Mounting Storage on Desktop or Laptop

In addition to connecting to the cluster and launching compute jobs, many scientists use FASRC file systems for storage of lab data. Many, but not all, file systems can be mounted on your desktop to simplify data transfer. FASRC file systems which are available to be mounted are shared via Samba (aka SMB or CIFS).


– Scratch space (/n/holyscratch01) cannot be mounted in this manner. It is only available on the cluster. If you need to transfer data to/from scratch, you can use an SFTP or SCP client to connect to the cluster and then change to /n/holyscratch01/[your lab’s space] . You can also use Globus for large external transfers.

– Shares on Tier 0 and shares whose name begin with holy generally cannot be mounted. If you need to transfer data to/from such shares, you can use an SFTP or SCP client to connect to the cluster and then change to /n/[server short name]/[your lab’s space] . You can also use Globus for large external transfers.


  1. Connect to the VPN

    If using wireless connections, cluster storage must be routed through a VPN connection. If on wired connections inside Harvard, the VPN client is not required. If you don’t already have one setup, follow the VPN setup instructions.
    NOTE: If you have set up custom DNS on your computer, this may cause issues connecting to shares.

  2. Find the filesystem path (if not known)

    If you already know the path, skip to instructions for your operating system below.

    Mounting your HOME DIRECTORY

    If you have cluster access, you can mount your home directory as a drive. You can figure out the path to your home directory by using ssh to login to the cluster. Use cd ~ to go to your home directory (on a Unix-like system, the ~ character is a shortcut to ‘my home directory’). Then type pwd to show where your home directory resides. [jharvard@boslogin02 ~]$ cd ~ [jharvard@boslogin02 ~]$ pwd /n/home08/jharvard  The home08 is the part we need in this example in order to construct the full path to your home directory.  Since all home directories are mounted from the same server, we don’t need to figure that part out. The path, therefore, that you will need for connecting is the combination of the server name, followed by the word homes to signify that it’s a home directory, the sub-folder your home directory resides in (home08 in this example), and your RC username.

    For this example, this would result in:
    For Windows \\\homes\home08\jharvard
    For Mac OSX smb://

    Mounting a LAB SHARE

    First, it’s important to note that not all lab shares are mountable. Also, cluster-only filesystems such as scratch (holyscratch01 or local scratch) are never mountable.

    If you don’t already know the path to your lab’s share and believe it should be mountable, asking a lab-mate for the path is the quickest option. Your share may also be on a common fileserver and, from a login node, you can often derive the full path with some deduction. Bear in mind that we have several different types of filesystems, so the output of the following command will vary. We’ve included an examples that’s most common.

    First, SSH to a login node – NOTE: If you cannot SSH in, you may not have cluster access, please contact us with your username and lab name and we can tell you what your lab share path is.
    Then cd to your lab’s share:
    [jharvard@boslogin02 ~]$ cd /n/jharvard_lab
    [jharvard@boslogin02 jharvard_lab]$ pwd -P

    This will return a path that looks similar to one of the following: /net/fs2k02/srv/export/jharvard_lab/share_root
    The server short name is the word after “net” or “n”, in the case above, fs2k02. To construct the server full name, you will need to add The share name comes after a server path which you will disregard and which will vary, in this example it is/srv/exportIn the example above the share name is jharvard_lab. This gives you and jharvard_lab

    Disregard anything after the share name such as share_root. The share name will almost always be your lab group’s Unix group name, with one or two exceptions. You will use just the server full name and sharename to form the full lab share path. For this example, this would result in:
    For Windows \\\jharvard_lab
    For Mac OSX smb://
    Again, some labs will have their own specific path, so check with a lab-mate or your PI if it’s not obvious.
    You can also try and see if your lab’s share is mounted on our Samba cluster. Replace fs2k02 in the example above with smbip. You still need to add your lab name after as in the example.

    You can also contact us and we can look up the path for you.

