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Getting Started with HPSS

Archive Migration Notice

SDSC has migrated from HPSS to the Storage and Archive Manager-Quick File System (SAM-QFS). SDSC staff will be responsible for moving all the data from HPSS to SAM-QFS.

Users are requested NOT to move their own data, as this will significantly delay the migration effort.

More Information

NOTE: Since April 2005, the pFTP HPSS interface has been permanently disabled. pFTP users are requested to use HPSS with the HSI Interface.

As long as your account and user number are active, your HPSS files are kept indefinitely, whether accessed or not. An account becomes inactive when its allocation expires. A user number becomes inactive when the account with which it is associated becomes inactive or when the principal investigator for the account requests that the user number be deleted.

When you receive an allocation on the SDSC systems, it is usually for several quarters. For example, you may be granted an allocation of 10 hours for quarter 2 of a year, 10 hours for quarter 3, 5 hours for quarter 4, and 5 hours for quarter 1 of the next year. In this case, the account is active until the end of the first quarter, at which time the allocation expires. If you apply for an additional allocation and receive it, your account will be active until the expiration of the additional allocation.

Grace Period before Files are Deleted from HPSS

After your account or user number becomes inactive, your files are kept for a grace period of 15 months following the quarter in which your account or user number became inactive. At the end of 15 months, your files will be deleted without backup. After the files are deleted, it is impossible for them to be recovered.

Even though files are kept in HPSS for a rather long grace period, you should get copies of files you want to keep before you run out of Service Units! The lengthy grace period for HPSS files is intended to assist users who are requesting extensions of their allocations, but who may have one or two quarters without an allocation. It is not intended as accessory file storage for users whose work is concluded.

Currently, 50 percent of any unused Service Units allocated to you are automatically carried over at the end of each quarter. This carryover rule applies to the first quarter following the expiration of your allocation but not the second quarter. You can easily copy HPSS files to tape, transfer them to remote sites, or move them to another user number while you still have an allocation. However, if you wait until you are out of time, getting copies of your files will be difficult.

Whether requesting an extension of the grace period or making arrangements to obtain copies of your HPSS files before they are deleted, don't wait until the last moment!

Deletion of Files from HPSS by Request

If a principal investigator requests it, HPSS files belonging to an inactive user number will be deleted before the end of the grace period. Although there is currently no charge in Service Units for HPSS file storage, such prudent use of the long-term file storage now will help keep it free.

User Numbers for Classes

If you request user numbers for use in a class, the HPSS files associated with those user numbers will be kept only until the end of the quarter in which the user numbers become inactive because the class has ended. Sometimes those files may be needed longer to complete assignments or extra-credit projects. In these cases, files for a class user number will be retained longer at the request of the account's principal investigator. Again, do not wait until the last possible moment to make such requests.


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