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Hi there, I was wondering how important the partitioning [I]order[I] is(i.e. /, swap, /home as opposed to /, /home, swap, or any other possible combination of multiple partitions). Does it have any effect on performance?
Thanks in advance,
realistically it's not important. moreover, most of this would likely be in LVM, in which case the physical location on disk would be managed automatically within the LVM partitions. Theoretically It's quicker to read data on the outside of a platter, but it's not going to make much difference.
Last edited by acid_kewpie; 12-17-2012 at 06:33 AM.
Yes. The read/write heads move relatively slowly across the platters so it helps to have the most frequently accessed data in the middle of the platter and the least frequently in the centre and the outside. That way the head's movement is minimised; they spend most of their time around the middle.
It depends on the individual system and its usage which file system(s) have the most frequent access. On a personal workstation it might well be /home while on a server it might well be /var or /srv. If it's the swap partition it shouldn't be! Measurements during typical use would be invaluable.
It's debateable whether the work involved justifies the marginal perfomance increase. If you enjoy doing this sort of thing for the fun of it then the work cost is negative and it's well worth doing!
EDIT: reading acid_kewpie's post after posting, I realise there are two performance considerations -- the seek time and the data transfer rate. Zone bit recording means more data is accessible per revolution of the drive toward the outside, improving both seek and transfer performance.
The most important factor is that the data you access is nearest the previous data. That typically means you should put the most frequently accessed data near the half way point.
A secondary factor is that relative seek times are lower and transfer rates higher at the outer edge of the physical platter (the beginning from a partitioning point of view).
In typical Linux systems, neither of those considerations translates easily into a clear decision about partition sequence.
Long ago, swap was accessed more than other areas. So it was good to give swap a preferred position. But now, swap is typically accessed less.
If you have a lot of ram, /lib and /usr/lib and other installed software tend to get accessed a lot as the system starts up. Then it might get very little access later because most of it remains in the file cache. So how much do you care about boot up speed. The beginning area is probably best for those things if you want to optimize boot up speed (we assume those things are roughly together wherever they are, so at the beginning they are together and faster).
But if you do a lot of work that modifies data files, those files must be written regardless of caching, so the long term performance should matter more than boot up, so the data files you modify a lot should have the preferred spot (but we still haven't figured out whether "preferred" is the beginning or half way or somewhere between those two points).
Not sure if it still matters, but there may be a problem for bootloaders to access the far nether reaches of today's huge disks. Bootloaders are primitive, and use primitive methods to read disks, so accessing a filesystem (the /boot directory, for grub) that cannot be accessed without special help might be a concern. Sorry to get all maybe-ish; playing with bootloaders isn't something I do all the time, and the rules seems to change faster than I can keep up with.
I'm not even sure you can assume that any kind of physical to logical mapping applies any more. It seems even disks have gotten smart, and it may be futile to try to outsmart one. Oh, my. That's a weird thought. I suppose the day isn't too far away when my toaster will be able to beat me at chess.
In a real sort of test, I guess you could get some to show gain or loss from a choice. Not too many people try to modify the data anymore. At one time it was a consideration. There is really much more to the issue now and not sure one can figure out a best way. Testing under exact use would prove some gain. It may only be minutes per year or maybe minuted per day.