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Old 06-28-2009, 06:17 PM   #1
desi_babu
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Optimal Partitions for a new system to hold various os


I am about to setup a linux/Oracle server that has 6Gb Ram and 2 x 750Gb drives on a i7-920 processor

I'll be installing:
1) Oracle's Enterprise Linux 64bit
1a) May be installing Oracle Database(s) various versions (9i,10g,11g)
2) Ubuntu Linux 64bit
2a) Install VMware Server
2a.1) Create Virtual Machine with Oracle Enterprise Linux as Guest
2a.1.1) Will be installing Oracle Rac and other s/w
2a.2) Create Virtual Machine with Oracle Enterprise Linux as Guest
2a.2.1) Will be installing Oracle Rac and other s/w

3) Possibly a version of Windows (64but)
3a) May be installing a version of Oracle database (9i,10g,11g)

4) Most likely another instance of one of the above OS's for my sandbox area (to test versions or os's/patches etc...)


Q: What is the optimal way/recommended way to setup the partitions on the disks to handle the following:


1) I'd like to stake out one partition that can be accessible no matter what os I am currently using (somewhere where I can download s/w from the net and make it available globally)
2) Easy to backup and recover the data
3) Easy to manage the multiple boot options of the various OSes.
4) Easy to clobber one OS and overwrite it with another
5) Easy to identify which partitions are currently active (i.e easy to mount dismount drives/partitions etc...).

I am fairly new to Linux so any help will be greatly appreciated.

What tools I must have to make my entry into Linux world a smooth one.

DB

Last edited by desi_babu; 06-28-2009 at 06:21 PM.
 
Old 06-29-2009, 02:35 AM   #2
hoes
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Ok, i'm not an expert in this area, but I think I can give some helpfull advise.

You have two hard drives, so I suggest using one for your operating systems and one for data.
Idealy you want to backup to a partition on the other drive.
I don't know what back-up is available on Windows, but you could use a linux solution for this. There are a lot of options.

You want one partition that is read/write on all the operating systems.
I know Windows is an annoying systems that supports no linux filesystems(correct me if I'm wrong. Therefore you should use either NTFS or FAT32. NTFS is newer and I don't know if it has allready becoming full functional under linux. FAT32 has been working for as long as I know, but it's different from what Windows tends to use nowadays.

Installation of Linux to one of the partitions is no problem. You can set this up exactly the way you want it. However Windows tends to be very dominant and use all space available and with that it could wipe other installed OS's from your drive(again, correct me if I'm wrong). Therefore I suggest you install Windows first and afterwards edit the partitions.

Old BIOS'es create some limitations to what part of a drive is bootable, but I presume you have no problem with that. For booting you could use one partition for all your linux'es containing all kernels and a separate data partition per linux install. Windows needs it's one parition. There is one further restriction, you can only have 4 primary partitions(again, correct me if I'm wrong).

You mention that you want everything easy to manage. Partition setup, mounting and booting is quite easy once you get the hang of it. You use grub for booting, mount for mounting and maybe fdisk (the linux version) for setting up partitions.

If I would setup your drives I would do it like this:

[drive 1]
[partition1] /boot contains files for booting linux'es
[partition2] Windows
[partition3] Logical partion that can hold multiple secondary partitions
[partition4] Linux1
[partition5] Linux2 (etc.. you get the point)
[partition4] Back-up partition for drive 2

[drive 2]
[partition1] Data disk in FAT32 or NTFS
[partition2] Back-up partition for drive 1

Note that partition 4 and 5 are secondary partitions, to make sure that you have only four primary partitions.

You could choose to save the data for the different linux'es on the same partition as the install or you could make a partition for this on the second drie. You should also consider whether you want to use one /home-partition for all linux'es or a /home per linux.

But before you start make sure you work some time with linux. That way you know what to do. Linux is great for messing up systems if you don't know what you're doing, but it gives a lot of freedom once you know it.

Good Luck,
Hugo
 
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:38 AM   #3
irishbitte
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You're gonna run with virtual machines, right? In that case, you don't need to worry about boot options or any of that stuff. Start by playing with your new hardware, don't commit to a particular setup until you have documented various approaches. For example, you may want a separate partition for your VM's to run in, which will aid you with image backups. I also recommend a separate /home partition in ubuntu, this allows you to upgrade/reinstall the complete system without losing personal files and settings.

