Using IRMACS Storage

Using IRMACS storage in the IRMACS labs

The IRMACS lab machines will mount your personal share and the IRMACS project folder automatically when you log in. It is important to note that as of the 2012 transition/upgrade in IRMACS (see here for more details), any files in your home folder on the local machine are not backed up. For important files, please store your files on the IRMACS personal network share or in the IRMACS projects folder.

You should see two icons on your Desktop, these are network shares that will get mounted every time you login on any computer. Their names should be pretty self-explanitory. Your personal network folder will be called username-irmacs and can be found in the personal share. Only you will be able to create files and folders inside your personal network folder, and its content are not browsable by anyone else.

If your group has a project folder it will be available on the projects share. Only you and your team will be able to access it.

Using IRMACS storage on the SFU campus

One of the key features of the new IRMACS model of storage is that you can access your personal and project storage from anywhere on campus. You can either mount the shares as follows:

On the Mac:

  • Click Finder→Go→Connect to Server (⌘+K with the Finder focused)
  • Type: cifs://
  • You should be asked for your credentials, enter and your SFU ID password
  • Select the share you would like to mount (ex: personal, project)

On Windows:

  • Open an explorer window (windows+E)
  • Type: \\
  • You should be asked for your credentials, enter and your SFU ID password
  • Browse to the share you want

Accessing IRMACS storage from home

Accessing IRMACS storage from home is possible by using a SCP of SFTP client such as WinSCP (Windows) or CyberDuck (OSX). By connecting to and logging in with your SFU credentials, you will be able to access your files from your personal share (~/mnt/personal/USERNAME-irmacs) and the project folder (~/mnt/projects). There is documentation for accessing your files in this manner available.

Copying Data between Compute Canada and IRMACS

It is currently not possible to mount the IRMACS storage allocation on Compute Canada (CC) resources to local machines. Thus it is necessary to copy data from CC resources to IRMACS storage if you want to work on data generated on Compute Canada infrastructure using your IRMACS (or home) workstations. There are currently three ways of copying data from CC resources to local computers:

  • Using a SCP of SFTP client such as WinSCP (Windows) and CyberDuck (OSX). This allows you to connect to CC machine using your CC credentials and see, navigate, and copy files to IRMACS systems. Documentation for how to connect to CC resources using such packages can be found here.
  • Using SSHFS, a file system over SSH layer. This allows you to have a pseudo mount of the CC file system on your local machine. The file system will appear in your local file system browser as a disk, much like any other disk. Although relatively low performance, SSHFS is useful for exploring and transferring small file, but is not efficient for small fiels. I call this a "pseudo-mount" of the file system because it does not support sophisticated file system semantics. It is strongly recommended that you turn off file system caching in the client settings to avoid data corruption, especially if you happen to edit files on the CC machine at the same time as you have a SSHFS connection open. More documentation on using SSHFS on CC systems can be found here.
  • Using Globus Online to transfer files. Globus Online is an easy to use, web based tool to move data between HPC resources and users local computers. Globus Online uses GridFTP to manage the copies, including monitoring performance, retrying failed transfers, recovering from faults automatically whenever possible, and reporting status. No custom infrastructure is required – Globus Online is software-as-a-service that can be used today without building these features yourself. Details on how to use Globus Online with CC resrouces can be found here.