RCS Policies


Access is intended only for legitimate purposes which benefit the research at Harvard University. Access must be authorized by the faculty or management of HBS and our partners, and by the staff of Research Computing Services. Access should only be granted for the purposes necessary to accomplish the goals of Harvard University and its research projects.

All account holders, whether Harvard affiliates or outside collaborators, agree to be held accountable by the Harvard University Electronic Access and Information Security policies found at http://huit.harvard.edu/information-technology-policies.

In addition, researchers should make themselves familiar with the university research policies maintained by the Provost's Office at http://vpr.harvard.edu/.

Our computing infrastructure is a shared resource, supporting concurrent access by many users. As a result, RCS must enforce some basic guidelines for behavior and interaction to provide each user with the optimal environment for individual or collaborative research. In addition, as the compute, storage, and software support HRCI Level 3 and higher, certain standard computing practices normally allowed on desktops and laptop are not allowed on the compute grid. Those will be outlined below.

  • RCS maintains several emails lists for communication with users, and every effort is made to keep the signal-to-noise ratio as high as possible. Certain subscriptions (e.g. rcs_grid for using the compute grid and/or project spaces) are required to keep one's account.

  • Training is required for access to the compute grid, including research storage, remote access (SSH or NoMachine), and compute. Account holders are strongly encouraged to attend optional compute grid training, as these are tailored to improve the usage experience. Individuals who fail to attend required training will have her/his access terminated.


  • Persons will only be allowed access to project spaces once the access has been approved by the primary faculty sponsor for that project space.

  • RCS will only grant project spaces to workgroups using HRCI Level 3 and Level 4 data once the DUA and/or approved IRB proposal has been filed with RCS.

  • Project space usage is reviewed and confirmed on a yearly basis (usually in September). Inactive project spaces will be backed up and archived only after contacting the primary faculty sponsor. Archives are retained for the period of time specified by HU or HBS data retention policies, whichever is longest. Please contact the ESS group within HBS via a Service Now HBS IT ticket for more information on this process.

  • Upon departure, please provide an appropriate amount of lead time to assist with copying data if needed. In this situation, If someone is not the primary sponsor of the project space, RCS will contact the primary sponsor to confirm this is permitted

  • Project spaces and home folders are backed up on a nightly basis. If you have questions on the backup policy, please contact the ESS group within HBS via a Service Now HBS IT ticket.

  • Cloud-based file sharing services cannot used with the project spaces or home folders, due to our HRCI-supported environment.

  • Please see our Using Storage webpages (http://grid.rcs.hbs.org/storage) for general guidelines and information.


  • RCS reserves the right to terminate jobs that are unattended for excessive periods of time or are impinging on the resources of others ('threading out', 'swapping out', or 'out of control'). We will make every effort to contact the job owner before doing so.

  • RCS regularly monitors the state of the compute grid, the jobs that are running, and how these jobs are affecting the shared, fair-use of the resources for all persons. If we contact you for any reason about your jobs, we expect you to respond in a timely fashion and to assist us with any requests.

  • A monthly maintenance window -- typically the first Monday of the month -- is used for software and hardware patches, updates, and upgrades. Reminder emails are sent in advance of the maintenance window, detailing work to be done. Access and compute is not guaranteed during this time, and every effort is made to protect work in progress.


  • MariaDB accounts and space are available upon request.

  • RCS will provide database access credentials for persons with HRCI Level 3 data once the DUA and/or approved IRB proposal has been filed with RCS.

  • Level 4 data cannot be stored in any database on this server.


  • Software purchased and available for use under the HBS name, whether used on local machines or on the HBS compute grid, is governed by the Vendor's Terms of Service. Typically, copying the software is prohibited, and only limited number of installations are permitted, usually outline in the licensing terms. RCS provides guidance to some of this information on our Desktop Software section of our intranet website (http://intranet.hbs.edu/dept/research/software/).

  • Compute grid guest users are bound by the same terms as HBS personnel and are not able to purchase or obtain software from RCS.

  • If RCS provides access to installers or installation codes, you will not share these with any other persons.

  • Should you no longer be affiliated with HBS (end of study, end of employment, end of guest access), RCS will ask you to remove HBS-licensed software from any personal computers where it may have been installed.