We would like to understand our options for obtaining network accessible disk space.

We heard that there is a way to buy some disk spaces maintained by computer group (w/o backup).
  1. how much will it roughly cost?
  2. how reliable is this space?
  3. how long will it take to get the disk space once we decide to buy?

We do have some Linux desktops. What if we want to buy USB disks ourself and attach it to each Linux box. Can this be accessed from batch machines?


For disk space, we recommend getting space on our central RAID server(s). We can make this available at $.75/yr/GB up to 3 yrs, and free thereafter.

Our fileservers are in environmentally-controlled computer rooms, and use redundant RAID arrays with hot-swappable disks. Thus, we are protected from single disk failures. Generally our fileservers perform well under most loads, but performance does degrade as usage goes up.

Note that although this is in a redundant disk array and very unlikely to fail, the contents are not backed up on a regular basis, thus vulnerable to accidental deletion. On an occaissional, as needed basis, we can copy disk to tape, but you have to arrange for this each time you want a copy. Of course smaller files can be kept on the /home disk which is backed up nightly.

Depending on available resources and the amount of space requested, we can usually make space available within two or three weeks. For a list of currently available filesystems, please see LnxRAIDFileSystems .

As far as attaching disks to individual systems, we have seen mixed results with using USB disks. Some have worked well, but some USB enclosures have proven problematic. Of course, anytime you're using individual disks, the chances for a failure and data loss are increased. Also, most inexpensive prepackaged USB drives use consumer grade disks and not the more reliable industrial grade disks.

It has been our policy to not export filesystems from individual systems. This has caused various network problems in the past. For maximum reliability, we try to keep exported filesystems on central servers in our environmentally-controlled computer rooms.

A list of existing RAID file system partitions, including partitions for specific projects and groups, is available at LnxRAIDFileSystems

Please email service-lepp@cornell.edu with any questions or to request disk space.

Back to: ComputingFAQ
Topic revision: r6 - 25 Mar 2009, SeldenBall
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