Frequently Asked Questions

Some common questions, errors, and problems are categorized below. Click the Expand Topics link in the upper right to see all entries at once. You can also use the search box above to search the user guide for any issues you are seeing.

Link to section 'About Fortress' of 'About Fortress' About Fortress

Can you remove me from the Fortress mailing list?

Your subscription in the Fortress mailing list is tied to your account on Fortress. If you are no longer using your account on Fortress, your account can be deleted from the My Accounts page. Hover over the resource you wish to remove yourself from and click the red 'X' button. Your account and mailinglist subscription will be removed overnight. Be sure to make a copy of any data you wish to keep first.

Do I need to do anything to my firewall to access Fortress?

Yes, any machines using HSI or HTAR must have all firewalls (local and departmental) configured to allow open access from the following IP addresses:

128.211.138.40
128.211.138.41
128.211.138.42
128.211.138.43
128.211.138.44
128.211.138.45
128.211.138.46
128.211.138.47
128.211.138.48

Firewall issues may manifest with error messages like "put: Error -50 on transfer." If you are unsure of how to modify your firewall settings, please consult with your department's IT support or the documentation for your operating system. Access to Fortress is restricted to on-campus networks. If you need to directly access Fortress from off-campus, please use the Purdue VPN service before connecting.

Can I download HSI or HTAR binaries for my OS platform?

Yes, visit the Downloads page to download HSI or HTAR packages for your operating system.

Note: If your username on your desktop does not match your career account username, HSI and HTAR require configuration to connect using your career account username:

  • For HSI, use the -l careeraccount option on the hsi command line.
  • For HTAR, set the HPSS_PRINCIPAL environment variable to your career account username:
    bash: export HPSS_PRINCIPAL=careeraccount
    csh/tcsh: setenv HPSS_PRINCIPAL=careeraccount

Can I set up a shared space for my research group to share data?

Research groups are assigned a group data storage space within Fortress with each Data Depot group space. Faculty should request a Data Depot trial to create a shared Fortress space for their research group.

ITaP research resources are not intended to store data protected by Federal privacy and security laws (e.g., HIPAA, ITAR, classified, etc.). It is the responsibility of the faculty partner to ensure that no protected data is stored on the systems.

Please keep in mind that such spaces are, by design, accessible by others and should not be used to store private information such as grades, login credentials, or personal data. Contact us at rcac-help@purdue.edu to create a group space for your group.

What limitiations does Fortress have?

Fortress has a few limitations that you should keep in mind:

  • Fortress does not support direct FTP or SCP transfers. SFTP connections are supported.
  • Fortress does not support Unicode filenames. All filenames must contain only ASCII characters.
  • Fortress does not support sparse files.
  • Fortress is a tape archive. While it can handle use case of "multitude of small files", performance may be severely decreased (compared to a much preferred case of "fewer files of much larger size"). If you need to store a large number of small files, we strongly recommend that you bundle them up first (with zip, tar, htar, etc) before placing resulting archive into Fortress. Note: a "small file" on Fortress scale is typically considered something under 30-50MB per file.
  • HTAR has an individual file size limit of 64GB. If any files you are trying to archive with HTAR are greater than 64GB, then HTAR will immediately fail. This does not limit the number of files in the archive or the total overall size of the archive. To get around this limitation, try using the htar_large command. It is slower than using HTAR but it will work around the 64GB file size limit.

Link to section 'Data' of 'Data' Data

What is the best way to access my data?

HSI and HTAR: HSI provides a FTP-style interface taking advantage of the power of HPSS without requiring any special user knowledge. HTAR is a utility to aggregate a set of files into a single tar archive directly into Fortress, without requiring space to first create an archive.

Can I set up a shared space for my research group to share data?

Link to section 'Can I set up a shared space for my research group to share data?' of 'Can I set up a shared space for my research group to share data?' Can I set up a shared space for my research group to share data?

Research groups are assigned a group data storage space within Fortress with each Data Depot group space. Faculty should request a Data Depot trial to create a shared Fortress space for their research group.

ITaP research resources are not intended to store data protected by Federal privacy and security laws (e.g., HIPAA, ITAR, classified, etc.). It is the responsibility of the faculty partner to ensure that no protected data is stored on the systems.

Please keep in mind that such spaces are, by design, accessible by others and should not be used to store private information such as grades, login credentials, or personal data. Contact us at rcac-help@purdue.edu to create a group space for your group.

How can I verify the contents of my archives while using HTAR?

Link to section 'How can I verify the contents of my archives while using HTAR?' of 'How can I verify the contents of my archives while using HTAR?' How can I verify the contents of my archives while using HTAR?

You can ask HTAR to verify the contents of an archive during/after creation using the '-Hverify' switch. Please see the Fortress User Guide for details.

HSI/HTAR: put: Error -5 on transfer

First, check your firewall settings, and ensure that there are no firewall rules interfering with connecting to Fortress. For firewall configuration, please see "Do I need to do anything to my firewall to access Fortress?" If firewalls are not responsible:

Open the file named /etc/hosts on your workstation, especially if you run a Debian or Ubuntu Linux distribution. Look for a line like:

127.0.1.1  hostname.dept.purdue.edu hostname

Replace the IP address 127.0.1.1 with the real IP address for your system. If you don't know your IP address, you can find it with the command:

host `hostname --fqdn`

Can I share data with outside collaborators?

Yes! Globus allows convenient sharing of data with outside collaborators. Data can be shared with collaborators' personal computers or directly with many other computing resources at other intstitutions. See the Globus documentation on how to share data:

HSI/HTAR: Unable to authenticate user with remote gateway (error 2 or 9)

There could be a variety of such errors, with wordings along the lines of

Could not initialize keytab on remote server.
result = -2, errno = 2rver connection
*** hpssex_OpenConnection: Unable to authenticate user with remote gateway at 128.211.138.40.1217result = -2, errno = 9
Unable to setup communication to HPSS...
ERROR (main) unable to open remote gateway server connection
HTAR: HTAR FAILED

and

*** hpssex_OpenConnection: Unable to authenticate user with remote gateway at 128.211.138.40.1217result = -11000, errno = 9
Unable to setup communication to HPSS...
*** HSI: error opening logging
Error - authentication/initialization failed

The root cause for these errors is an expired or non-existent Kerberos keytab file (a special authentication token stored in your home directory). These keytabs are valid for 90 days and on most RCAC resources they are usually automatically checked and regenerated when you execute hsi or htar commands. However, if the keytab is invalid, or fails to generate, Fortress may be unable to authenticate you and you would see the above errors. This is especially common on those RCAC clusters that have their own dedicated home directories (such as Bell), or on standalone installations (such as if you downloaded and installed HSI and HTAR on your non-RCAC computer).

This is a temporary problem and a permanent system-wide solution is being developed. In the interim, the recommended workaround is to generate a new valid Kerberos keytab file in your main research computing home directory, and then copy it to your home directory on Fortress. The fortresskey command is used to generate the keytab and can be executed on another cluster or a dedicated data management host data.rcac.purdue.edu:

$ ssh myusername@data.rcac.purdue.edu fortresskey
$ scp -pr myusername@data.rcac.purdue.edu:~/.private $HOME

With a valid keytab in place, you should then be able to use hsi and htar commands to access Fortress from Fortress. Note that only one keytab can be valid at any given time (i.e. if you regenerated it, you may have to copy the new keytab to all systems that you intend to use hsi or htar from if they do not share the main research computing home directory).

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