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 "shared" accessible to all department workstations. Non-shared volumes are specific to an individual machine.  Shares marked "SMB" can be accessed as remote volumes on personal and research machines.

Linux Workstation

Location Usage Shared SMB Backups
/admin Files to assist in the administration of departmental programs and organizations Yes Yes Snapshots
/contrib Unsupported, user-provided software Yes No Snapshots
/course Directories for courses and course projects Yes Yes Snapshots
/data Large datasets with lesser backup needs Yes Yes Daily
/home User home directories Yes Yes Snapshots
/local Tstaff-managed software and configuration specific to Brown CS Yes No Snapshots
/ltmp Local, 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. No No None
/nbu Networked scratch space that is not backed up Yes Yes None
/research Space for research projects and groups Yes Yes Snapshots
/sysvol Files for various departmental system services Yes No Varies
/web Files for departmental websites Yes Yes Snapshots

Remote Access To The Filesystem

Users can access their home directory through the ssh gateway using scp or through the CS VPN using the SMB 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.

Location Replaced By
/pro Mostly /research
/com /local
/auto Various
/tierfs /data (tier2) and /nbu (tier3)
/map Various
/ws Various