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

ULHPC has 3 different backup targets, with different rotation policies and physical locations.

The backups are only accessible by HPC staff, for disaster recovery purposes.

More precisions can be requested via a support request.

User directories on the ULHPC clusters

Directory Path Backup location Frequency Retention
home directories $HOME CDC, Belval Weekly last 7 backups, at least one per month for the last 2 months
projects $PROJECTWORK CDC, Belval Weekly one backup per week of the backup directory ($PROJECT/backup/)
scratch $SCRATCH not backed up

Isilon project directories snapshots

Projects stored on the Isilon filesystem are snapshotted weekly, the snapshots are kept for 10 days.


Snapshots are not a real backup. It does not protect you against a system failure, it will only permit to recover some files in case of accidental deletion

Each project directory, in /mnt/isilon/projects/ contains a hidden sub-directory .snapshot:

  • .snapshot is invisible to ls, ls -a, find and similar commands
  • can be browsed normally after cd .snapshot
  • files cannot be created, deleted or edited in snapshots
  • files can only be copied out of a snapshot

Virtual machines

Source Backup location Frequency Retention
Gitlab infrastructure CDC, Belval Weekly last 5 weekly snapshots
Iris infrastructure CDC, Belval Weekly last 5 weekly snapshots


Name Backup location Frequency Retention CDC, Belval Daily last 7 daily backups, one per month for the last 6 months (pad, privatebin) CDC, Belval Daily last 7 daily backups, one per month for the last 6 months


If you require a restoration of lost data that cannot be accomplished via the snapshots capability, please create a new request on Service Now portal, with pathnames and timestamps of the missing data.

Such restore requests may take a few days to complete.



See Filesystem Quotas and Purging for detailed information about inode, space quotas, and file system purge policies.


$SCRATCH directories are not backed up

Backup Tools

In practice, the ULHPC backup infrastructure is fully puppetized and make use of several tools facilitating the operations:

  • backupninja, which allows you to coordinate system backup by dropping a few simple configuration files into /etc/backup.d/
  • a forked version of bontmia, which stands for "Backup Over Network To Multiple Incremental Archives"
  • BorgBackup, a deduplicating backup program supporting compression and authenticated encryption.
  • several internal scripts to pilot LVM snapshots/backup/restore operations

Last update: February 13, 2024