Filesystem Layout

The department filesystem is centered around the concept of / (called "root") from our Linux filesystem. Some of the important volumes in our filesystem are listed below. Volumes which are "networked" can be shared across all department workstations. Non-networked volumes are specific to an individual machine.

Linux Workstation

/adminFiles to assist in the administration of departmental programs and organizationsYesSnapshots
/contribUnsupported, user-provided softwareYesSnapshots
/courseDirectories for courses and course projectsYesSnapshots
/dataLarge datasets with lesser backup needsYesDaily
/homeUser home directoriesYesSnapshots
/localTstaff-managed software and configuration specific to Brown CSYesSnapshots
/ltmpLocal, non-networked scratch space that is not backed up. Available only on Linux. Should only be used for large-scale temporary storage when reliability is not important.NoNone
/nbuNetworked scratch space that is not backed upYesNone
/researchSpace for research projects and groupsYesSnapshots
/sysvolFiles for various departmental system servicesYesVaries
/webFiles for departmental websitesYesSnapshots

Windows Workstation

On Windows, \\\dfs corresponds to / on the Linux filesystem. 

By default, this is mapped to the Y: drive on tstaff managed departmental computers. The Z: drive is mapped to your home directory:

/home/username =>  \\\dfs\home\username

Remote Access To The Filesystem

Users can access their home directory through ssh gateway using scp or through the CS VPN using the smb or cifs protocol.   See the Remote filesystem access page.

Requesting Space

All users are given personal directories in /home/username, /data/people/username, and /nbu/people/username. All users have a personal web directory in /web/cs/web/people/username.

If you would like space for a research project, course, or other group, email To request a project in /contrib, see the contrib-req command.

Undergraduates are given space in /home only. Additional space will be granted only for pursuit of course goals or faculty-sponsored research.

Backup Tiers


This is the highest level of backup which tstaff offers. In addition to nightly backups, snapshots are taken every four hours. Every directory on a volume with snapshots has a hidden .snapshots directory which you can use to access the snapshots. Visit the snapshots page for more information.


These volumes are backed up nightly, as described on the backups page. There are no snapshots.


These volumes are never backed up.


Directories in home, course, data, nbu, and research have quotas attached to them. Undergraduates' home directories have a quota of 500M. All other directories have quotas representing their maximum expected usage, which can be increased upon request by emailing

The /local/bin/gpfs-usage command will let you know what percentage of your quota you are using and how much space you have left before hitting your quota.

Legacy Volumes

The following volumes have been deprecated. The directories inside these volumes have been replaced with symbolic links to their new locations in order to maintain compatibility with old scripts and configurations. However, no new directories are being created, and new scripts should not refer to these locations.

LocationReplaced By
/proMostly /research
/tierfs/data (tier2) and /nbu (tier3)