WestGrid Legacy Systems Migration

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Parent page: Migration from Legacy Regional Systems to Compute Canada National Systems 2016-18

WestGrid Legacy Systems Migration Process 2018-2019

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has agreed to continue funding Orcinus as a Compute Canada / WestGrid system for one more year. It will be decommissioned in 2019.

System Site Defunding Date Recommended Migration Date(*) Notes
orcinus University of British Columbia *updated*
Mar.31, 2019
Jan.1, 2019
For more information on this system, read below.

Non-RAC users are responsible for their own data.

To begin preparing your files, read these General Directives for Migration.

(*) - If possible, we recommend that you start the migration process well in advance of the listed defunding date in order to leave plenty of time for data migration, job migration and new system familiarization.

Defunded” means that the system is no longer funded, operated or maintained as part of Compute Canada’s national cyberinfrastructure platform. For defunded systems, the host institution assumes full control of the system after the defunding date, including managing the storage file systems and backups. Users should contact Local Site Support of defunded systems for further information about the host institution’s data retention and deletion policies:

Users on the above systems will need to migrate their data and jobs to the new systems before the defunding date.

Please email support@westgrid.ca to request help with moving data or any other concerns with this migration policy.

Data Retention and Deletion Policy for Legacy Systems

User data on defunded systems will be deleted. Users are responsible for migrating their data to alternate storage.

IMPORTANT: For defunded systems, the host institution assumes full control of the system, including managing the storage systems and backups. Users should contact Local Site Support of defunded systems for further information about the host institution’s data retention and deletion policies.

Data on defunded systems will be deleted after the published deletion dates. WestGrid has arranged with the host institutions to keep data until the published deletion date, but can make no guarantees about data retention after that date. WestGrid will not retain any long term or back-up copies of user data and as noted above users must arrange for migration of their data. Users should also ensure they take the appropriate steps to comply with any data management requirements their institution or project may require.

Where to migrate to?

Storage Resources

The National_Data_Cyberinfrastructure (NDC) provides a backed-up, reliable storage system (the /project space) mounted on each of Cedar and Graham. So generally users should copy their data to one of those two systems.

A few special notes:

  • If you have a RAC 2018 award you may have been allocated to Cedar or Graham, therefore you should choose the PROJECT storage attached to that system;
  • If you do not have a RAC 2018 award then you may use Rapid Access Service (RAS) storage amounts at either SFU or Waterloo at your discretion.

See the following useful pages:

Niagara at Toronto has some storage resources aimed primarily at large parallel users. Please contact support@computecanada.ca for details.

Compute Resources

Cedar, Graham and Niagara are now in production. All users have accounts so users on legacy systems can migrate.

Code and Job Migration

Please keep in mind that you may need to re-compile or re-install your software and any required packages on new systems. This can be a time-consuming process. Our support staff have considerable expertise in such tasks, so please feel free to contact support@westgrid.ca for help.

See Code and job migration_from legacy systems for various details that should be kept in mind.

How to migrate data?

User Responsibility for Data Migration

We would like to emphasize that each user is responsible for copying his/her data from the to-be-defunded systems. WestGrid has no ability to track individual data transfers so we cannot send out individual reminders, and the defunding dates are hard deadlines. You must copy your data to a new, reliable site well before the defunding date. WestGrid recommends starting at least 3 months before the defunding date.

General File Management Best Practices and Suggestions

  1. Users must move their own data to a new system BEFORE the defunding dates.
  2. Delete any unnecessary data and files
  3. Refrain from keeping multiple copies of your data on multiple systems.
  4. Move any remaining data not currently being used to a long term storage site.
  5. Scratch storage is not backed up, and has no long-term availability guarantees. Inactive data in scratch storage areas is subject to being purged. We have noticed that some users seem to be storing more important data on scratch. Therefore please check your scratch storage and move anything important to permanent storage.

Recommendations for Large Numbers of Files

We have a few users with very large numbers of files (many thousands). It is notoriously inefficient to transfer such a large number of files with the usual file-transfer utilities. We strongly recommend that users consider taring up their files before transfer. See HERE for an (external) tutorial on how to compress and extract files using the tar command on Linux or the much more detailed discussion and examples in the Compute Canada Wiki at archiving_and_compressing_files.

Globus for Data Transfer

Globus is the ideal tool as it significantly improves transfer performance and reduces the time spent managing transfers. Users have reported 10x or even 100x improvements over other transfer methods such as SCP.

