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Global Common File System


The global common file system is a global file system available on all NERSC computational systems. It offers a performant platform to install software stacks and compile code. Directories are provided by default to every MPP project. Additional global common directories can be provided upon request.


No, files in global common directories are not subject to purging. 


No managed backups of global common directories are done by NERSC.

All NERSC users should back up important files to HPSS on a regular basis.  Ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect from data loss.

Access Control

There must be a directory administrator associated with each global common directory. This user must have a NIM role of PI, PI Proxy, or Project Manager.

Access control for project directories is based on Unix groups. The global common directory administrator is responsible for managing membership in the associated group. Instructions for doing this are in the NIM Users Guide for PIs.


Default global common directory quotas are 10 GB and 1,000,000 inodes. If your directory needs more than that, fill out the Disk Quota Increase Form.

We are working on a script for providing quota information about global common.


The global common system is optimized for software installation. It has a smaller block size and is mounted read-only on the computes. This allows us to turn on client-side caching which dramatically increases the read time of shared libraries across many nodes.


Global common directories are created in /global/common/software. The name of a "default" project directory is the same as its associated MPP repository. There is also a Unix group with the same name; all members of the repository are also members of the group. Access to the global common directory is controlled by membership in this group. Because this directory is shared across all systems, you may want to install your software stacks into separate subdirectories depending on the system or the processing architecture. For some general programs you can use the same installs across all systems, but for best performance, we recommend separate installs for each system and architecture (e.g. for edison vs. for Cori KNL). Since it's mounted read-only on the compute nodes, software installs should be done on the login nodes.