All owners of a D-PHYS account have a certain amount of disk space on our file servers.

General Advice

Regular housekeeping

Delete what is no longer needed. Document folder structure and file locations for your future self and others.

Avoid too many files in the same directory

Don't store thousands of files in a single folder. This makes listing of the contents of the folder very slow. Create some folder hierarchy to split the files up for faster access.

Combine small files into single tar

Don't store your data in thousands of files of a only few kilobytes each. Even the smallest file will always allocate the minimal block size, and therefore waste disk space. Working with many small files also comes with a big overhead of system calls and disk seek operations. Combine such results into larger files using tar (with or without compression).

Prefer binary formats to plain text

Consider optimized binary formats (eg hdf5) to store your data - but make sure they're open and well documented so you can still read your data in 5 year's time. They use less disk space and allow faster input/output than plain text files. Common formats have libraries for most programming languages to ease read/write operations.

File servers are not meant for backups

Do not use group shares to store backups of your machines. We provide a wide range of backup solutions. If you're unsure which one of those is suitable for you, please get in touch.

Access the files

Read our readme on how to configure your computer to access your files.

Group drives

Research groups of the Department of Physics can get shared file space or group drives. Feel free to contact us!


To protect the users from overfilling the servers, each user has a limited disk space available. You may have a look at your current disk usage. If you think you need more quota, get in touch with us.

Web space

Learn more about how to get a personal homepage.


All file servers are backed up on a regular basis. Read our instructions on how to restore lost files.

Access permissions

Access to the files on our file servers is granted by the usual Unix-type owner-group-other schema. In some cases, when the number of users is very small, we also use ACLs (we don't need an extra Unix group in this case).

Transfer files

Read our tips on how to transfer data.

Share files

Different services allow you to share large files with other people:

  • The CIFEX service to send files to anyone.
  • Our upload service to share with other members of D-PHYS.
  • The Polybox service to share and collaborate with other members at ETH.
  • The SWITCHfilesender service to share one large file with anyone, or even allow someone else to send you a large file.
  • Your own personal web space at D-PHYS.

More Information