There are many and varied approaches to partition schemes. This link: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=123584 should give you some help.
 
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:56 AM   #4
Trickie
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Without getting into personal preferences I'd just add two things. You may want to think about using LVM so that you can expand your storage on the fly at a later date. And secondly, beware of rapidly expanding log files. A separate partition for /var is useful in that respect, and the use of the logrotate tool and logger for keeping those log files under control.

Richard
 
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:30 AM   #5
otropogo
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I have no experience with virtual machines, 64-bit OSs, or the latest flavours of Windows. But I do know that to be make your common storage disk accessible to Win95, 98, or ME, it will have to be formatted FAT32. I also understand that there are issues for Linux, or at least some flavours of it, in handling NTFS partitions. Documentation for running older OSs on newer hardware is inadequate to non-esistent. For instance, after upgrading my Win98 storage with 40GB hard drives, I found by trial and error that I could no longer use scandisk or any defragmentation program under Win98. I have to boot with Win2K to accomplish these tasks.

I'm interested in setting up a similar system, hosting Win98SE (for legacy hardware and software compatibility), Win2K, and some current version of Linux. My main concern is boot management. I've found Linux boot managers unreliable, especially Grub. I've heard and read good things about XOSL, but haven't tried it myself. The fact that it's almost a decade old and not being updated gives me pause. So I'd be very interested to hear from anyone using this bootmanager, or any other third party BM, with current hardware and current Operating Systems.

I understand that in order to accomplish such a setup, the order in which the OSs and the bootmanager are installed is critical. For example, Win98 must be installed before Win2K, and Linux must be installed after Windows. In any case, I strongly recommend creating a boot floppy or other removable medium that will let you access all of the installed operating systems, should the on-disk bootmanger be corrupted.
 
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:50 AM   #6
johnsfine
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I can't give you overall advice because I don't know enough about virtual machines. But I can give you a few facts that might be useful.

If 2x750GB represents significantly more than you really need (which would be sensible given how small the price difference is between 500GB and 750GB drives or between 750GB and 1TB) it is a good idea to leave several GB of unpartitioned space so that you are free to do a test install of an upgrade or alternate distribution sometime after your system has been stable for months and not need to disturb the stable system while testing the potential upgrade.

The space at the beginning of each drive is about twice as fast as the space at the end (with a gradual range of speeds in between). So if you will have data (such as that database the system will be serving) that will be accessed a lot, it is best at the physical beginning of a drive. If there is a lot of accesses and those accesses may be large, it may even be worth setting that data up as software raid0 between the beginnings of both drives. But if your data has value, also be aware that raid0 maximizes the risk of losing data, so you better have at least good backup and maybe separate journaling.

It is much easier to install Linux after Windows than to install Windows after Linux. It also is much easier to install Windows in a primary partition than in a logical partition, while Linux doesn't care primary vs. logical. Those facts may make it harder to give Windows a slower partition near the physical end of a drive while putting your database in a faster partition at the beginning. I'm not sure myself exactly what the Windows installer will or won't let you get away with. If I were trying it, I'd try using Linux partitioning software first to reserve the beginning of the drive (maybe put the extended partition before the primary partitions) then use the Windows installer told to take only what's left, then install Linux into the pre reserved space. I'm not sure exactly how to put all that together. It's what I would try, not what I have tried.

I think Linux support for NTFS is good enough now that the shared Windows/Linux space can simply be the Windows NTFS partition itself. There used to be value in setting up a separate fat32 partition for data exchange between Windows and Linux, but that idea is obsolete and flawed.
 
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #7
venkmann
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Smile Bootloaders and managers

Quote:
Originally Posted by otropogo View Post
I have no experience with virtual machines, 64-bit OSs, or the latest flavours of Windows. But I do know that to be make your common storage disk accessible to Win95, 98, or ME, it will have to be formatted FAT32. I also understand that there are issues for Linux, or at least some flavours of it, in handling NTFS partitions. Documentation for running older OSs on newer hardware is inadequate to non-esistent. For instance, after upgrading my Win98 storage with 40GB hard drives, I found by trial and error that I could no longer use scandisk or any defragmentation program under Win98. I have to boot with Win2K to accomplish these tasks.

