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Transferring Data

Advice and Overview

NERSC provides many facilities for storing data and performing analysis. However, transferring data - whether over the wide area network or with NERSC - can be expensive and time consuming. This page explains the mechanisms NERSC provides to move your data from one place to another. A good strategy, once your data is resident at NERSC, is to perform your analysis in situ, rather than transferring the data elsewhere for analysis. The NERSC consultant can help you formulate plans for efficient data management.

NERSC generally recommends transferring data to and from NERSC using Globus Online: a web-based service that solves many of the challenges encountered moving data between systems. While NERSC supports use of many data transfer tools and protocols such as, gridftp, scp, sftp, bbcp, and xrootd, Globus Online provides the most comprehensive, efficient, and easy to use service for most NERSC users.  In addition, NERSC also provides an easy way for research teams to share data through the web via from groups project directories.

Data Transfer Nodes

The Data Transfer Nodes (DTN) are servers dedicated for data transfer based upon the ESnet Science DMZ model. DTNs are tuned to transfer data efficiently, optimized for bandwidth and have direct access to most of the NERSC file systems. These transfer nodes are configured within Globus Online as managed endpoints available to all NERSC users. 

NERSC File Systems

NERSC has a number of shared file systems that are available from all computers: Project, Home, and Global Scratch. These file systems are ideal for sharing data among different platforms. In addition, Edison and Cori have large, high-speed local scratch file systems. Please refer to  NERSC file systems  for details.  

External Data Transfer

As noted above, NERSC generally recommends transferring data to and from NERSC using Globus Online.  However, there are other tools people use at NERSC to move data between NERSC and other sites.  Such tools include:

Transferring Data Within NERSC

  • Do you need to transfer at all? If your data is on NERSC Global File Systems (/global/project, /global/projecta, /global/cscratch), it's available at high performance center-wide & data transfer may not be necessary because these file systems are mounted on almost all NERSC systems.
  • Use the the unix command "cp", "tar" or "rsync" to copy files within the same computation system.
  • To transfer files between computational systems (e.g. Edison local scratch to Hopper local scratch), use SCP/SFTP to transfer smaller files (<10GB), and BaBar Copy (bbcp) or GridFTP for bigger files.
  • HPSS can also be used as an intermediary to transfer files within NERSC.  For details about HPSS data transfer, see Storing and Retrieving HPSS Data.