I have been tasked with administering a process here at work that is a little out of my league.

We currently have access to two network drives, the S drive and the V drive. S drive is 18.1 terabytes. V drive is 1 terabyte. I have no idea how these drives are physically laid out or set up. Our IT staff does a great job backing these up and all of that stuff. Our V drive is the working drive. That is, people use it for their daily work on client projects. We often run out of space on this drive. The S drive is our archive drive. We have to keep all of our electronic files for a really long time (legal reasons). Once a project is 'done', it should be moved to the S drive, but I am the only one with write-access to this drive. We don't allow everybody to move files back and forth between the two drives because we run the risk of deleting stuff from the S drive that we are supposed to keep.

Here is what currently happens:

People are supposed to tell me which projects to archive when they are done with those projects. Then, I have to manually move those to the S drive. The problem is that most of the time, parts of the projects have already been archived while others haven't. Sometimes, people need to "un-arhive" parts of certain projects, etc. So for each project, I have to be really careful about overwriting things and the whole process is very manual. To top it off, I cannot get people to tell me when they are done with projects, so it always comes down to "Holy Shit, there are only 20 GBs left on the drive and I have to run all this shit that will take up more space than that. Fix it now!"

I am a total admin noob, so I am not sure how to improve this situation, and I am not really sure what the "name" of this problem is, so I have had a hard time googling. Can you recommend any tools or processes to help?

  • As per one of the answers, you're looking for an archiving solution. You might want to look into a NAS with snapshots that allows you to keep point in time backups without spending a lot of hardware on them. – Basil Nov 2 '11 at 20:41

Well first of all, chin up. You've been asked to provide a technical solution to a management problem.

It seems to me that the people you work for need to do one of two things:

  1. Provide you timely information about which projects are complete, so they can be archived; or
  2. Increase the size of the online storage (V drive).

Still, you're looking for a way to better automate the process.

This almost seems like a job for a good backup system, like BackupPC. If you have, say, daily backups, and you keep them for a long time, then people can just delete their projects when they're done with them (as long as all of the files have been there at least a day, so they've been backed up). Users won't have write access to the archive drive, but the backup system will. This might not meet all of your requirements, but it would get you a lot of the way there.

I don't know of any better name for this problem than just archiving.

Good luck.


Get rid of the two drives and store everything in two different directories on the same drive. That way you won't have a smaller amount of space in the working area, and moving things to the archive directory will be instantaneous.

  • good idea. i think part of the problem with this is that the V drive is high-performance ($$$) and users are writing and sharing very large data sets on it frequently. the S drive has much more space but is lower performance. i will ask about this. – oob Nov 2 '11 at 21:48

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