Operating System-Specific Instructions

Macs use Connect to Server

If you’re using a Mac, go to a Finder window (or click on the desktop) and choose Go > Connect to Server from the menu. Mac Connect to Server In the server address box, enter the server and path combination as described above prepended with the smb:// protocol specifier (please note that Macs use “/” where Windows uses of “\”). Using the example information above, the value might be smb:// to mount the home directory of user jharvard. If you are mounting a lab share path, enter that instead (example: smb:// Mount home directory on a Mac If you’ve selected the proper volume, you should get a login prompt. Use your FASRC credentials here. Note that you must include the rc\ domain specifier at the beginning of your user name. Use your Odyssey credentials to connect. Don't forget the `rc\`.

PCs use Map Network Drive

You can connect to shared storage on a Windows PC by using the Map Network Drive button in a file explorer window (click the yellow folder icon in the taskbar).

      1. Select This PC in the left-hand pane.
      2. Click Computer, which will present a drop-down menu, and then from that menu click Map network drive.
      3. In the Map Network Drive utility, select a free Drive letter.
        Then enter the combination of fileserver address and path in the Folder field.
        For the example, in the home directory described above the path would be \\\homes\home08\jharvard.
        If you are mounting a lab share path, enter that instead (example: \\\jharvard_lab).
        Make sure Connect using different credentials is checked.
        Click Finish to continue.Optional: If you want this drive to reconnect every time you log on to your computer, check Reconnect at sign-in. Just bear in mind that it will not re-connect if you are not on the VPN or your normal campus wired jack.

        The reason you must check Connect using different credentials in the Map Network Drive box is that your PC has a local account (and a local ‘domain’) and it will default to that if you do not specify another username and domain. If you don’t select this checkbox and attempt to connect, it will try to authenticate with your local PC information and after three failed attempts will result in a lockout (FYI: Don’t worry, lockouts expire automatically in about 5 minutes).
      4.  When you are prompted to Enter Network Credentials, prepend your FASRC username withRC\ to specify you are connecting to the RC domain with your username.
        Example: RC\jharvard means ‘Connect to the server and path I entered above as RC domain user jharvard’.

      TIP: If Windows is complaining about drives already being mapped/in us, you can clear all network drive mappings. Use with caution, this cannot be undone. If you have any other mapped network drives/shares, you will have to go back and re- connect them again. To do this, open Command Prompt and enter net use \\SERVER\SHARE /delete where “SERVER\SHARE” would be equivalent to “\jharvard_lab” in the above example.

      Linux using a terminal window

      You can mount storage on most Linux systems by using the desktop GUI’s file browsing application or you can do this from the command line. Run the id command on your Linux machine to determine your local uid and gid, then enter the following commands (set username to your FASRC username and set uid and gid to your local account values):
      mkdir /mnt/cluster mount -t cifs -o workgroup=rc,username=jharvard,uid=1000,gid=1000 // /mnt/cluster (you must change the uid and gid to your own local uid and gid). This will prompt you for your password. If instead you get an error message about a read-only filesystem, it could be because mount.cifs is not installed on your system. Using this method, you will need to reissue the command every time you boot your computer.

      Some users prefer using smbclient to connect to Samba/SMB/CIFS shares. This is an optional package you will need to install on your own.

    • SFTP/Filezilla  If you are unable to mount your lab storage using one of the above methods, or your lab’s share is simply not available via Samba, you always have the option of using SFTP. This is especially useful if you need to maintain a different VPN connection and cannot connect to our VPN. SFTP to a login node does not require a FASRC/FAS VPN connection as login nodes use two-factor authentication.
    • We recommend FileZilla as a reliable, cross-platform SFTP client. Note that SFTP uses SSH and our two-factor authentication, so you will need to ensure you have OpenAuth set up, and that you have have cluster access and a home directory. If you are unsure, SSH to a login node first. If you need to request cluster access, see our doc on adding groups/access.