Globus can be used to move data between any two WestGrid resources. All WestGrid resources are already configured as Globus endpoints.

CLICK HERE for more info on using Globus File Transfer. Refer to the Best practices for data migration page for detailed instructions on moving your data to a new system.

Orcinus (University of British Columbia)

UPDATE: Continuation to MARCH 31, 2019

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has agreed to continue funding Orcinus as a Compute Canada / WestGrid system until Mar 31, 2019. WestGrid very much appreciates this support as the demand for access to advanced research computing resources continues to grow each year across the country.

Compute Canada account holders can access Orcinus through Compute Canada's Rapid Access Service. If you have questions about using Orcinus, please contact support@westgrid.ca.


Orcinus has a small attached disc system providing /home and /globalscratch. Users should migrate /home to either Cedar or Graham. The Orcinus /globalscratch is not backed up and was aimed at providing high performance scratch. However we have noticed that some users have what looks like important or permanent data on /globalscratch. Please migrate any such data to Cedar or Graham.


Orcinus is a general purpose system used for both serial and parallel computation. Any of the new general purpose systems would be suitable for typical orcinus users.

Support & Other Links

Please email support@westgrid.ca for general help. See also WestGrid Institutional Support Contacts for help with systems that will continued by their institutions.

Check out the following links for more tools, tips and support related to migration:

Previously Defunded Systems Notes

System Site Defunding Date Recommended Migration Date(*) Notes
Nestor and Hermes University of Victoria June 1, 2017 (COMPLETE)

UVic may keep Hermes as a local system. For details please ask local IT support.

Breezy and Lattice University of Calgary August 31, 2017 (COMPLETE) Parallel and the shared storage system will continue until Mar.31, 2018. UCalgary may keep Breezy, Lattice and Parallel as local systems. For details please ask local IT support
Jasper and Hungabee University of Alberta September 30, 2017 (COMPLETE)

UofA is intending to keep jasper and hungabee going. For details please ask local IT support.

Bugaboo University of British Columbia March 31, 2018 (COMPLETE)

If you have questions, contact support@westgrid.ca.

Grex University of Manitoba March 31, 2018 (COMPLETE)

The new large parallel system Niagara will be available for the RAC 2018 year and would be an excellent alternative for those users with large parallel ambitions. WebMO is available on the ACENET Placentia system and Gaussian is available on Cedar. If you have questions, contact support@westgrid.ca.

Parallel University of Calgary March 31, 2018 (COMPLETE)

Local Users (any researcher located at or collaborating with the University of Calgary) should email support@hpc.ucalgary.ca to clarify local use policies or to confirm if you qualify as a local user.
Non-local users (WestGrid users who are not based at or affiliated with the University of Calgary) will be able to access data stored on these systems until April 30, 2018.
If you have questions, contact support@westgrid.ca.

Document History

v2.1 May 14, 2018 Removed obsolete information and details. All systems except orcinus have been defunded.
v2.0 Apr. 03, 2018 Removed information for systems defunded on March 31, 2018 (Parallel, Orcinus, Grex) and updated the Previously Defunded Systems Notes table.
v1.9 Feb. 02, 2018 Added links to General Directives for Migration for users on remaining legacy systems (Parallel, Orcinus, Grex).
v1.8 Dec.11, 2017 Bugaboo defunding delayed. Removed details for previously defunded systems.
v1.7 Oct.19, 2017 Bugaboo migration and defunding plans updated.
v1.6 Sep.12, 2017 2018 migration and defunding plans added.
v1.5 Aug 22, 2017 Some new systems are now available and in production. The text has been updated to reflect actuals.
v1.4 June 30, 2017 RAC 2017 allocations have been implemented on the continuing WG legacy systems.
v1.3 May 31, 2017 Schedule updates and various details for systems to be defunded in 2017.
v1.2 Mar.20, 2017 Link to software availability documentation
v1.1 Mar.9, 2017 Nestor has been extended to June 1, 2017.
v1.0 Mar.8, 2017 UofC dates revised to Aug.31. General clean-up of the docs.
v0.92 Mar.7, 2017 Revised dates. University of Alberta details updated. User access to Jasper & Hungabee extended to September 30, 2017.
v0.91 Mar 3, 2017 UVic nestor/hermes details updated and confirmed (to June 1, 2017)

Canada Foundation for Innovation

Resource Allocation Competition

Globus is a file transfer service