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Transferring Data with SFTP and SCP

See this article in context within the following user guides: Data

The SSH-based SCP and SFTP utilities can be used to transfer files to and from NCCS systems. Because these utilities can be slow, we recommend using them to transfer limited numbers of smaller files.


Both SCP and SFTP are available on all NCCS systems and should be a part of each user’s environment. For example, on a UNIX-based system, to transfer the file oldfile from your local system to your $HOME directory on OLCF systems as newfile, you would use one of the following commands:

  sftp userid@dtn.ccs.ornl.gov
  sftp> put oldfile newfile
  sftp> bye
  scp ./oldfile userid@dtn.ccs.ornl.gov:~/newfile

…where userid is your given NCCS username.

Standard file transfer protocol (FTP) and remote copy (RCP) should not be used to transfer files to the NCCS high-performance computing (HPC) systems due to security concerns.

SCP works with NCCS systems only if your per-process initialization files produce no output. The means that files such as .cshrc, .kshrc, .profile, etc. must not issue any commands that write to standard output. If you would like for this file to write to standard output for interactive sessions, you must edit the file so that it does so only for interactive sessions.

For sh-type shells such as bash and ksh use the following template:

  TTY=$( /usr/bin/tty )
    if [ $? = 0 ]; then
      /usr/bin/echo "interactive stuff goes here"

For c-shell-type shells such as csh and tcsh use:

  ( /usr/bin/tty ) > /dev/null
    if ( $status == 0 ) then
      /usr/bin/echo "interactive stuff goes here"