ECResearch is a network file server for Engineering faculty members, for storage of research data. Its use is primarily for backup purposes. Instructions for backing up various clients can be found here.

ECResearch (ecresearch.uwaterloo.ca) can be accessed a number of different ways, all requiring Nexus credentials for authentication:

  1. Via Microsoft's file sharing protocol, SMB/CIFS, from Windows, MacOS, Linux, Unix etc.
  2. Through Nextcloud, an open-source "dropbox"-like Web service, accessible through a browser or through an installed client application that synchronizes a selected folder. The synchronization client is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, etc. Nextcloud also allows easy file sharing among Nextcloud users.
  3. Via NFS (network file system protocol) on Unix/Linux, available from on-campus computers only.

File size, type of computing device you use, and need for auto-synchronization of data among devices, are the determining factors for which of the above is the best method to use to access your data.

SMB/CIFS and NFS can accommodate larger file sizes and are fast. These methods do not auto-synchronize data between your computing devices and the server (unless you take additional steps). Certain devices such as phones and tablets may not support these methods (easily).

Nextcloud synchronizes data between a folder on your computer or mobile device and its corresponding folder on the ECResearch server. File transfer via Nextcloud provides easy-to-use access from anywhere over the Web, but is slower and may use expensive telephone data plans, depending on your device and its connection to the Internet. Therefore, the Nextcloud web service is not recommended for large files. We have set an initial storage quota of 10 GB through Nextcloud to prevent inadvertently filling up storage on small mobile devices, and inadvertent telephone data charges. This quota is consistent with other cloud storage services. We will, however, increase this quota on an individual request basis through engrt@engmail.uwaterloo.ca.

All three types of access to ECResearch, can be used simultaneously, from multiple locations, with a few caveats. For example, file locking on the server may interfere with simultaneous accesses.