File Transfer

In order to transfer files to and from the supercomputer (OzSTAR), a ssh-based file transfer utility is required. There are a variety of Options that you can use.

Operating System Terminal
Mac “scp” (secure copy) command can be used via the terminal or use Cyberduck as a GUI alternative
Linux “scp” (secure copy) command _ can be used via the terminal
Windows The recommended software is WinSCP

As an alternative option, you can use a SFTP Client (e.g FileZilla Client – more details about using the SFTP mode in FileZilla can be found on

Copying a file or directory via SSH

The simplest way to copy a file to or from the supercomputer is to use the scp command.


In the following examples, we assume an ozstar alias set to [your-username]

Copying a local file to the OzSTAR supercomputer:

scp ./file.txt ozstar:destination/path/

You can also copy a file from the supercomputer to your local machine (e.g. download) as follows:

scp ozstar:path/to/file.txt .

Copy a directory and its content is done by using the -r option:

scp -r path/to/copy/ ozstar:destination/path/

The above command will initiate a connection from your local environment to OzSTAR directly.

Transferring a large number of small files

Transferring lots of small files can take a long time with scp due to the overhead of copying each file individually. Instead, it is advised to package your files into a single tar file using the tar command to significantly reduce the transfer time. This is done by create a tar archive, copying it using scp, and finally untar it to retrieve your individual files.

Transferring code

The best way to transfer code from one computer to another is to host the code in a source code repository using a versioning system such as git or mercurial and clone the repository from your local computer, or a cloud service (e.g. bitbucket, github, ...), to the supercomputer.

Resuming interrupted transfers

If a transfer is interrupted, you might end up with part of the files being transferred. Rather than restarting the transfer from scratch, you should then use the rsync command. The rsync command will compare the source and destination directories and only transfer what needs to be transferred (missing files, modified files, etc.)

rsync -va ./source_dir ozstar:destination/path


Make sure not to leave trailing slashes in your path names (e.g. destination/path rather than destination/path/); else you will have a full copy of the directory inside the existing, partial, one. Use the -n (dry-run) option of rsync to check what will happen before you run the actual command.


If one large file is left partially transferred, you can resume it using the --partial.

Synchronising with a local directory

If you want to keep two directories (one on your local computer, and one on the supercomputer) in sync, you can do that with rsync using its --delete option. But that is only one-way so you need to really think in what direction you do it, and it does not scale beyond two synchronized directory trees.

Another potential option is to use Unison, a piece of software that can detect and handle conflicts (incompatible changes made to the same file in the two directories that must be kept in sync.)

Please note that the supercomputer is NOT a place to use as a backup for your laptop or workstation's holiday snaps and emails.