Please be aware of the distinction between CPU usage/location and disk usage/location. When you log into a machine, you are using its CPU. However, each CPU can access either local disks or disks over the network. The locations /home/users, /home/httpd, and /home/ftp are all located on the astronomy server. Thus, if you log into your machine but access files in one of these directories, you are creating network traffic. This is not a problem so long as the volume is relatively small, but if you were to start using or writing programs that do a lot of transfer to and from disk, it can cause poorer performance.
In addition to being able to access the server disks, each Linux workstation has local disk space. It is important to remember that performance of applications which access disk files depends on whether the file access is local or over the network. In addition, if you are accessing things over the network, you affect the performance of other computer systems in the department as well.
By default, when you get an account, your home directory will be located on the server disk, in /home/users/username. Once you start to use significant I/O, you should request a directory on your local machine.
It is important to try to work on local disks whenever possible. Responsible network usage will help everybody in the department.