I'm interested in setting up a similar system, hosting Win98SE (for legacy hardware and software compatibility), Win2K, and some current version of Linux. My main concern is boot management. I've found Linux boot managers unreliable, especially Grub. I've heard and read good things about XOSL, but haven't tried it myself. The fact that it's almost a decade old and not being updated gives me pause. So I'd be very interested to hear from anyone using this bootmanager, or any other third party BM, with current hardware and current Operating Systems.

I understand that in order to accomplish such a setup, the order in which the OSs and the bootmanager are installed is critical. For example, Win98 must be installed before Win2K, and Linux must be installed after Windows. In any case, I strongly recommend creating a boot floppy or other removable medium that will let you access all of the installed operating systems, should the on-disk bootmanger be corrupted.
Hello,
I currently run 11 different operating systems on a single SATA hard drive as an experiment in OS replacements for ex-windows/mac users. I have used GRUB - which after some steep hills of learning - became an easy to edit and reliable multi-boot manager that can handle as many OS as you wish to throw at it. LiLO is and remains to me, a horribly complex and unreliable boot manager so I would recommend avoiding it although many Linux users like it.
Onto third party boot managers...
All the ones listed below are free but should be supported with some cash for the developers work. Virtually every 3rd party boot manager I've tried relies on users installing an OS's native bootloader (GRUB etc) to the root partition of each OS. None of the ones listed below will harm Window's MBR -- and if it does take a hammering the free SuperGrub CD (and a few other utilities) can rewrite/insert a Windows MBR easily and with virtually no input required from the user, in a few minutes. I found all were easy to uninstall and left the Window's MBR in good working condition (which is important for me anyway.)
1)GAG works well and is easy to configure but restricts you to 9 operating systems which is no problem in your case.
2)EasyBCD also works well, is not quite as easy to setup as GAG, as it is more sophisticated and richly featured, but only works if you have Vista or XP as one of the operating systems from where it can be based.
3)SuperGrub applied through 'unebootin' software (easy to Google all of these) also worked very well.
4) But I eventually settled for OSL2000 which is available free (with a one semi-annoying advert)or for $25 for the real deal free of advert and all features on. I paid for mine. OSL2000 auto-detects any bootable partition and lists it for you on a menu where a simple F4 allows you to custom name each OS.
Good luck to you,
Dr. P. Venkmann (ret.)
Canada

Last edited by venkmann; 06-29-2009 at 12:31 PM. Reason: run-on sentence and spelling error
 
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Old 06-30-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
otropogo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venkmann View Post
Hello,
I have used GRUB - which after some steep hills of learning - became an easy to edit and reliable multi-boot manager ...
Perhaps all implementations of GRUB are not equal. My experience has been in Puppy Linux, which apparently is able to completely befuddle GRUB. It insists on installing only where it will never look for its own files, it cannot be edited after installation, etc., etc.. Even with handholding from the Puppy Linux community, I was never able to get GRUB to boot Puppy from the hard drive, nor was I able to boot Windows again after installing GRUB.

Quote:
Virtually every 3rd party boot manager I've tried relies on users installing an OS's native bootloader (GRUB etc) to the root partition of each OS.
"Virtually"? have you tried XOSL?

Appreciate your recommendations, but will take the reassurances with a grain of salt. Will certainly have a look at OSL2000, but am also waiting for a report on the current usefulness of XOSL, which appears to have a loyal following of long standing. I note there is still an active forum for it linked at ranish.com, and looking through that is on my todo list also.

regards,

otropogo
 
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:31 AM   #9
nxja
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otropogo View Post
Documentation for running older OSs on newer hardware is inadequate to non-esistent. For instance, after upgrading my Win98 storage with 40GB hard drives, I found by trial and error that I could no longer use scandisk or any defragmentation program under Win98.
.
googling finds the hardware limits of older Win (eg, sata drivers).
There's a strong(?) "save win9x" crowd. Check axcel216, mdgx, exuberant.ms11, and similar, many on msfn. Some of the files from WinMe handled newer/larger hardware, so some of the activists have "borrowed" from WinMe. Your defrag example is IIRC an example where you can use better WinMe tools on 98.
http://www.google.com/search?q=msfn+...+limit+137+128
http://www.google.com/search?q=WinME...nded+for+Win98
Alternatively, WinMe cds should be very cheap (free), so you could install ME and just shutoff most of Me's notoriously troublesome features. (eg, sys restore conflict with AV)


