Disk space: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much of this do I need to know?
  2. What is a disk quota?
  3. How much space do I get?
  4. How do you figure out how much space I'm using?
  5. What is a hard quota? a soft quota?
  6. How does the soft quota work?
  7. What is a unified quota system?
  8. How can I find out what my quota is?
  9. How can I get you to change my quota: lower? higher?
  10. What happens if I go over quota?
  11. Can I get a short-term "emergency loan" of extra space?
  12. How much does it cost to add extra space?
  13. What if I've prepaid my account for a year?
  14. Can I share disk space between two accounts?

Answers

  1. How much of this do I need to know?
    Most of our users don't need to know anything about it. If you don't store much data here, you don't need to worry about this at all.
    You can check How can I find out what my quota is?" to learn how to figure out what you're using.
    If your usage is much higher than you've anticipated, here are a couple of suggestions:
    1. Make sure you are throwing away your spam and not letting it accumulate in a "Trash" folder.
    2. Keep an eye on your home directory, and delete any unnecessary files there. (Unless you use your shell access regularly, there should be very few files in your home directory.)
  2. What is a disk quota?
    A quota is a limit on disk space. It is enforced by the file system itself, automatically.
  3. How much space do I get?
    That depends on the kind of account you have. Complete details for each kind of account are listed in the "Services and Prices" section of our web page.
    Standard shell accounts have an official quota of 2 GB for mail, web, and other files. (Files in /tmp and /var/tmp are not counted toward quota.) Any account that has used less disk space than allocated during the past seven days has a margin of 15% extra. (See "What is a soft quota?", below.)
  4. How do you figure out how much space I'm using?
    The system looks for files owned by your user ID, and adds up the amount of space they're taking up. If you notice that you are using a lot more space than makes sense to you, try running
    diskuse -l
    This command checks to see what files are owned by you across all file systems and prints out a list.
  5. What is a hard quota?
    A hard quota is the true limit beyond which you can't go without losing data. (Mail bounces, attempts to modify a file may result in losing the previous version entirely.)
    A soft quota?
    A soft quota is an official limit, lower than the hard quota, that is not an impassible boundary. Its purpose is to let you modify your data when you're close to quota. To use arbitrary numbers in this example, If your soft quota is 185 MB and your hard quota is 200 MB, even if you have 184 MB of data stored you still have you have 16 MB worth of room to manoeuver, so you don't (for instance) lose mail in the meantime.
  6. How does the soft quota work?
    The system keeps track of the amount of storage you're using. When you go above your soft quota, it sets a timer (and sends you a warning). If you continue to stay above your quota (continuously) for seven days, the system shuts down the margin, and you will be affected by "over quota" problems-- mail bouncing, data loss, problems logging in, etc.
  7. What is a unified quota system?
    A unified quota system is one that maintains a single quota for files handled by different file servers. At the moment, our quota system is combining totals of files stored in users' mail, home and web directories (personal and standard), and space used for a MySQL database for those users who have one. Some users may also have files elsewhere that are included in the unified quota.
  8. How can I find out what my quota is?
    You can run the "quota" command from the shell or login to config.panix.com/shell and select " Quota".
    You'll see something like this:
    Disk quotas for user example (uid NNNNN):
                     Space used (Megabytes)           Number of Files               
    Area             Usage   Quota   Limit  Expires   Usage   Quota   Limit  Expires
    --------------  ------  ------  ------  -------  ------  ------  ------  -------
    Shell/Web/Mail   461.5  1024.0  1075.2              417  200000  210000         
       Shell & Web    71.5       -   685.2              417       -  210000         
       Mail          390.0       -  1003.7                0       -  209583         
    
    Your official (soft) quota is listed in the second column. The total (for all systems) is in the first line. On the other lines is the amount of that space that is in use on individual systems.
    You will see that the "Limit" amounts differ for shell/web data and mail. That is because the subsystem limit is the difference between the whole limit and the space used on the other subsystem.
  9. How can I make my quota higher? lower?
    You can purchase additional 1 GB disk blocks for $10/month ($100/year prepaid) each.
    If your account has billing permissions, you can add or remove disk space at https://config.panix.com/shell, or you can drop a note to accounting@panix.com, or call the office, +1 (212) 741-4400 10am-6pm (NYC time) M-F and we'll raise or lower your quota for you.
  10. What happens if I go over quota?
    That depends on whether you mean the soft quota or the hard quota.
    Here's what happens if you exceed the soft quota:
    Any time your disk usage rises from below your quota to above it you will get a warning message, and you'll get warnings at intervals thereafter. In any case you will also get email 60 minutes after the change and every 24 hours thereafter-- unless in the meantime your usage has dropped below quota.
    As soon as your usage goes below quota the clock is reset. You'll get another alert the next time you go over quota, and the cycle will repeat.
    You have a 5% margin until your usage stays consistently above quota for seven days. (Any time it dips below quota the clock is reset.)
    Here's what happens if you exceed the hard quota:
    The system can't add data for you. This means that your mail will bounce (because the system won't be able to write new messages for you). If you try to edit an existing file you may lost the older version because there isn't room to write it back. You may even have trouble logging in because sometimes there are files that are written automatically upon login, and those files cannot be properly updated.
  11. Can I get a short-term "emergency loan" of extra space?
    When you find yourself approaching, at, or even over your quota, give us a call at +1 (212) 741-4400 10am-6pm (NYC time) M-F and follow the prompts to reach our support department.
    After hours or over the weekend, you can drop a line to staff@panix.com, as we do read mail during non-business hours.
    Once we hear from you, we'll increase your quota by 1 GB (one additional disk block) unless you specifically ask for more. Once you've logged in and performed the maintenance needed to get your account below your usual allocation, you can call us or send us email notifying us you are back under your quota.
    Note that you will have to let us know when you no longer need the additional space.
    If you let us know that you no longer need the additional space so that we can remove it within three days, we'll normally waive the charge. Otherwise, a prorated charge for the space will be added to your bill. (Note that if the three days extend over the weekend, we might not be able to drop your allocation within the three day period, but in that case the charge will be minimal.)
    Until we hear from you, the extra disk space will remain on the account and you will be charged $10/month if your account is billed monthly or quarterly, $100 if you are billed annually. The amount will be prorated.
  12. How much does it cost to add extra space?
    Extra disk blocks are $10/month ($100/year prepaid) each. Each block is 1 GB. Remember that if you want to decrease your disk quota, you need to tell us when you no longer the extra space.
  13. What if I've prepaid my account for a year?
    Any extra disk space will automatically be put on the same billing cycle as your account. If you've prepaid for a year but need additional space for a shorter term, we'll prorate the charge-- or you can convert your account to monthly and have the disk charge run on a monthly basis, but then, of course, you lose the yearly discount.
  14. Can I share disk space between two accounts?
    Not really; the quota is linked to file ownership, and that's linked by the system to the user ID for the account.



Last Modified:Wednesday, 14-Sep-2016 12:12:19 EDT
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