Fortress archive upgrade to HPSS

October 7 – 14, 2011

UPDATE: Archive Conversion moved to Oct. 7-14

Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP) is upgrading the research computing archival storage system Fortress. Currently based upon EMC's DiskXtender (DXUL), Fortress is being upgraded to new, more powerful software: the High Performance Storage System (HPSS).

Data currently in the DiskXtender archive will be migrated transparently to the new system between Friday, Oct. 7, and Friday, Oct. 14. Benefits include increased transfer speed when using parallel FTP (PFTP) and the ability to provide scalable capacity and I/O performance.

We have scheduled a training session for 2:30-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, in Stewart Center 214A to go over in more detail the new features and access methods for the HPSS software that will now support the Fortress service. Registration is not necessary, but to assist in attendance estimations please email Bret Madsen ( if you plan to attend.

The conversion will begin on Oct. 3 with the existing system placed in a read-only mode to allow for the migration. Fortress will be completely unavailable for the weekend starting on Friday, Oct. 7, with full service expected to return by 5 p.m. on Oct. 14. During the migration, the cluster scratch space will be used to allow for additional storage needs. Please email if you need a temporary increase of your scratch quota during this time. We encourage any user who has data to be uploaded to the system to plan uploads around the migration window.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does HPSS differ as far as access to my data?

  • Plain-text FTP will NOT be supported, as it presents a security risk that Purdue's security policies no longer allow. In its place, we will have the more powerful PFTP, which is both secure and parallelizes data transfers so that the full network bandwidth can be utilized.

    • NFS mounting is possible, but will be limited to RCAC cluster front-end hosts and certain RCAC assets where it is deemed essential because there is potential for NFS calls to cause performance issues. NFS mounts outside of the domain, such as on departmental systems, will not be supported.
    • Access via CIFS and FTP will remain, although these protocols will be less able to take advantage of the optimization of the new system to parallelize data streams.
    • HSI and HTAR have been added to provide additional features, such as a Unix-style environment interface taking advantage of the power of HPSS without requiring any special user interaction, and a utility to aggregate a set of files from the local file system along with an index file stored in the same directory as the HTAR file. How can I find out more?
  • You can find out more about HPSS on the collaboration's web site:

    • New online documentation has been created to help with getting to know the system.

    ITaP is very excited about the new archive offering and we hope you will find the HPSS system to be useful.

Fortress information and future updates to the project's status can be found on the RCAC web site at:

If you have any questions about this upgrade, please contact us at

Originally posted: October 22, 2011