Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

 IU Trident Indiana University

UITS Research Technologies

Cyberinfrastructure enabling research and creative activities

ARCHIVED: Research File System (RFS) at Indiana University

On this page:

System retirement

UITS will decommission the Research File System (RFS) the week of January 2, 2017. Given the age of the system's hardware, a recent decline in development of the OpenAFS file system, and other limitations, the UITS Research Storage team has determined the RFS will be unable in the future to reliably provide the high levels of storage capacity, security, and performance that Indiana University researchers require.

Retirement of the RFS is following this timeline:

  • Week of May 9, 2016: The option to create new RFS accounts was removed from the IU Access Management System.
  • Week of August 1, 2016: RFS accounts not updated since January 1, 2015, or earlier became read-only.
  • Week of August 8, 2016: RFS accounts not updated since January 1, 2016, or earlier became read-only.
  • Week of August 15, 2016: Remaining active accounts were evaluated.
  • Monday, October 17, 2016: Personal RFS accounts not updated since August 15, 2016, and projects not updated this year became read-only.
  • Monday, November 14, 2016: Remaining active accounts (with few exceptions) became read-only.
  • Week of January 2, 2017: RFS will be officially decommissioned and no longer accessible to users

Research Storage staff have notified RFS users regarding best practices and recommendations for migrating their data. Research Storage also recommends consulting your local IT Pro to determine the best strategy for migrating your data. You must plan to migrate your data well in advance of the target dates indicated in the RFS retirement timeline.

For many users, particularly those who frequently share files or use desktop productivity applications (e.g., Microsoft Office), the IU Box service is a suitable replacement for RFS. For users working with sensitive data, Box at IU provides two special types of accounts:

  • Box Health Data Accounts: To use Box at IU for storing and sharing research data containing protected health information (PHI), you must use a Box Health Data Account (BHDA). BHDAs are set up, monitored, and audited by Clinical Affairs IT Service (CAITS).
  • Box Entrusted Data Accounts: To use Box at IU for storing and sharing non-health-related institutional data classified as Restricted, UITS recommends using a Box Entrusted Data Account (BEDA).
  • Important:
    Except for approved PHI, institutional data classified as Critical may not be stored in Box.

For more, see:

If you have questions about migrating RFS data, email the Research Storage group. If you have questions about the IU Box service, contact your campus Support Center.

Back to top

System information

The Indiana University Research File System (RFS) is a centralized storage area based on OpenAFS. The IU RFS is compatible with all major operating systems, and accessible using various methods from on and off campus. RFS data reside in physically secure environments on the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses.

The regular maintenance window for RFS is Sunday 7am-10am.
System configuration
Machine type Research file system
Operating system Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
Nodes 4 file servers
4 gateway nodes
Storage information
Network file system protocols
Total disk space 50 TB
100 GB (default) per user, 100 GB (default) per project
Backup and purge policies
The system is backed up nightly.
Aggregate I/O
4 Gbs (currently limited by network connection)

Back to top

Accessing your RFS files

You can access your RFS files from your personal computer using several methods:

Back to top

Working with data containing PHI

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) established rules protecting the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule and Security Rule set national standards requiring organizations and individuals to implement certain administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to maintain the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI).

This system meets certain requirements established in the HIPAA Security Rule that enable its use for research involving data that contain protected health information (PHI). You may use this resource for research involving data that contain PHI only if you institute additional physical, administrative, and technical safeguards that complement those UITS already has in place. For more, see When using UITS Research Technologies systems and services, what are my legal responsibilities for protecting the privacy and security of data containing protected health information (PHI)? If you need help or have questions, contact UITS HIPAA Consulting.

Although PHI is one type of institutional data classified as Critical at IU, other types of institutional data classified as Critical are not permitted on Research Technologies systems. Except for PHI, the most sensitive classification of institutional data allowed on Research Technologies resources is Restricted. For help determining which institutional data elements classified as Critical are considered PHI, see Which data elements in the classifications of institutional data are considered protected health information (PHI)?

In accordance with standards for access control mandated by the HIPAA Security Rule, you are not permitted to access data containing protected health information (PHI) using a group (or departmental) account. To ensure accountability and permit access to authorized users only, IU researchers must use their personal IU username and passphrase for all work involving PHI.


The RFS is maintained by the Research Storage team. If you have questions or need help, email Research Storage.

Back to top