Data backups and Retention

Home and Group drive backups

All CSCS users have a 50GB network home drive for storing their valuable data. This storage has multiple levels of resiliency to protect you from data loss. On Windows computers, this space can be seen as drive U: under My Computer / Computer / This PC (the name changes in different versions of Windows).

The initial Group Drive is set up at 100GB and to access a CSCS Group Drive each user must have a CSCS User Account.


Snapshots - What are Snapshot? Snapshots are used for backing up data at different intervals, this allows information to be recovered from different periods of time.

Retention period - The retention period is the hard limit of the number of snapshots which we can keep therefore it works on a FIFO (First In First Out) basis where the oldest snapshot will be deleted once the retention threshold is reached.


  • For user and group drives we have a policy which has two sets of snapshot rules.
  • There is a snapshot that runs every two hours from 6am to 10pm and has a retention of 46 copies. Daily snapshot occurs 10 minute past midnight and has a retention of 90 days.
  • Data is saved to two separate physical locations, roughly 2 miles from each other. The snapshot is taken on the primary volume as per the schedule and then that same snapshot is replicated in its partner volume which is hosted on the other site.

Some group drives are stored on DFS (Distributed File System) or IFS (Institutional File System, provided by the UIS). DFS group drives are either stored in CSCS storage or IFS storage. If its in CSCS storage it will have the same snapshot policy as stated above. If its IFS then it will have a schedule/retention of 24 hourly snapshots, 30 daily snapshots and 12 monthly snapshots.

Exchange email backups

CSCS currently takes a backup of the email environment once per day, with a total of 90 days of backups available. In an emergency we can use these to assist with mail recovery if needed. More information regarding mail retention, backups and restore guidance can be found at Email: Mail Retention, Backup and Restore Guidance