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HPSS Data Archival System

Currently, HSI and HTAR are offered for archiving data into HPSS or retrieving data from the HPSS archive. For optimal transfer performance, we recommend sending a file of 768 GB or larger to HPSS. The minimum file size that we recommend sending is 512 MB. HPSS will handle files between 0K and 512 MB, but write and read performance will be negatively affected. For files smaller than 512 MB we recommend bundling them with HTAR to achieve an archive file of at least 512 MB.

Using Globus

The OLCF users have access to a new functionality, using Globus to transfer files to HPSS through the endpoint “OLCF HPSS”. Globus has restriction of 8 active transfers across all the users. Each user has a limit of 3 active transfers, so it is required to transfer a lot of data on each transfer than less data across many transfers. If a folder is constituted with mixed files including thousands of small files (less than 1MB each one), it would be better to tar the small files. Otherwise, if the files are larger, Globus will handle them. To transfer the files, follow these steps:

  • Visit www.globus.org and login
  • Then select the organization that you belong, if you don’t work for ORNL, do not select ORNL. If your organization is not in the list, create a Globus account
  • Search for the endpoint OLCF DTN
../_images/search_endpoint1.png ../_images/search_endpoint2.png
  • Declare path
  • Open a second panel to declare the new endpoint called OLCF HPSS and use the appropriate path for HPSS
../_images/globus_second_endpoint_hpss.png ../_images/globus_second_endpoint_hpss2.png
  • Select your file/folder and click start. hen an activity report will appear and you can click on it to see the status. When the transfer is finished or failed, you will receive an email
../_images/globus_select_start.png ../_images/globus_activity.png ../_images/globus_activity_information.png ../_images/globus_activity_done.png

Using HSI

When retrieving data from a tar archive larger than 1 TB, we recommend that you pull only the files that you need rather than the full archive. Examples of this will be given in the htar section below. Issuing the command hsi will start HSI in interactive mode. Alternatively, you can use:

hsi [options] command(s)

…to execute a set of HSI commands and then return. To list you files on the HPSS, you might use:

hsi ls

hsi commands are similar to ftp commands. For example, hsi get and hsi put are used to retrieve and store individual files, and hsi mget and hsi mput can be used to retrieve multiple files. To send a file to HPSS, you might use:

hsi put a.out : /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/a.out

To retrieve one, you might use:

hsi get /hpss/prod/[projid]/proj-shared/a.out

Here is a list of commonly used hsi commands.

Command Function
cd Change current directory
get, mget Copy one or more HPSS-resident files to local files
cget Conditional get - get the file only if it doesn’t already exist
cp Copy a file within HPSS
rm mdelete Remove one or more files from HPSS
ls List a directory
put, mput Copy one or more local files to HPSS
cput Conditional put - copy the file into HPSS unless it is already there
pwd Print current directory
mv Rename an HPSS file
mkdir Create an HPSS directory
rmdir Delete an HPSS directory

Additional HSI Documentation

There is interactive documentation on the hsi command available by running:

hsi help

Additional documentation can be found on the HPSS Collaboration website.

Using HTAR

The htar command provides an interface very similar to the traditional tar command found on UNIX systems. It is used as a command-line interface. The basic syntax of htar is:

htar -{c|K|t|x|X} -f tarfile [directories] [files]

As with the standard Unix tar utility the -c, -x, and -t options, respectively, function to create, extract, and list tar archive files. The -K option verifies an existing tarfile in HPSS and the -X option can be used to re-create the index file for an existing archive. For example, to store all files in the directory dir1 to a file named /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/allfiles.tar on HPSS, use the command:

htar -cvf /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/allfiles.tar dir1/*

To retrieve these files:

htar -xvf  /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/allfiles.tar

htar will overwrite files of the same name in the target directory. When possible, extract only the files you need from large archives. To display the names of the files in the project1.tar archive file within the HPSS home directory:

htar -vtf  /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/project1.tar

To extract only one file, executable.out, from the project1 directory in the Archive file called `` /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/project1.tar``:

htar -xm -f project1.tar project1/ executable.out

To extract all files from the project1/src directory in the archive file called project1.tar, and use the time of extraction as the modification time, use the following command:

htar -xm -f  /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/project1.tar project1/src

HTAR Limitations

The htar utility has several limitations.

Apending data

You cannot add or append files to an existing archive.

File Path Length

File path names within an htar archive of the form prefix/name are limited to 154 characters for the prefix and 99 characters for the file name. Link names cannot exceed 99 characters.


There are limits to the size and number of files that can be placed in an HTAR archive.

Individual File Size Maximum 68GB, due to POSIX limit
Maximum Number of Files per Archive 1 million

For example, when attempting to HTAR a directory with one member file larger that 64GB, the following error message will appear:

$ htar -cvf  /hpss/prod/[projid]/users/[userid]/hpss_test.tar hpss_test/

INFO: File too large for htar to handle: hpss_test/75GB.dat (75161927680 bytes)
ERROR: 1 oversize member files found - please correct and retry
ERROR: [FATAL] error(s) generating filename list

Additional HTAR Documentation

For more information about htar, execute man htar.