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This is the LHCb CERN LBD group page describing locally available disk space

This Twiki corresponds to the talk given here

Old tape drives ;) --> New tape

Where to store what?

Where What? Size Backed-up Staging? path
Afs home Directory Ganga job repository, critical code you're working on, all other small files 2GB Yes   ~
Afs scratch directory Ganga job workspace, temporary ntuples, noncritical code 3GB No   ~/scratch*
Group scratch Ganga job workspace, temporary ntuples, temporary DSTs 1TB No   /afs/
User castor backup tars, large ntuples to share, old ntuples ??TB Yes Tape /castor/<a>/<another>
Grid castor Ntuples from the grid, Selected DSTs 5TB Yes Disk /castor/<a>/<another>
Group castor Output from lhcbt3 jobs, large numbers of ntuples and DSTs 30TB Yes and No Disk /castor/<somepath>

  • The size is the user limit if it is your personal resource, or the full size if it is shared.
  • The shared resources maintain a fair use policy.
  • The non-backed up spaces are volatile, do not use them for critical items.
  • The individual elements are described below.

Personal Resources:

  • Afs Home directories:
    • All CERN users can get a 1GB Afs home directory, sans approval here
    • All Lbd members can get an expansion of their Afs home directory to 2GB and an additional 3GB scratch space softlinked from their home directory.
    • Your Afs space is for code development, and storing documents, ntuples, grid jobs, that you want backed up, but are not massive files.
    • fs listquota to get the quota/usage, use separately in each scratch space
    • To obtain this increase contact RobLambert, who will forward your request

  • Castor Space:
    • All CERN users have a castor home directory, where you can store almost anything you like, put things here if they cannot fit on your Afs dir, and need it to be backed up for a long time.
    • After a while files will be stored on tape, and take some time to stage.
    • To see your usage, run: /afs/

Grid Resources:

    • LHCb has a large amount of disk space shared between all collaborators at each site
    • The CERN-USER disk, is the element located at CERN (T0)
    • your quota is around 5TB, and you should clean it regularly following the instructions here: GridStorageQuota
    • It is permanately staged to disk.
    • Use it to store large ntuples and DSTs that you got from the grid, which you want to share with others in the collaboration and which you don't want to dissapear back to tape.
    • To see your usage proportion, run: /afs/

Group Resources:

The group disk resources are to be used only if the above available resources are not appropriate. It is maintained as a shared use policy, if you are using too high a proportion you will be asked to cut down.

  • Afs group disk:
    • /afs/
    • We have a group disk on Afs.
    • It is not backed up, it is a volatile temporary storage disk.
    • the current size is 1TB, divided into 10 volumes of 100GB each
    • Keep your items inside a directory with your name, anything outside a named directory will be deleted.
    • mkdir /afs/<X>/<username>
    • Just your username, the same as you have it on afs, with no embellishments of addendums please
    • Use for collect large sets of outputs, that you can regenerate quickly, collections of small files, from many different grid jobs without the need to continuously clean your home directory.
    • to see the usage call fs listquota on each volume
    • The access list is maintained as a subgroup of z5, z5:cernlbd, to see if you are there call pts mem z5:cernlbd
    • To see the usage and check for problems call: /afs/
    • To be added to the acces list contact RobLambert
    • to change the access list of directories you have created, you need to be added to admin your own directories, contact RobLambert for that

  • t3 Castor space:
    • We have a group disk pool on Castor. Like the grid resource it is always on disk, however it does not count towards your Grid quota.
    • It is technically tied to the lhcbt3
    • The current size is 30TB.
    • You can monitor the status here
    • Once per night all files are dumped to a big list here
    • The commands for checking quota, access etc. are given below

More on the Castor disk pool:


The 30TB t3 castor disk pool is very special. It is a stager pool of disks for castor. Usually when you upload files to your castor working area, they are backed up on tape, and available on a staged disk for a short time. After which time the staged disk copy is deleted, and they need to be staged again. The lhcbt3 is a castor staging pool, files can be copied to there by being staged to there.


The access list of the t3 castor is maintained by Joel Closier. If you find yourself without access, you should get in touch with RobLambert or ThomasRuf. To see the access list call stager_listprivileges -S lhcbt3. Any lbd members should be granted access.

-How to use:

lhcbt3 is a Castor disk pool, to move things there you need a different service class. Scripts to help you out with management are kept in /afs/

To add large sets of files from other people, and/or files from central productions, it's best to use the they will be accounted against you. In the case you add files from another user, this is very very annoying, because then the only person who can remove them is Joel by issuing a specific command from a specific machine.

Command Use ExampleSorted ascending Disk usage from you of all castor elements, including lhcbt3 (can be slow) /afs/ Disk usage of all users of lhcbt3 castor element (cached from the night before) /afs/ Copy new file, or a list of new files to lhcbt31 /afs/ <source(s)> <destination> Move files between stagers from a given directory or list /afs/ <target> <svc1> [<svc2>] Remove all files from a given user, directory or list /afs/ <target> Stage existing castor file(s) from a given file, directory, or list. /afs/ <source>
STAGE_SVCCLASS Set lhcbt3 as your default staging pool unsafe2 export STAGE_SVCCLASS="lhcbt3"
rfcp Copy new file to lhcbt3 rfcp <source> <destination> [after setting STAGE_SVCCLASS ]
stager_get Stage single existing castor file into lhcbt3 stager_get -M <existing castor file> -S lhcbt3 -U $USER
stager_listprivileges To see the access list stager_listprivileges -S lhcbt3
stager_qry List files from a directory stager_qry -S lhcbt3 -M <adirectory>
stager_qry Check if file is there stager_qry -S lhcbt3 -M <existing castor file>
stager_qry List all your files stager_qry -S lhcbt3 -M /castor/<u>/<uname> -M /castor/<u>/<uname>
stager_qry Check usage of lhcbt3 stager_qry -S lhcbt3 -sH
stager_rm Remove single file only from lhcbt3 stager_rm -M <existing castor file> -S lhcbt3
  1. avoids the need to set STAGE_SVCCLASS because it spawns a subshell
  2. It's not a great idea to set STAGE_SVCCLASS, because if you forget to unset it, then every file you touch could be staged into the non-standard service class, causing bookkeeping problems

-Use in Ganga

Well, you could set the variable STAGE_SVCCLASS in your bashrc, but that would be problematic, since you would then stage into lhcbt3 any file which you touched on castor, and it's very difficult to book-keep that.

