Using Bioarchive

From Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Bioarchive is meant to be a place for a ten year archival of data at a low up front cost. With most grants, PIs are responsible to preserving data well beyond the end of the funding period. With Bioarchive, storage space can be purchased before the end of the grant, then data can be safely kept there until 10 years from purchase. PIs might need to contact Grants and Contracts to get an exception for this, but in our experience, these are nearly universally granted. Some ongoing projects also create large amounts of data that do not need to be actively accessed over the lifetime of the project. By storing data on Bioarchive, you can safely keep this data while not having to pay for the higher cost of storage on Biocluster or other storage services.

Types of Data that can go in Bioarchive[edit]

Pretty much the only data that is not allowed on Bioarchive is that covered by the HIPAA. All other data is permitted, but the real use case is data larger than the 15GB/file limitation in Genomic data, image data, microscope data, are all perfectly fine, although you may need to compress and combine them before hand. Especially if you have numerous smaller files.

How Bioarchive Works[edit]

Bioarchive is a disk to tape system that utilizes a Spectralogic Black Perl disk system and a Spectralogic T950 tape library with LTO8 tape drives. This system allows users to transfer data to the archive quickly since it is writing to spinning disk, and then the software can then finish moving the data to tape. Unless specified otherwise, all data on Bioarchive is written two two tapes. One of these tapes stays in the library in case the data is needed, while another tape is taken to a secure offsite storage facility. As more space to store data is needed in the archive, CNRG staff will order more tapes to store the data, making storage space virtually unlimited.

How Bioarchive Billing Works[edit]

Due to the long term storage goals of Bioarchive, billing on Bioarchive is different than most services. Each private storage area is called a Bucket, and each Bucket needs to have a CFOP number associated with it. Before we charge on any bucket, we give users 80GB of space to make sure the service meets their needs and they want to proceed. Once a bucket passes this initial 80GB threshold and each subsequent 1 TB threshold, we bill for $200 for each new TB in the next monthly billing period. Ten years after a Bucket is billed, the PI will be offered the choice of removing a TB of data or paying for an additional 10 years.

Request An Account[edit]

Please fill out our Archive Bucket Request Form at this link:
You will receive an email from CNRG once your account is created.

Change Password[edit]

Once your account is activated, you will need to change your password IMMEDIATELY to ensure that access to your data is secure.
To change your password, do the following:

  • Go to and log in using your netID and the temporary password given to you when your account was set-up.
  • Choose "Action" at the top left and then choose "Edit"
  • Enter your temporary password in the Current Password field, then create a new password and confirm it. Be sure to click "Save" when you are done.

Get S3 Keys[edit]

Although a bit confusing, the main credentials to access your data are the S3 keys that are assigned to your account.You need to log into the web interface of the archive to obtain them.

  • Log into with the username and password created in the previous step, or continue from there if you just changed your password.
  • In the top-left corner of the page, click on the "Action" drop down menu
  • Select "Show S3 Credentials"
  • A pop-up box will appear with your S3 Access ID and S3 Secret Key, copy these someplace safe, you will need them to transfer data to and from the archive.

Determine How You Will Use the Archive[edit]

Depending on your situation, the best solution for using the archive could be either using the pre-installed tools on Biocluster, installing the Eon Browser on your own system, or installing the command line tools on your own system. If you are a Biocluster user and transferring data from Biocluster, then the Biocluster pre-installed tools will probably be best. If you are a Core Facilities user wanting to archive Microscope data from your personal system, then installing the Eon Browser on your system will probably be best.

Option A - Get a Biocluster Account[edit]

The tools to access the archive are already installed on Biocluster. To get an account on Biocluster please fill out the form at

Most users with data on Biocluster will want to use the Eon Browser directly from biocluster. This keeps users from transferring their data through their personal system and allows for use of the IGB high speed network. At the moment, the Eon Browser is only available on Eventually, this will become a module on biocluster.

Option B - Install Eon Browser[edit]

You can download and install the Eon Browser GUI for the archive on your local system.

Windows - BlackPearlEonBrowserSetup-5.0.12.msi

MacOS - BlackPearlEonBrowser-5.0.12.dmg

This is useful if you are archiving data from your local computer or from systems other than Biocluster.

Note for OSX systems

If the system says that the file is corrupted, doing the following in a terminal session after you copy the program to your applications should fix it.

cd /Applications
sudo xattr -cr

Option C - Install Command Line Tools[edit]

You can download and install the command line tools for the archive on your local system by downloading the software at

This is primarily for users who need or want command line access from their local computer.

Using Eon Browser[edit]

The Eon Browser is the simplest method of transferring data into and out of the archive. CNRG expects that most users will use the Eon Browser.

