Research Data Store (RDS) is a central service for storing large volumes of research data. 

Key features include:

  • Ease of use – accessible as a fast network drive across the college network, and directly on the RCS's compute systems.
  • Cost-effective – generous standard allocations for research projects, with metered rates for additional storage. 

What you get

  •  Project Space, as a PI you may create as many separate project allocations as you need. All allocations must be tied to an active research project grant or GL code. Each separate funded research project is eligible for 2TB of online storage free of charge for the duration of the project. Additional storage is chargeable at the metered rates shown below. This space provides snapshots, allowing you to retrieve deleted or earlier revisions of files.
  • Ephemeral Space is temporary working space. The ephemeral space can store an unrestricted amount of data but its contents are subject to a 30-day lifetime, older files being deleted automatically.

How does the RDS compare to other storage options?

The features of the RDS in comparison to the College's other storage options are summarised in the following table:

Comparing RDS to other storage options table

Comparing RDS to other storage options

Use the below table to compare RDS against other College storage options.




RDS individual space

RDS project space

Recommended use

Individual use. Active document and small data file sharing

Group based collaboration documents.

Active workspace for users of the College HPC system

Storage of high volumes of active and cool research data;

Data to be processed on HPC systems;

Long term archive of cold data

Standard allowance

 5TB for staff and students


1TB for HPC users

2TB/research grant

Extra storage

Not available

Not applicable

No (unlimited ephemeral storage)

Unlimited, metered storage

(unlimited ephemeral storage)

Data sharing

Selectively, by file folder

Selectively: Allow Editing or read-only access. Can block downloads

POSIX file permissions. 

Sharing within an individual's research group

POSIX file permissions. 

Single access control list per allocation

Sharing outside of IC members

Individuals with a Microsoft account

Yes, but no anonymous links


yes with Globus.


Web, Windows, Mac


RCS HPC systems,

Linux, Windows 10, Mac (CIFS)

RDS HPC systems, 

Linux, Windows 10, Mac (CIFS)

Accessible outside College network

Yes, with an active College account


yes with Globus.

yes with Globus.

Data locality



Imperial + copies within the EU

Imperial + copies within the EU


Cloud service

Cloud service

Snapshots, second copy at the second site

Snapshots, second copy at the second site

Allocation lifetime

Owning an individual's College account


Owning an individual's College account

Indefinite, subject to funding


Working with Sensitive or Personally-identifiable Data?

The project allocations currently available on the RDS are not suitable for storing personal or sensitive personal data. If you are working with data of this type, please consult with the RCS Service manager before commencing work.

Project Space Options

Each research project* is eligible for 2TB of online storage, split across all of the associated RDS project allocations. Usage over this amount will incur a fee and will be billed to the funding research project every month. We will calculate the fee based on the amount of storage actually used, measured daily. The rate we use depends on degree of redundancy requested when the allocation was created. We offer two tiers of redundancy:

  • Single Copy data is held on a single file-system supported by multiply-redundant disk storage system. This space provides snapshots, allowing you to  retrieve deleted or earlier revisions of files.

  • Dual Copy As the standard level, but with an additional copy kept at second geographic site, allowing data to be recovered in the case of a site-wide disaster.

These two tiers are both intended for data that's in active use. Once a project is completed, we can archive its RDS allocation. An archived allocation remains accessible through a file-system view, but in read-only form. Actually accessing the content of files will incur a high latency as the data is brought back from slow, cold, storage.

Read more about organising your data in the RDS.

*We consider a research project to be a unique entry in the college's grant management system - ie a project account with a P or PS code. Non-project GL accounts can also be used but these receive no standard entitlement.

What it Costs

The FEC rates for RDS Project Storage are below. These can be costed in InfoEd through the Research Computing Service charge-out (TRAC) facility.

Single Copy (standard) £1.50/TB/month
Dual Copy £3.00/TB/month
Archive £100/TB/decade (one-off charge)

We will normally bill the supporting project or GL account monthly. Where funds are subject to a sunset date, we are able to accept non-refundable advance payments.

Registering, Managing and Accessing Project Allocations

PIs may register project allocations (please refer to the ), as well as monitor usage and grant other people access, via our self-service portal (college network or VPN access required).

Once you have created an RDS project, please go to the RDS user guide for further information on accessing and managing your RDS project.