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Using ResearchDrive

ResearchDrive is a University-funded and DoIT-provided data storage system available to all faculty PIs and academic staff with permanent PI status, and their research teams. Each PI is given 25TB of data storage free. ResearchDrive is accessible from your own computer, Winstat, Linstat, and the Slurm cluster.

ResearchDrive is secure enough for most research data. SSCC researchers who use restricted or sensitive data will generally need to work in Silo.

Why Should You Use ResearchDrive

There are some advantages of ResearchDrive over SSCC network drives:

  • You can share files with anyone at UW-Madison, even if they don’t have an SSCC account. (There is a process for providing NetIDs to collaborators outside UW-Madison.)
  • Enterprise-grade data storage is very expensive, and ResearchDrive is fully funded by the University. Storing your data in ResearchDrive will reduce both the cost of running the Social Science Computing Cooperative and the amount your department or research center pays to be a member.

However, there are several disadvantages of ResearchDrive compared to SSCC network drives:

  • Users need to manually map ResearchDrive on each computer they use, rather than it being mapped automatically.
  • Connections to ResearchDrive from SSCC Linux servers must be renewed every seven days. However, once a job starts, it will be able to access ResearchDrive until it finishes, even after seven days.
  • Complex permission schemes are difficult to implement in ResearchDrive.
  • ResearchDrive only retains backups of deleted files for one month, compared to a year for SSCC, and does not retain as many versions of files.
  • If you need more than 25TB of data, the cost for additional space in ResearchDrive is higher than the cost of SSCC storage.

We suggest using ResearchDrive if your data storage needs are greater than a 250GB, less than 25TB, and you don’t need complex permissions

Getting Access to ResearchDrive

Only PIs are eligible to request space in ResearchDrive. If you are a PI, you or your designee can fill out the ResearchDrive Sign Up Form.

If you are not a PI but would like to use ResearchDrive, you need to identify a PI who is willing to share their space with you. For graduate students, this is most likely to be your advisor.

PIs, if someone asks you about ResearchDrive and you are not using it, we encourage you to request your 25TB and make it available to your collaborators, especially graduate students.

Giving Someone Access to Your ResearchDrive

Permissions in ResearchDrive are managed by a tool called Manifest. You are welcome to use Manifest to manage permissions yourself, but it’s not very intuitive. We suggest you let SSCC staff manage permissions for you.

Letting the SSCC Manage Permissions

For those in the Economics, Sociology, and Anthropology departments, SSCC staff are automatically granted access to manage permissions for your ResearchDrive. If you are not in one of these departments, email the ResearchDrive team at and request that SSCC staff be allowed to manage permissions for your ResearchDrive.

Due to the sensitive nature of SMPH data, SSCC staff cannot manage ResearchDrive permissions for SMPH researchers. SMPH researchers should contact SMPH IT for assistance with managing ResearchDrive permissions.

Once SSCC staff have access to manage permissions for your ResearchDrive, you can request that we add users, remove users, etc. by contacting the SSCC Help Desk, just like with SSCC project directories.

Connecting to ResearchDrive

ResearchDrive is available from anywhere on the UW-Madison campus network or off-campus via VPN. On your own computer or Wisntat, you can map a drive to it just like SSCC network drives. Performance is generally comparable to SSCC drives.

Connecting to ResearchDrive from Linux and Slurm

To access ResearchDrive from Linstat, run the command rdmount from the command line on any linstat computer. When prompted, provide your NetID password. Your ResearchDrive instance will be available for 7 days on that computer. If your SSCC account name is different from your NetID, and rdmount asks for your SSCC username instead of your NetID, please send an email to the help desk explaining the situation. We can change your SSCC username to match your NetID.

Once you use rdmount to connect to ResearchDrive on Linstat, the connection will also be available to any jobs you submit to Slurm. The drive will be mounted at the location /researchdrive/<Your-NetID>.

Connecting to your Own ResearchDrive

Here's an example for the SSCC account bbadger whose NetID is also bbadger (substitute your NetID where present in bold text):

[bbadger@linstat1]~% rdmount
Password for bbadger@AD.WISC.EDU:
[bbadger@linstat1]~% cd /researchdrive/bbadger

For longer use, you can re-run rdmount any time within the 10-hour access window to extend your access to 7 days from the last time you ran rdmount on the same linstat host.

The complete usage for rdmount follows:

 rdmount [--netid <NetID>] [ResearchDrive-instance] 

Connecting to Someone Else's ResearchDrive

Example 1:

 % rdmount rraccoon

Mount the ResearchDrive instance for Regdab Raccoon, whose NetID is rraccoon. Dr. Raccoon has granted bbadger access to their ResearchDrive instance using the UW Manifest tool. Dr. Raccoon’s folder will be available to bbadger at /ResearchDrive/rraccoon.

Remember, it is a violation of UW policy to share your NetID and password with any other person.

Transferring Data To and From ResearchDrive

You can move data to and from ResearchDrive using standard tools, including drag-and-drop for all but the largest transfers. The following articles describe more options.

Quotas and Pricing

If you need more than 25TB of storage, ResearchDrive charges $120/TB/year (billed to a DoIT number). You can request more space using the ResearchDrive Account Modification Form. SSCC storage costs roughly $88/TB/year so we recommend using it instead for storage beyond 25TB.

Backup and Restoring Files

The SSCC does not handle backups or restoring files from ResearchDrive. Data stored on ResearchDrive is automatically backed up daily and replicated offsite for additional data protection. Snapshots are taken once a day and kept for 14 days and then weekly snapshots are kept for five weeks. This allows you to recover accidentally deleted or files or folders within the past month. Refer to ResearchDrive - Restoring Files or Folders from Snapshots for more details. If you need further assistance with restoring files from Research Drive, you will need to contact the ResearchDrive team at

Keywordsresearchdrive research drive storage   Doc ID102687
OwnerRussell D.GroupSocial Science Computing Cooperative
Created2020-05-31 10:22:44Updated2024-04-11 16:18:00
SitesSocial Science Computing Cooperative
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