The Spectralogic User Guide for the Eon Browser is at

Use this information when opening a new session on the archive:

  • Name: You can name this anything you want (Bioarchive, IGB Archive, etc.)
  • Data Path Address:
  • Port: 443
  • Check the box for Use SSL
  • Access ID: Your S3 Access ID
  • Secret Key: Your S3 Secret Key
  • Check the box for Default Session if you want it to automatically connect to the archive when you open the program.
  • Click Save to save your session settings so that you don't need to put it in every time.
  • Click Open to open the archive session.

You should see your local computer directories on the lefthand side, and your available buckets on the right. To transfer data, just drag from your local computer directories and drop it in the appropriate bucket. You will see the progress in the bottom of the program window.

Notes on Eon Browser[edit]

  • When uploading a file, it will first go into the cache and then get written to tape. You can see this happening in the Eon Browser by looking at the storage locations column. A purple disk icon shows the data is in cache, and the green tape icon shows that the data is on tape.
  • Also while uploading a file, the session will not show a complete transfer until all of the data uploaded is written to tape. This can take some time. If your session gets interrupted while data is copying from the cache to tape, it should complete successfully.
  • If you have a significant amount of data to transfer, please check the sleep settings on your computer in advance of the transfer. If your computer goes to sleep during a transfer, it will interrupt it.

For the immediate future, the Eon Browser is available on biotransfer or you can install it on your local system.

Using Command Line Tools[edit]

If you are using the archive on the biocluster, please be sure to configure your archive environment on biocluster as shown below. The Spectralogic user guide for the command line tools is at

Common Information[edit]

Many pieces of information are common across the use of this tool.

  • Bold Text denotes items that need to be replace with information pertinent to you
  • S3_Access_ID is the S3 access id for your account, you can get this by logging into the archive web interface
  • S3_Secret_Key is the S3 secret key for your account, you can get this by logging into the archive web interface
  • Bucket_Name is the S3 bucket you want to put your data in
  • is the dns name of the archive. If you are using in biocluster, you should use instead

If you are using the command line tools on biocluster, then you need to load the module by typing:

module load ds3_java_cli

This will add the utilities to your environment.

Configuring Environment for Biocluster[edit]

In order to make using the command line tools easier on biocluster, we have created a program to set up environment variables to simplify usage. Please use the script as shown below. Enter in your secret key and access key when prompted.

[]$ module load ds3_java_cli
-bash: /home/a-m/danield/.archive/credentials: No such file or directory
Directory exists, but file does not
Enter S3 Access ID:S3_Access_ID
Enter S3 Secret Key:S3_Secret_Key
Archive variables already loaded in .bashrc
Environment updated for next login.  To use new values in this session, please type 'source .archive/credentials'

After you run this command please be sure to type 'source .archive/credentials' In all of the following commands below, we are assuming you are using biocluster to do the transfer and have run this program. If this is not the case then you need to include:
-a S3_Access_ID -k S3_Secret_Key -e
On every line immediately after the ds3_java_cli command and before the rest of the commands as shown below.


There are not many, but as we find them, they will be placed here

  • You can only put 500,000 objects at a time on the system. If you need up put more than 500,000 files and folders, you will need to split that up between two or more submissions. However this is assuredly a sign that your data needs to be organized better. Please contact us if you run into this issue.

Upload Items in A Directory[edit]

ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c put_bulk -d Directory_Name

  • put_bulk tells the program to upload everything inside the directory given
  • Directory_Name is the directory to upload, note this will upload everything in this directory, not the directory itself

Upload One File[edit]

ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c put_object -o File_Name

  • uploads a single file to the archive
  • uploading a file with -o SomeDirectory/somefile will put the uploaded file in the directory SomeDirectory
  • to put all files in a certain subdirectory, use the prefix option -p path/to/another/directory/

See Files in Archive[edit]

ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c get_bucket

  • This will list all of the files in the archive and the total size of data in the bucket

Download a File From the Archive[edit]

ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c get_object -o File_Name

  • This will download the object named File_Name
  • Note if there are other read or write jobs running on the archive and the file is not in cache, this will appear to hang while it waits for the drives to become available.

Download a Directory From the Archive[edit]

ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c get_bulk

  • This will download all objects in a bucket. Use carefully.
  • You can add -p prefix to restrict which files get restored

List Available Buckets[edit]

ds3_java_cli -c get_service

  • Returns a list of buckets that the user has permission to access.

Best Practices for Uploading Data[edit]

Create the Environment[edit]

First make sure you set up your command line environment properly via the script outline above. You can check if this is working by doing a:
ds3_java_cli -c get_service
and making sure that your buckets show.

Upload With a Separate Folder[edit]

To upload data, it is best that you have all data in one directory named something like "to_archive" then you can put all of the data you want to upload to the archive in that folder, exactly like you want it to be on the archive. Make sure these files do not already exist in those locations in the archive with either the Eon Browser or the command line tools. When you are ready, then run this command:
ds3_java_cli -b Bucket_Name -c put_bulk -d to_archive
Note that the to_archive folder does not exist in the bucket now. This command moves everything inside of the to_archive folder into the archive, but not the to_archive folder itself.