6. Yen File System

If you are new to using the Unix shell, please go over the Shell Introduction first.

If you’re already comfortable manipulating files and directories (using ls, pwd, cd, mv, rm commands), you probably want to explore the next lesson: Shell Extras, to learn about searching for files with grep and find, and writing simple shell loops and scripts.

Home Directory

Every user on the Yens has a home directory. This is where you are when you login to the system. Check the absolute path with:

$ pwd

This will print your working directory (where <SUNetID> is your SUNet ID):


To see this schematically, here is a visualization of the home directory on the file system:

The squares with ... in them indicate more directories that are not shown in the graph.

The path to your home directory is stored in $HOME environment variable. To see it, run:

$ echo $HOME

The echo command prints out the environment variable $HOME which stores the path to your home directory (where <SUNetID> is your SUNet ID):


The home directory is not for storing large files or outputting large files while working on a project. It is a good place to store small files like scripts and text files. Your home directory storage space is capped at 50 G.

To see how much space you have used in your home directory, run:

$ gsbquota

You should see your home directory usage:

/home/users/<SUNetID>: currently using X% (XG) of 50G available

where X% and XG will be actual percent used and gigabytes used, respectively.

File Storage

You have several options for where to store your research files (data sets, programs, output files, and so forth).

ZFS Directories

The GSB now has nearly 1 PB of high-performance storage available from the yen servers under the path /zfs.

Project Directory

If you are a GSB researcher that is interested in starting a new project on the Yens, please complete and submit DARC’s new project request form. This form allows you to estimate disk usage, and specify any collaborators that should be added to the shared access list. ZFS project access is granted by workgroups.

The project directories on ZFS have much bigger quotas (1 T default). However, we ask that you be responsible and delete what you no longer need such as intermediate files, etc.

Schematically, we can visualize the path to the project directory as follows:

The absolute path to your project space is:


where <your-project-dir> is the name of your project directory (created for you by the DARC team after the request for a new project space form is filled out). If you are a faculty, your new project will live in /zfs/projects/faculty directory.


Files on ZFS are backed up as “snapshots” and can be restored manually by any user. Please see the page How Do I Recover ZFS Files for instructions on recovering files. There is currently an off-site disaster recovery solution implemented as well for both ZFS and home directories.

Local Disk

On each Yen machine, there is a local scratch space mounted at /scratch. All yen users are free to make use of this space. Much like a hard drive on your laptop, this can be accessed only from that single Yen machine.

If you need to work with the older AFS file system, see this page to learn about how to access your AFS space on the Yens.