  1. If you only want to write your files to lhcbt3, instead of read files from there or stage other random files to there, then edit in your .gangarc:
    cp_cmd = /afs/
  2. If you want to access files on, stage files to and write files to lhcbt3, if and only if you are running ganga on the LSF backend, then you can edit the line in your .gangarc:
    preexecute = import os
    • You can also edit the config inside ganga dynamically to do this.
  3. Use PFNs which end in ?svcClass=<svcclass>, ganga utils' guessPFN function can add this for you.


If you are using a significant fraction of the space and somebody else needs some, you will be asked to clean up.

Removal in this respect is done sporadically or on request by RobLambert at the moment, only cleaning up if there is more than 2TB used this way, or if the files are more than 50% of the free space.

-Other service classes

  • lhcbdata, self-explanatory
  • lhcbuser, disk storage of user-generated grid files


Does staging into lhcbt3 remove the staged copy from elsewhere?


$ stager_qry -M /castor/.../stdout
/castor/...../stdout STAGED
$ stager_get -M ...../stdout -S lhcbt3
$ stager_qry -M /castor/.../stdout
/castor/...../stdout STAGED
$ stager_qry -M /castor/.../stdout -S lhcbt3
/castor/...../stdout STAGED

Can a file staged to lhcbt3 be read without setting the STAGE_SVCCLASS?

Touching the file without setting the environment variable will cause the file to stage itself onto the default disk pools, copying from lhcbt3.

This is much quicker than staging from tape, but it is probably not what you want to do.

Does unstaging the file delete it forever?

No, technically the disk pool is still backed up to tape, but according to the experts:

There is tape backing (for tape fileclass files) for recovery purposes but not enough tape resources for an aggressive use of the disk as a cache to tape.

I have no idea what that means...

I unstaged the file, but it still appears if I nsls it!

Technically the disk pool is still backed up to tape, and the file is still registered in the castor name server (NS) which is why nsls shows it.

To remove it completely you need to rfrm, just like every other file in castor.

How can I check if a volume is backed up or not?

in terms of backup, there are only two types of volumes: backed-up ones and non-backed up ones.

Rule-of-thumb volumes that have names starting with:

  • p., .u, .user: are backed up
  • q., s.: not backed up

However, this is a CERN only naming convention. To check a particular volume run

/usr/sbin/vos exa <volume name>

and look for a line starting with "Backup". If you see a date there, the volume is backed up. If you see "Never", it is not.

Can I send files to castor lhcbt3 from DIRAC?

There is no real difference between CERN-USER and lhcbt3, they are both permanently-staged CERN castor disk-pools

  • Above I describe how to send files from LSF or Local backends directly to lhcbt3 using Ganga Use in Ganga.
  • With the Dirac backend, your jobs could run anywhere in the world, and the output will usually be uploaded to the local grid storage element of the site at which they run.
  • You can either replicate them to CERN-USER or redirect the output there, then the files will be at CERN. (see Grid Resources)
  • There is only one CERN castor name server, so there is no real distinction between files on castor apart from where they are staged.
  • Once they are on CERN castor you can stage them into lhcbt3 diskpool using the above commands, but both the CERN-USER and lhcbt3 are permanently staged to disk, so this will just double your file footprint.
  • You could always stager_rm them from the other disk pools, but probably you are fine just leaving them where they are.

If you stage out of lhcbuser the files will probably just be staged back

  • the LFN to PFN conversion done by ganga and bookkeeping etc includes the service class. This will be lhcbdata or lhcbuser or lhcbdisk
  • that means if you use the catalog conversion you will then create a staging request into the old service, and thus duplicate the file
  • To avoid this, do the LFN to PFN conversion yourself, either by starting with PFNs or using the guessPFN function in ganga utils
  • If anyone else uses these files, they would also have to do the same trick, otherwise they will double your footprint.

Can I swap files between service classes?

Yes. Stage into one service class, stage out of the other service class. Use lhcbt3_mv for that. But be aware the files might just come back (see above).

Can I share my afs disk space with other people?

Yes, this should be possible. You should have admin rights on your own directory, call fs listacl. If not, contact RobLambert to fix. Then you should be able to modify your directories to be readable or writable by others, but note that if you make them writable by others, anything they write will count against your usage.

To modify the access list you will need to do fs setacl <directory> <user or group> <setting>

Once you have modified a top level directory, you will need to propagate it to all sub directories where you want that access. To do that a simple way is cp -r since new directories use new permissions, but if that is not possible you will have to recursively change all the permissions.

For more on acl see here:

Management Instructions:

See CernLbdDiskManagement.

-- RobLambert - 11-Nov-2010

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
JPEGjpg old_tape.jpg r1 manage 51.9 K 2010-11-11 - 18:16 RobLambert Tape!
JPEGjpg storagetek.jpg r1 manage 10.3 K 2010-11-11 - 18:18 RobLambert New tape
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Topic revision: r28 - 2011-05-31 - RobLambert
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