Draft – Managing network storage

Here’s a first draft of a document I’ve written, mostly to make the ‘Your file server quota is [almost] full’ email alert short and sweet. But this is probably a reasonably generic topic, so it will get posted to the ETS website. Your comments are welcome.

update: This has been posted to the ETS website at http://www.uvm.edu/ets/faq/?Page=managing_network_storage.htm

Managing your network storage

This document contains recommendations for reducing the amount of space your files consume, specifically on the Campus File Services file server. The advice, however, should be generally applicable to reducing file space consumption across other services as well.

Network-accessible storage has many advantages over local hard drives. Files stored in these locations are often accessible from a variety of locations and methods. These files also are backed-up to a robust back-up facility, making it possible to recover overwritten or deleted files. These features aren't usually available on your local desktop or laptop hard drive.

However, these features do come at a premium. These services are costly, and the amount of storage available to each individual is limited. Within the Campus File Services environment, user accounts are allocated 3 Gigabytes of individual storage. This is separate from the departmental storage.

This space is visible to you as "My Documents" and your H: drive when you log into your CAMPUS\NETID account on a Windows computer. The quota applies to the combination of these two locations.

If you use a Macintosh, you can see this space by going to cifs://files/NETID, and you may have configured your Macintosh to synchronize your files between your Mac and the Server.

Many of us will encounter that 3 GB limit at some point. The file server will send alert email messages when users are near or at the limit. Once you've filled your storage allocation, no more files may be written to this location. If you receive one of these messages, please consider the suggestions below for reducing the amount of online storage your files consume before you run out of space (and into problems).

Personal music or photo collections

If you have stored music or photos on your system that aren't related to your work at the University, please consider moving them. Many media players, including iTunes and Windows Media Player, store your music files within "My Documents\My Music." Because "My Documents" is actually located in your network storage space, this can eat up your quota pretty quickly. We suggest moving your personal media collections to a folder on the local hard drive and changing the configuration of you media programs to reference the new location. Here are a couple of links that may be helpful:

Downloaded program installers

If you are keeping copies of downloaded program installers, consider whether you could delete them and download a new copy (probably an updated copy) when you need it. If you have purchased licenses, check to see if you can use a code to unlock a file you download in the future. If so, you can just keep that license and product keys and download a new copy of the program if you need to install it.

Alternatively, copy the installers and documentation about licenses and product keys to a writable CD. Store this in a safe place and remove the installer files from your computer.

Archive files to CD or DVD

There's an often-quoted statistic that 90% of documents that are saved in filing cabinets are never touched again. Electronic storage encourages the packrat in all of us. These accumulated gigabytes of files can make it hard to find the files you really need when you are doing today's work. One way you can reduce the clutter and the space that you consume is to make archives of your files on CD or DVD.

Almost every computer manufactured in the last few years has a writable CD drive, and many purchased today can write DVDs. Consider archiving your work by year or by project. Your work can be retrieved easily when you need it, but it won't be in the way or eating up the space you need for your current work.

Delete files you no longer need

This is perhaps the most obvious, but bears stating. If you have files that you no longer need, delete them, especially if these files are available elsewhere.

We hope these suggestions help you keep your network storage lean and productive. If you find that you need more than 3 GB for legitimate University work, please contact the ETS Helpline. They will note your request and we'll talk with you about the available options.

Now I need to take my own advice, tame my inner packrat, and go clean up my network storage piles.

Geoffrey Duke, Systems Architecture & Administration

Sr. System Administrator at the University of Vermont

1 Comment

  1. Scott mentioned that it might be helpful to link to directions for relocating music libraries. I don’t know of any UVM documentation on that topic.

    I’m not a big iTunes fan, but Scott shared a great tip:

    You can just move the “iTunes” folder wherever you want it, and then start up iTunes while holding down Shift (Windows) or Option (Mac), and it will ask you where you library is.

    That’s easy enough. Very cool!

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