Tags storage

AFS (Andrew File System) is a distributed storage technology. ITS maintains the cell UMICH.EDU here at the University of Michigan. For more information, see the ITS overview.

U-M previously used the name Institutional File System (IFS) to refer to our AFS cell. ITS has officially dropped the "IFS" brand and now refers to the service as "AFS." However, for the foreseeable future you will continue to see references to IFS in various places.

In recent years, the University and LSA have adopted other technologies, such as U-M Google (Google Workspace), Dropbox at U-M, and Research Storage, that provide similar functionality to AFS and a lot more storage space. However, AFS is still useful in some cases and is still used as a home directory on some Linux systems, including those provided by the ITS Login Service and the Statistics & Computation Service.

AFS personal space

Members of the U-M community who are eligible for Standard Computing Services may optionally receive a 10GB allotment of AFS space. The AFS space can be used to store and share files and to publish personal web pages.

AFS group space

Group directories are also available. See the Group Directories section in the AFS FAQ for details.

Remote access

An easy way to get to your AFS home directory from anywhere is to use mFile on the web. For instructions, see Using mFile to Access Your AFS Home Directory Over the Web.

You can also use scp or sftp to upload/download files from your AFS space by connecting to To get a login shell to work with your files directly you can ssh to

Client access

To access AFS directly from your desktop or laptop, you can install clients from OpenAFS, Auristor, or Sine Nomine (downloads). If you need the client installed on a machine supported by LSA Technology Services, please submit a support ticket and someone from LSA Technology Services will assist you. Even if you have administrative access, it is best to let LSA Technology Services install the client, as we have pre-configured packages for each platform.

The only available installer for Windows 10 is from Auristor.

If client software supports SFTP connections (examples are Cyberduck and Dreamweaver), you can establish a connection to, even without the OpenAFS software installed on your machine.

Ask questions of or send feedback to

The problem of expiring tokens

One problem with AFS is that Kerberos-based tokens identify you to the AFS service. By default, these tokens expire after 24 hours. When your tokens expire, you will no longer be able to write to your own AFS space. The Statistics & Computation Service has an article on this problem and how you can extend your session.

In any case, if you have long-running jobs, it is better to run them from and write output to a directory on your local hard drive rather than AFS space.

AFS migration tool

  • The AFS Migration Tool can be used to transfer files from AFS to a local computer or to U-M-affiliated cloud services.


Article ID: 1559
Tue 5/26/20 6:18 PM
Wed 10/14/20 3:57 PM

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