Using the High Performance Storage System (HPSS)

The HPSS is a large multi-terabyte storage system consisting of 2 Terabytes of hard drives in the front and 500 Terabytes of tape storage in the back end. Actually, there may be more storage at the backend by the time you read this. You should use the HPSS for storing large data that you don't access often.

HPSS is provided by UITS, and their storage group is responsible for the management and handling of it. HPSS data is not backed up (after all, it's already on archival storage) but UITS duplicates it at IUPUI and IUB, providing a form of backup in case Bloomington disappears from the face of the earth.

The following presumes you will use HSI, the direct interface to HPSS. Two of the other methods, ftp and pftp, involve sending your password in the clear over the network and are not recommended. Another mechanism is to use DFS (distributed file system) software, by which data is moved to/from the HPSS tape storage system automatically. If you use DFS, beware the difference between "mirrored" and "archived" filesets; the latter does not allow you to access your files except through DFS.

In any case, I recommend using HSI. It requires just a single client to be installed. If you want strong encryption of passwords, you can also install kerberos - well, actually, you have to have UITS install it. They do not trust users to handle that. A kerberos client requires a fixed IP address and other restrictions which make it unsuitable for using from a laptop or behind a firewall. HSI is installed already on all of the CS department solaris and linux boxes.

Process for getting and using an HPSS account:

  1. Request a Mass Data Storage account. Instructions for this are at
  2. Get your DCE credentials started. It may be that UITS has already mapped your netpass password to the DCE cell, but you can check/change the password at
  3. Download the necessary client from The RedHat 7 client will still work under RedHat 8. It does not work under RedHat 9. The client is called "hsi"
  4. Execute the "hsi" command and you should be prompted for a "DCE Principal", which is just your username. Then you'll be prompted for your password. This is weakly encrypted and sent to the HPSS front end. At that time, you can do a pwd and get something like /.../ where the /k/a/ will always be from the first two letters of your login name, and of course your login is kaddiddlehopper
  5. Now you are ready to use the HSI commands detailed at Those are similar to ftp but with more flexibility. Common ones: put, delete, ls, get. This is much like a shell, so you can move files, rename them, use wildcards, etc.
If you want to use other mechanisms (pftp, CFS) then go to the starter kit for MDSS. Two significant notes about HPSS: