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Uduntu File server partitioning

Posted on 2012-12-21
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi experts.
We have Dell Power Edge 2950 with 16GB of RAM to be converted from MS file server to Linux file server. (Every sysadmin like new metro mickey mousing interface of Server 2012 in professional environment , don't you?)  
I have SATA 500 HDD that I want to use for Ubuntu server installation. All data files will be on RAID 10 connected to PERC 5i.
As I read it is good idea to have separate partitions for /, /boot , /user , /home , /var ,swap , /tmp.
The only software on our file server --SSH and Samba, no user home folders.
Then I don't need separate partition for /user and / home, correct me if I am wrong.
/tmp is mounted as tmpfs.
It looks I need just 4 partition : / , /boot , /var and swap.
Please advise.
Also please advise if I need to use whole 500GB HDD or just a part to make backup images smaller.
and what  size for each partition.
Thank you.
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Question by:D_Batona
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 38714627
You should have raid1 for OS and RAID 10 for data.
Use centos/redhat instead.  Not sure whether the dell build and update DVD supports Ubuntu.

IMHO the partitions that ne should use are
/boot
/
/var
/var/log
/usr
/home

If there are specific tasks the system must perform,you would create separate partitions and overlay their location I.e. mysql /var/lib/mysql
/opt/oracle etc.

The separation by individual partition isolates the system from failure due to a process that consumes a large amount of storage because of a mistake.
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Author Comment

by:D_Batona
ID: 38714852
Why do I need /usr and /home if nothing will be saved/installed there?
Why do I need separate partitioning for /var and /var/log ?
Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 38714870
/usr is where all the commands are /usr/sbin system related, /usr/bin user related.
/var/log is where most applications save their log data httpd/apache, squid, mail servers, etc.
You want to limit an error in handling log rotation that could lead to a log growing so large that will use up all the available storage on the /var or the / depending on how you partitions are setup. /var/log filling up preventslogentries from being added, / or /var to a lesser extent filling up will/could bring down the system's functionality.
/home can be as small or as large as you need.
Usually, most compilations should be done usng non-privileged users. This process requires some storage resources.

Note that not creating a partition does not prevent the possible space use since the location /hme exists either way.
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Author Comment

by:D_Batona
ID: 38715608
Sorry, it looks like a linux book quotation that I already read.
may be I was not clear....
No users on server except root and Windows groups that Samba get from AD.
No home folders option is set.  The file shares mounted \mnt ...... at Perc5 Raid 10.
 Do I still need /home on different partition?
The same /usr  and /usr/bin, nothing will be there added. If system crash who cares of defaults  were in /usr and /usr/bin....

Use centos/redhat instead.  Not sure whether the dell build and update DVD supports Ubuntu.

What DVD are you talking about? The professional sysadmin will toss it out to garbage right away.....
If you dont know what to do with Poweredge Server without Dell DVD then I have no comments.

Anybody has smarter idea how to partition 500 HDD , preferably using only 4 primary partitions?
Thank you.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 38715650
You only need a single primary partition, /boot and swap
everything else can be on an extended/LVM volume.

Why are you not installing the OS on a RAID 1 volume?
/usr gets updated with updates/packages.

What is the point of having a RAID 10 when a disk failure on the 500GB hd brings your entire system down?
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Author Comment

by:D_Batona
ID: 38715803
What is the point of having a RAID 10 when a disk failure on the 500GB hd brings your entire system down?
500Gb HDD has mirror image. It is not in my question how to configure the hardware. Being system engineers more then 20 years gave me that knowledge.
I just specify that there is separate RAID 10 with shared folders in order to avoid suggestions regarding /home.
The questions is Only how to partition 500Gb HDD where system will lives.
I am afraid to put everything on one partition as know what fragmentation causes in MS world. Also I read that ext 3 ,4 are better organized I still doubt about just 1 partition.
Thank you.
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Accepted Solution

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arnold earned 500 total points
ID: 38715840
/home will exist in any event, IMHO it is better to isolate the /home as its own dedicated partition versus leaving it as part of the root partition.

For UBUNTU/Linux/CEntos/
30GB is more than enough for the OS related partitions as I outlined in the breakup I suggested.

Make sure you use LVM as an overlay which will provide you with options to create additional partitions on the fly and use them.

you should have a /home as you would likely have a non-privileged local user account rather than always accessing the system using root.

The shares can be located wherever you want them to be.  It is all part of the configuration i.e. NFS /etc/export CIFS/SAMBA /etc/samba/smb.conf

IMHO.  It is always a good idea to isolate to avoid having one error by a user or an oversight, bringing down the entire system.

my suggestion no matter how large your drive is. The breakdown should be
/boot Primary 500MB
swap primary depending on what the system will be used for and amount of RAM in the system 1.5XRAM where ram <4GB, 1xRAM where RAM between 4 and 8GB, 8GB after than since you want to spec out your system to avoid SWAPing as much as possible.
/ 10GB (root lives here and may need the space for compiling/etc.)
/var 5GB
/var/log 2.5GB
/usr 7500 GB
/home 5GB (depending on the use)
web server create a /www/httpd or /var/www/htdocs to match the needs
mysql server /var/lib/mysql partition
tomcat create a dedicated partition for it
oracle /opt/oradata or use OCFS2 or dedicated raw partitions
you can always overlay with a newly created partition if the space allocation you have or / has no more space left.
Linux/Unix file system is flexible.  MS if you are more familiar with it, has the option to create a partition as a drive letter or as a path.  i.e. you have e:\ running out of space, and you have a data/share folder e:\shareme that needs to be larger. you can add a drive, but instead of having it come up as f: all the time, you can have it comeup as e:\shareme
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