Nightly tape backups are performed for home directories and project space, with a copy kept for 30 days after the file is deleted. Periodic offsite backups are stored for disaster recovery.

No backups are performed for scratch or temporary space. If files are lost from directories such as /scratch or /tmp, MSI staff cannot recover them.

Often, snapshots will be sufficient for file restoration and users will not have to wait for a restore from tape. If a file must be restored from backup tape, email this information:

  • name of file(s) or directories you need to have restored (including full path)
  • approximate start and end date(s) that the file(s) existed in the desired form on MSI systems


Snapshots and tape backups should be treated as safety nets. While deleted files may be recoverable, you may still forfeit hours of work if the file has been modified since the last backup or snapshot. Files created in the morning and deleted later the same day will likely never get backed up to tape at all, and may or may not make it into a snapshot depending on timing.

Therefore, MSI strongly recommends that for critical files such as source code researchers use a revision control system such as Subversion, CVS, or RCS, all of which are installed on MSI systems.