Ross Network Storage (U:, S:, R:)
Space allotted on the Ross file servers to store data show up on pre-configured Ross Windows machines as the U:, S:, and R: drives.
The U: drive belongs to each individual user, and files stored in that location can only be accessed and retrieved by that person. This takes the place of the "My Documents" folder. Use this space to store important documents, research data sets, confidential files, and documents that have long, historical value to the Ross community, with the knowledge that in the event of a computer failure or disk error, the files themselves aren't actually stored locally on the hard drive and can be safely retrieved from the network.
Ross departments, programs, centers and institutes have shared network space for collaborative work (the S: drive). This shared network space allows multiple people within the same department to work on, share and save documents that pertain to groups within a department. It is possible for people outside of the department to be granted permission into specific file folders at the request of the department director or chair. As with individual file space, use this space to organize, share and protect information that pertains to the entire organization, i.e. strategy, policy, budget, HR, etc.
The R: drive is where everything above is stored, and more. In that respect, the U: and S: drive serve as shortcuts to somewhere on the R: drive. The R: drive also contains a public space where anyone can log in to store or retrieve a file. Do not store sensitive files on this drive. It is meant to make collaboration easier between different departments or even outside contacts (click GuestFTP in the side-bar, for more information).
UM Network Storage
All U-M students, faculty, and staff are allocated space on the Andrew File System (AFS) provided by the central University IT group (ITS). AFS is a central file storage, sharing, and retrieval system that you can access from Macintosh, Windows, and Unix computers. AFS provides a convenient way to store, share, publish and protect documents using a 'Public', 'Shared' and 'Private' folder structure. There is a quota for this storage. You can also easily publish information to the Web by placing documents in a special folder under your 'Public' folder. Find out more by visiting the AFS web site.
Cloud Based Storage (Google Drive & Box)
Google Apps gives our community (and the University as a whole) a plethora of tools for collaboration. Among them is Google Drive. Google Drive will allow the creation of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation documents, and allows other files to be uploaded and saved in the Google Drive. You can work on them right from within your browser, and changes are saved automatically. By default, files are restricted so only you can access them, but clicking the "Share" button makes sharing them out to others very easy. You can access Google Drive by logging into your UM-Gmail account, and clicking "Drive," or "Documents," among the list of apps along the top.
Box is a document syncing service, similar to products like Dropbox. Upon installation, you can point it to a folder on your computer, and the Box program will upload the contents of that folder "to the cloud." You can run Box on more than one computer, and doing so will sync those files across each computer or device. Everyone at the University can get a Box account for free at this link.
Benefits of Network & Cloud File Space
You've likely heard the mantra before: "save early, save often," and "backup, backup, backup." If you only store your files locally on one hard drive, and that hard drive happens to crash, sending it to a repair facility to try and read the data can cost thousands of dollars. So, pretty soon you are buying external hard drives and complicated software to backup your local computer. Keeping files on the network, where they are regularly backed up by us, or keeping them in the cloud, makes backing up less mandatory.
Sharing is easier, too, if you choose to store your files on the network or in the cloud. Currently, most of us are used to sending documents through email in order to share them. This can result in many copies of the same file, often with more than one version, which can get pretty confusing. In addition, lots of mail services have restrictions on file size attachments. When you utilize the sharing capabilities of network and cloud based storage, only one version of that file will exist, and you aren't subject to email attachment restrictions.
Lastly, the files are accessible wherever you go. Working on the network or in the cloud means you'll never run into the situation where you're miles away, remembering you forgot to bring that important file with you. If you're in that situation, you can simply log in to the network or cloud service from any computer, no matter where you are, and have access to what you need.
Network Storage Quotas & Limits
Network and cloud storage isn't unlimited, but for the average person the allocated space is way more than you'll likely need.
- You can store 20gb of data on the U: drive.
- Google Drive allows for an unlimited amount of file storage under the U-M agreement.
- Box offers 50gb of file storage space.