Quote:
Originally Posted by otropogo View Post
I'm interested in setting up a similar system, hosting Win98SE (for legacy hardware and software compatibility), Win2K, and some current version of Linux. My main concern is boot management.
Doesn't win2000 run the win9x apps?
Quote:
Originally Posted by otropogo View Post
I've found Linux boot managers unreliable, especially Grub. I've heard and read good things about XOSL, but haven't tried it myself. The fact that it's almost a decade old and not being updated gives me pause. So I'd be very interested to hear from anyone using this bootmanager, or any other third party BM, with current hardware and current Operating Systems.
Too many for me to categorize (some loaders handle different os or fs, after which presumably chainload to other loaders?). gag, gujin, freeloader, grub vs grub2 vs grub4dos(?), plop, mbm (bootables include plan 9), bootmgr, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_boot_loaders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booting...ge_boot_loader

Quote:
Originally Posted by otropogo View Post
I understand that in order to accomplish such a setup, the order in which the OSs and the bootmanager are installed is critical. For example, Win98 must be installed before Win2K, and Linux must be installed after Windows. In any case, I strongly recommend creating a boot floppy or other removable medium that will let you access all of the installed operating systems, should the on-disk bootmanger be corrupted.
someone mentioned backup apps... i'd try to use a single backup app for all oses...
 
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Old 07-18-2009, 03:30 PM   #10
otropogo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nxja View Post
... Some of the files from WinMe handled newer/larger hardware, so some of the activists have "borrowed" from WinMe. Your defrag example is IIRC an example where you can use better WinMe tools on 98.
Yes, but it didn't work when I switched to larger HDDs.

Quote:
http://www.google.com/search?q=msfn+...+limit+137+128
http://www.google.com/search?q=WinME...nded+for+Win98
Alternatively, WinMe cds should be very cheap (free), so you could install ME and just shutoff most of Me's notoriously troublesome features. (eg, sys restore conflict with AV)
I looked at these two searches, but found the amount of disagreement among the posters discouraging. I never considered switching to ME, since reports on in have been overwhelmingly negative.


Quote:
Doesn't win2000 run the win9x apps?
Haven't tried very many, but have read of problems. One problem I know of is with hardware drivers. Drivers for older scanners for instance.

Last edited by otropogo; 07-18-2009 at 03:31 PM.
 
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:25 AM   #11
Trickie
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Just a quick word about Grub and booting: it is always preferable to create a separate partition (and therefore file system) for /boot. Apart from making a cleaner install this will also enable Grub to boot 64 bit systems, which it will not otherwise do.

Richard
 
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Old 07-19-2009, 08:01 AM   #12
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickie View Post
it is always preferable to create a separate partition (and therefore file system) for /boot. Apart from making a cleaner install this will also enable Grub to boot 64 bit systems, which it will not otherwise do.
Am I misunderstanding what you mean, or are you just wrong?

Why do you say grub can't boot a 64 bit system without a separate /boot partition?

Since liveCDs have become so practical, I no longer understand the advantage of having /boot as a separate partition outside of the / partition.

Without a liveCD it was tricky to partition a system such that when something went seriously wrong you would have a "place to stand" while doing the required file system and software repairs. A separate /boot partition would increase the chances that you could get a sick system up at least far enough to use it in repairing itself.

I have set up 64 bit home systems with Mepis and other Debian derivatives. I have set up 64 bit servers with Centos. All those systems use grub. All those systems have /boot as an ordinary directory within the / partition (and most of grub lives in a subdirectory of /boot).
 
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Old 07-19-2009, 11:15 AM   #13
jay73
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Quote:
Since liveCDs have become so practical, I no longer understand the advantage of having /boot as a separate partition outside of the / partition.
File system support. Other than Ubuntu, you won't find many distros that can boot off ext4. GRUB support for XFS and JFS is not perfect either.

@desi_babu

Put OS on one drive, virtual machines on another one. If used heavily, separate virtual swap from virtual OS by putting them on different drives. Put virtual machines in the faster part of the drive unless used for testing purposes only.
 
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