Saga – poor file system performance

The parallel file system on Saga is currently under a lot of stress caused by the running jobs.

We are working on optimizing and speed up the file system together with the vendor.
In the mean time we kindly ask you to follow the guidlines listed at our documentation pages.

As a general rule:

  • file system performance decreases as the file system usage grows
  • the number of I/O operations is directly influencing the responsiveness of the file system
  • disk operations are with factor of thousand more expensive than memory operations
  • the higher the number of files, the slower the I/O is

Thank you for your understanding!

Metacenter Operations

FRAM – critical storage issue


  • 2020-03-12 10:45: Maintenance is finished now and faulty components were replaced. We continue to monitor the storage system.
    Thank you for your understanding.
  • 2020-03-11 10:16: We have to replace one hardware module on the Fram storage system. The maintenance will be carried out keeping the system online. However there will be some short, up to 5 minutes, hiccup while we are failing over components on the redundant path, possibly causing some jobs to crash.
  • 2020-03-05 20:30: Maintenance is over, Fram is online. Jobs that were running before the maintenance may have been re-queued. It’s also possible that some of the jobs were killed, we are sorry for that. if this is the case, you have to resubmit your job.

Dear FRAM users,

We are facing a major issue with FRAM’s storage system. The necessary tasks are being performed to mitigate the issue. We will have to take the whole machine offline to be able to perform the above mentioned tasks.

$USERWORK auto-cleanup on Saga

Dear Saga User,

The usage of the /cluster file system on Saga has now bypassed 60%. To maintain the file system as responsive as possible, we have to periodically decrease the number of files, free up space and enforce automatic deletion of temporary files.

Starting with Wednesday, 19th of February we are going to activate the automatic cleanup of the $USERWORK (/cluster/work) area as documented here.

The retention period is:

  • 42 days below 70% file system usage
  • 21 days when file system usage reaches 70%.

Files older then the active retention period will be automatically deleted.
You can read more information about the storage areas on HPC clusters here and here.

Please copy all your important data from $USERWORK to your project area to avoid data loss.

Thank you for your understanding!

Metacenter Operations

NIRD project file systems mounted on Saga

Dear Saga User,

We have the pleasure to announce that we have now fixed all the technical requirements and mounted NIRD project file systems on Saga login nodes.

You may find your projects in the



Please note that to transfer of large amount of files is sluggish and has a big impact on the I/O performance. It is always better to transfer one larger file than many small files.
As an example, transfer of a folder with 70k entries and about 872MB took 18 minutes, while the same files archived into a single 904MB file took 3 seconds.

You can read more about the tar archiving command by reading the manual pages. Type

man tar

in your Saga terminal.

Metacenter Operations

[SOLVED] Saga: /cluster filesystem problem

/cluster filesystem on Saga is crashed, we are working on it. users should expect that their Slurm jobs will crash.

Update, 09:45: The file system is back online now. Only parts of /cluster was unavailable, but we recommend you to check your jobs, some of them will probably have crached.

Reorganized NIRD storage

Dear NIRD User,

During the last maintenance we have reorganized the NIRD storage.

Projects have now a so-called primary site which is either Tromsø or Trondheim. Previously we had single primary site, Tromsø. This change had to be introduced to prepare coupling NIRD storage with Saga and the upcoming Betzy HPC clusters.

While we are working on a final, seamless access solution regardless of the primary site for your data, please use the following temporary solution:

To work closest to your data you have to connect to the login nodes located at the primary site of your project:

  • for Tromsø the address is unchanged and is
  • for Trondhein the address is

To find out the primary site of your project log in on a login node and type:

readlink /projects/NSxxxxK

It will print out a path starting either with /tos-project or /trd-project.
If it starts with “tos” then use
If it starts with “trd” then use

Metacenter Operations

[UPDATE] Saga: /cluster filesystem problem

Dear Saga cluster Users: 
We have discovered /cluster filesystem issue on Saga, which can lead to possible data corruption, to be able to examine the problem, we decided to suspend all running jobs on Saga and reserve entire cluster. No new job will be accepted until problem is resolved. Users can still login to Saga login nodes. 
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We will keep you updated as we progress.

Update: We are trying to repair the file system without killing all jobs. It might not work, at least not for all jobs. In the mean time, we have closed access to the login nodes to avoid more damage to the file system.

Update 14:15: Problem resolved, Saga is open again. Please check if you have running jobs, some of the jobs could get crashed.
The source of the problem is related to the underlying filesystem (XFS) and the current kernel that we are running. We scanned the underlying filesystem on our OSS servers to eliminate possible data corruption on /cluster filesystem, and we also updated kernel on OSS’es.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions

Backup policy changes

Dear Fram and Saga User,

As you may remember quotas have been enforced on $HOME areas during October past year. This has been carried out only for users having less then 20GiB in their Fram or Saga home folders.

Because of repeated space related issues on NIRD home folders and due to the backups taken from either Fram or Saga, we had to change our backup policies and exclude backup for users using more then the 20GiB in their Fram or Saga $HOME areas.

If you manage to clean up your $HOME on Fram and/or Saga and decrease your $HOME usage below 20GiB, we can then enforce quotas on it and re-enable the backup.

Thank you for your understanding!

Metacenter Operations

Quota enforcement on Fram

Dear Fram User,

We have fixed the broken quota indexes on Fram /cluster file system.
Due to heavy disk usage on both Fram and NIRD, we need to enforce quotas on all relevant areas:

  • /cluster/home
  • /cluster/projects
  • /cluster/shared

To be able to control disk usage on the areas mentioned above, group ownerships are enforced nightly.

To avoid job crashes prior to starting jobs, please make sure that unix users and groups you are a member of have enough free quota, be it block or inode quotas.

This Wikipedia page gives good explanation about the block and inode quota types.

To check quotas on Fram, you may use the dusage command. i.e.

# list all user and groups quotas
dusage -a
# for help use
dusage -h

Thank you for your understanding!
Metacenter Operations