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Workspace management


This article targets Workspace managers. It covers applications, Workspace properties, up to modifications and suggested usage of Workspaces.

Workspace Intention

Workspaces are group shared resources. This group could be for example:

  • whole research group working together on shared data and software packages
  • student(s) an their supervisor
  • collaborating researchers from different research groups/institutes
  • sub-group within the research group, which requires data separation

Workspace Properties


HPC Workspaces manage compute and storage resources. Especially the freely available resources are meant to be shared between participating research groups. Therefore, the Workspaces belong to a beforehand registered research group.

An HPC Workspace can be only requested by a research group leader, who responsible and accountable, since costly extensions can be added to the Workspace. Additionally, a deputy can be nominated, who also can manage the Workspace (see Workspace Modification). Owners and deputies are called Workspace managers.


Deputies have the same privileges than the owner, up to purchasing costly resources without additional notification.

If the workspace is meant to be for a collaboration of researchers from different research groups, you need to agree to one research group which is responsibilities and gets accounted for the resources. This research group leader need to request the workspace.

Member groups

Each Workspace has two member groups:

  • primary users with read and write access and
  • secondary users with read only access

Only members of the primary group can create and modify data, belonging to the Workspace, as well as submitting jobs to the Workspace account. The member lists are defined at Workspace application time and can be modified later.

Members can be anyone with an UniBE Campus Account, but need to be registered for UBELIX usage, see Account Activation.

Free Of Charge Quota

Every research group has 10TB free of charge quota. This can be used within one or more Workspaces. The amount used per Workspace is set at application time and can be changed later within the limitation.

Additional Storage

See costs page for details.


Storage is a limited and expensive resource. Abandoned, unused workspaces should be prevented by design. Therefore, an HPC Workspace has a default live time of one year. A notification will be send before the Workspace expiry. The Workspace expiry date can be changed at any time to any date within the next 365 days by any Workspace manager. ServicePortal -> Shop -> HPC -> Edit HPC Workspace -> Workspace Duratio



Since we are sharing the HPC resources on basis of research groups, a registration of these is required. Only official University of Bern research groups can register. These need to be officially represented within the sites. Since research group definition are vague. In unclear situation please specify the responsible professor.

Required information:

  • research group name
  • research group responsible, in best case responsible professor
    • A long term responsible person, e.g. for data in case actual research group lead leaves university. Research group or topic need to be at least stated on the UniBE webpage.
  • cost center for location in organizational tree (a UniBE cost center)
    • for determining the proper cost center, please ask YOUR UniBE secretary
  • official research group URL, where the research group name and research group head is mentioned
  • research group ID which is merged with the institute ID. This code is used in the UBELIX file system tree

Registration Form: Service Portal -> Register Research Group

The request need to be verified manually. This may take some time.

Application Form

An HPC Workspace can (only) be requested by a registered research group lead/manager using the ServicePortal application form:

Service Portal -> Create HPC Workspace

The following information are required:

  • Workspace ID (max. 20 characters), please choose a unique name
  • Workspace Name
  • Workspace Description
  • registered research group (see prerequisites)
  • Deputy (permissions for managing the Workspace) (optional)
  • Free Quota (see above)
  • additional Storage (optional): an upper limit of quota, where the actual quota will be charged. When selected this requires a valid cost center for accounting.
  • Cost Center (necessary when requesting Additional Storage)
  • primary group members (all accounts need UBELIX activation beforehand)
  • secondary group members (optional) (all accounts need UBELIX activation beforehand) member lists can be selected one by one or as a comma separated list of Campus accounts (see Import Bulk User)

All members need to have their account activated for UBELIX, otherwise the process will fail and need manual intervention. See Account Activation

If the requester only want to hold the managing position without UBELIX, the requester can remove his/her account from the primary member list. This can be changed any time.

Workspace ID

The Workspace ID need to be a unique string. Please avoid duplications with user IDs, Research Group IDs and other Workspace names.

processing time

The Workspace creation for now relies on a temporary automatic process which is running only once a day at 20:00. In future the process will be much faster.

Workspace modifications

After creation, owners and deputies can modify Workspace properties using the Service Portal Form:

Service Portal -> Edit HPC Workspace

Properties to change are: - adding/removing members to/from primary and secondary group - storage extension - Workspace live time extension - Workspace closure (so far you need to “deactivate” AND THEN “delete” the workspace)


During the processing of a modification no other modification can be requested. The Workspace is even not visible in the ServicePortal for that time. Most modification will be processed within few minutes, but adding non-free-of-charge features like additional storage, need human approval, which may delay the process. The Workspace itself (file storage and Slurm, etc.) will not be interrupted by a change.

Investor QoS

Investors get elevated priviledges for specific queues. These are managed in so called Slurm QoS (Quality of Service). Where in the past the investors specified a list of users, who can use the QoS, in future Workspaces are able to manage the QoS on Workspace level. Therefore, you need to open a request to add an existing QoS to a (list of) Workspace(s). The membership managment is done within the Workspace.


Investor QoS are bind to SLURM accounts. Since personal SLURM accounts get deactivated when joining an HPC Workspace, the investor QoS need to get transfered. This process is not done automatically, please request the transfer using our ServicePortal

Import Bulk Users

The “Import Bulk Users” field provides the possibility to list a larger set of members for primary or secondary group without selecting them one by one. There the members need to be specified as a comma seperated list of Campus Accounts (not full names). Keep in mind: you need to specify the full list of members in these field. After leaving the field the upper primary/secondary member list will be replaced with this list.

Permission Background

This sections provides more advanced information about the implementation of the permission handling for both permission groups. Nevertheless, we strongly suggest to keep default permissions. -rw-rw-r-- for files and drwxrwxr-x for directories.

In Linux permissions are manged using: user (owner), group and other. user will always be the username creating the file/directory. In a Workspace the group will always be the Workspace primary group. This should (and this is default) get read/write permissions. The Workspace secondary group gets access to the Workspace main directory using ACLs. Then, within the Workspace these members acts as other and need to get read permissions.

Thus a file:

-rw-rw-r--  2 user ws_group  4096 Jan 01 09:11 filename

can be modified by all members of the ws_group and read by everyone else (with access to that location, which is grated for secondary Workspace group members). And a file

-rw-rw----  2 user ws_group  4096 Jan 01 09:11 filename2

can be modified by all members of the ws_group, but NOT read by anyone else (even not secondary Workspace group members).

Please, make sure that all your files and directories keep this permissions. In case of moving data from other locations, these could vary and can be corrected using:

find /storage/workspace/<researchGroupID>/<workspaceID>/ \
\( -type f -exec chmod 664 {} \; \) , \
\( -type d -exec chmod 775 {} \; \)

Last update: 2023-11-17