Skip to content

Cluster Storage

Along with access to the compute clusters we provide each research group with cluster storage space for research data. The storage is separated into three quotas: Home, Project, and 60-day Scratch. Each of these quotas limit both the amount in bytes and number of files you can store. Hitting your quota stops you from being able to write data, and can cause jobs to fail. You can monitor your storage usage by running the getquota command on a cluster. No sensitive data can be stored on any cluster storage, except for Milgram.


The only storage backed up on every cluster is Home. Please see our HPC Policies page for additional information about backups.

HPC Storage Quotas


Quota: 125 GiB and 500,000 files per person

Your home directory is where your sessions begin by default. Its intended use is for storing scripts, notes, final products (e.g. figures), etc. Its path is /home/netid (where netid is your Yale netid) on every cluster. Home storage is backed up daily. If you would like to restore files, please contact us with your netid and the list of files/directories you would like restored.


Quota: 1 TiB and 5,000,000 files per group, expanded to 4 TiB on request

Project storage is intended for storing datasets and other files that you would like for your group to all have access to. You can also share data with people more granularly. It is good practice to have a second copy somewhere off-cluster of any valuable data you have stored in project because project storage is not backed up.

We create a symlink, or shortcut, in every home directory called project, but the true path to your project directory is different. You can get it by running the mydirectories command or with

readlink -f ~/project

Purchased Storage

Quota: varies

Storage purchased for the dedicated use by a single group or collection of groups provides similar functionality as project storage and is also not backed up. See below for details on purchasing storage. Purchased storage, if applicable, is located at in the /gpfs/<filesystem>/pi/ directory under the group's name.

60-Day Scratch

Quota: 20 TiB and 15,000,000 files per group

60-day scratch is intended to be used for storing temporary data. Any file in this space older than 60 days will automatically be deleted. We send out a weekly warning about files we expect to delete the following week. Like Project, scratch60 quota is shared by your entire research group. If we begin to run low on storage, you may be asked to delete files younger than 60 days old.

We create a symlink, or shortcut, in every home directory called scratch60, but the true path to your scratch60 directory is different. You can get it by running the mydirectories command or with

readlink -f ~/scratch60

Check Your Quotas

To inspect your current usage, run the command getquota. Here is an example output of the command:

This script shows information about your quotas on the current gpfs filesystem.
If you plan to poll this sort of information extensively, please contact us
for help at

## Usage Details for hpcprog (as of Nov 20 2019 05:00)
Fileset       User  Usage (GiB) File Count
------------- ----- ---------- -------------
project       ahs3          82        33,788
project       cag94          0             1
project       kln26        366       533,998
project       njc2           0             1
project       pl543        115       259,212
project       tl397        370       529,026
scratch60     ahs3           0            89
scratch60     cag94          0             1
scratch60     kln26       2510       714,703
scratch60     njc2           0             1
scratch60     pl543          0             6
scratch60     tl397      13056       282,212

## Quota Summary for hpcprog (as of right now)
Fileset       Type    Usage (GiB)   Quota (GiB)  File Count    File Limit    Backup    Purged
------------- ------- ------------ ----------- ------------- ------------- --------- ---------
home.grace    USR               39         100       190,055       200,000 Yes        No
project       GRP              707        6144     1,611,981     5,000,000 No         No
scratch60     GRP             4054       20480       987,336     5,000,000 No         60 days

The per-user breakdown is only generated periodically, and the summary at the bottom is close to real-time. Purchased storage allocations will only appear in the getquota output for users who have data in that directory.

Get More Storage

Additional project storage spaces can be purchased on our Gibbs filesystem, which provides similar functionality to the primary project storage. This storage currently costs $200/TiB (minimum of 10 TiB, with exact pricing to be confirmed before a purchase is made). The price covers all costs, including administration, power, cooling, networking, etc. YCRC commits to making the storage available for 5 years from the purchase date, after which the storage allocation will need to be renewed, or the allocation will expire and be removed (see Storage Expiration Policy).

Please note that, as with existing project storage, this storage will not be backed up, so you should make arrangements for the safekeeping of critical files off the clusters. Please contact us with your requirements and budget to start the purchasing process.

HPC Storage Best Practices

Staging Data

Large datasets are often stored off-cluster on departmental servers, Storage@Yale, in cloud storage, etc. If these data are too large to fit in your current quotas and you do not plan on purchasing more storage (see above), you must 'stage' your data. Since the permanent copy of the data remains on off-cluster storage, you can transfer a working copy to scrach60, for example. Both grace and farnam have dedicated transfer partitions where you can submit long-running transfer jobs. When your computation finishes you can remove the copy and transmit or copy results to a more permanent location. Please see Staging Data for more details and examples.

Prevent Large Numbers of Small Files

The parallel filesystems the clusters use perform poorly with very large numbers of small files. This is one reason we enforce file count quotas. If you are running an application that unavoidably make large numbers of files, do what you can to reduce file creation. Delete unneeded files between jobs and compress or archive collections of files.

Backups and Snapshots

Retrieve Data from Home Backups

Contact us with your netid and the list of files/directories you would like restored.

Retrieve Data from Snapshots (Milgram and Slayman)

Milgram runs snapshots nightly on portions of the filesystem so that you can retrieve mistakenly modified or removed files for yourself. As long as your files existed in the form you want them in before the most recent midnight, they can probably be recovered. Snapshot directory structure mirrors the files that are being tracked with a prefix, listed in the table below.

File set Snapshot Prefix
/gpfs/slayman/pi/gerstein /gpfs/slayman/pi/gerstein/.snapshots
/gpfs/milgram/home /gpfs/milgram/home/.snapshots
/gpfs/milgram/project /gpfs/milgram/project/groupname/.snapshots

For example, if you wanted to recover the file /gpfs/milgram/project/bjornson/rdb9/ (a file in the bjornson group's project directory owned by rdb9) it would be found at /gpfs/milgram/project/bjornson/.snapshots/$(date +%Y%m%d-0000)/rdb9/ .

Snapshot sizes

Because of the way snapshots are stored, sizes will not be correctly reported until you copy your files/directories back out of the .snapshots directory.

Other Storage Options

If you or your group finds HPC storage does not accommodate your needs, please see the off-cluster research data storage page or the ITS Storage Finder.

Last update: September 21, 2020