News Briefs

Athena Disk Quota to Increase

MIT will increase the size of Athena disk quotas from 1 gigabyte to 1.5 gigabytes on Tuesday, Feb. 5, said Garry P. Zacheiss ’00, Information Services & Technology team leader, in an e-mail.

The Athena quota increase, which Zacheiss said was prompted by a large number of requests IS&T received in the fall, will affect users’ home directories as well as the lockers of student activities and academic courses. People who need even more storage space can request a quota increase, up to a total of 6 gigabytes based on demonstrated need, from Athena User Accounts at

Although students are increasingly storing information on their own computers, storage on Athena “remains popular for the ease with which it allows publishing static Web content on campus,” said Zacheiss.

MIT’s quota is relatively generous compared with that of peer institutions. Stanford University offers a 200 megabyte disk quota and a separate 200 megabyte e-mail quota, according to its Information Technology Services Web site. The Information Management Systems & Services department at the California Institute of Technology offers e-mail accounts with no size limit; it also offers 120 megabytes of Unix disk space and 70 megabytes of Windows disk space. Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences offers a 100 megabyte quota which applies towards both stored files and e-mail messages.

Zacheiss said that the quota increase would probably not, in the short term, require MIT to buy any additional storage space. The AFS cell has 12 terabytes of available space, and about 8 terabytes are currently in use, Zacheiss said.

The disk quota was last increased in 2004, when it was doubled from 500 megabytes to 1 gigabyte. The quota for e-mail messages stored on MIT’s IMAP servers will remain at 1 gigabyte; and the quota for the WinAthena distributed file system will remain at 2 gigabytes, Zacheiss said. The Athena network infrastructure has evolved substantially since the last quota increase, and Zacheiss said that the four-year delay between this increase and the last was in part caused by a desire to wait for several infrastructure changes to settle.

In 1989, Athena users were allotted only 1.2 megabytes, or slightly less than could be fit on a high-density floppy disk. This limit has since increased — see the table to the right for a history.

—Michael McGraw-Herdeg