Archival Data Storage (Mass Storage)

Service description

Archival data storage, also referred to as mass storage, is available for Carolina researchers. The mass storage service is intended to be used for archiving research data files and storing very large files, files that are too large to fit within an individual researcher’s home directory.

Based on the SAM-FS software, mass storage space is presented to the end-user as just another directory, accessible on the central research cluster log-in nodes and accessible from any other system via secure ftp or secure copy (scp). When data files are copied to the mass storage system, they are held on disk for a period of time and then are copied to two tapes. As tapes fill, one copy tape is then stored off-site. The mass storage system may be a good choice as a replica location in an iRODS-based data grid. Several iRODS collections are currently deployed using the mass storage system’s resources.

Note that the mass storage service is not appropriate for unencrypted sensitive data. 


Mass Storage services are typically available 24/7 other than during planned maintenance periods or unanticipated emergencies (such as loss of commercial power to the data center). Planned maintenance windows are announced through the ITS Changes list and are also announced via email to subscribers to mass storage.

Customer responsibilities

Customers are responsible for appropriate use of the resources for educational and research purposes. As noted above, the mass storage service currently is not appropriate for unencrypted sensitive data. Customers are responsible for the contents of data stored here.

How we calculate charges

There are no charges for access to mass storage and no charges for data storage up to 100 GB per customer. Those needing to store larger volumes of data pay the University-approved fee for mass storage, currently $310 per half terabyte of data stored, paid every three years. This fee covers the cost of the tape media; ITS Research Computing provides the hardware infrastructure, SAM-FS software and system management at no cost to the end-user.

Help and more information

Researchers can obtain mass storage accounts by visiting the “Subscribe to Services” link at the Onyen services page, .

Additional information about the mass storage service, including how to access and how to use the service, is available at

If you would like to discuss your project’s storage needs, or if you would need to store larger volumes of data (and thus use the fee structure), contact us by submitting a Remedy ticket to Research Computing or by sending an email to

Contact Research Computing if you have storage needs associated with sensitive research data.

Mass Storage: Common FAQs