will use 1TB of data and 2 have projects that will require 3TB of data. We would like to request 10TB total."
: Information: https://www.westgrid.ca/resources_services/data_storage/cloud_storage
 
: Youtube video introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=szPNNySx_Hk&feature=emb_logo
 
: Access portal: https://owncloud.westgrid.ca/
 
* '''Compute Canada NextCloud''':
 
: https://nextcloud.computecanada.ca
 
  
  
 +
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 [[Group Storage Allocation FAQ | FAQ]].
 
[[Category:Guides]]
 
[[Category:Guides]]

Latest revision as of 18:53, 14 September 2022

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:
https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=it_catalog_by_category&sys_id=4dbb82ee13661200c524fc04e144b044

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: https://assistant.portagenetwork.ca/

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 https://library.ucalgary.ca/guides/researchdatamanagement or contact research.data@ucalgary.ca.

For support using PRISM Dataverse, UofC's institutional data repository, contact digitize@ucalgary.ca.

If you need to share and preserve your large post-publication data set for a mandated period of time, please visit https://www.frdr-dfdr.ca/repo/ 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


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

AcademicFS

AcademicFS 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 100GB with quota increases available on request.
Classification Level 1 - 2
Request Access Visit ServiceNow to request access

Service Description

You may use AcademicFS to store your active research data files. AcademicFS is intended to be used as a research group or project share. AcademicFS 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: https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=kb_article&sys_id=880e71071381ae006f3afbb2e144b05c (IT account login may be required). All AcademicFS users must have a UofC IT account.

Data recovery

AcademicFS 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. AcademicFS 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 AcademicFS

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: ucalgary.ca/it
Email: itsupport@ucalgary.ca
Phone: 403.220.5555
In person: 773 Math Science


OneDrive for Business

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

Capacity 5 TB
Classification Level 1 - 4
Request Access Visit ServiceNow to request access

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.


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

Request Access

To request for OneDrive for Business:

  1. Submit your request on ServiceNow using the OneDrive for Business request form (https://ucalgary.service-now.com/it?id=sc_cat_item&sys_id=522b68ebdb83e700897e4b8b0b961997)
  2. The IT Support Centre will contact you
  3. Set a time with IT Support Centre to turn on MFA
  4. Turn on MFA
  5. Turn on OneDrive for Business

Support for OneDrive for Business

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: ucalgary.ca/it
Email: itsupport@ucalgary.ca
Phone: 403.220.5555
In person: 773 Math Science

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.

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:
https://nextcloud.computecanada.ca
100 GB of storage that can be shared between your computers.
Alliance documentation: https://docs.alliancecan.ca/wiki/Nextcloud

Home Directories and Research Group Allocations on ARC

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 support@hpc.ucalgary.ca 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)
  • 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 or project that will use the allocation.


Example 1: "We will be processing a 3T dataset consisting of 1000 experimental runs. Each experiment will be processed to produce a 6GB output and we will need some further space for post-processing. We would like to request 12TB total."

Example 2: "Our research group has 5 members with separate projects. 3 have projects that will use 1TB of data and 2 have projects that will require 3TB of data. We would like to request 10TB 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.