Note: I've posted this same post on at least one other Linux forum. I apologize if that's considered poor form, but I'm new at this and I'm trying to find out which forum "fits" me best.
Ok. While I've dabbled in the Linux/Unix world a bit in the past, I'm now diving in with both feet. I've just bought a swanky new box on which I plan to install OpenSuse 10.2 (64-bit) to use as a host OS for VMWare Server (I work in IT consulting and plan to use the box to both run some production VMs for my home office as well as some for testing/learning/etc.). The specs are:
- Asus P5B-E motherboard with Intel P965/ICH8R chipset and JMicron controller
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4 GHz)
- 4 Gb RAM
- 6 x Western Digital 500 GB SATA 2 (WD5000AAKS_ST), all plugged into the ICH8R
- 2 x Intel Pro 1000 GT PCI (PWLA8391GTBLK) NICS, in addition to the onboard Attansic L1 NIC
- Floppy, DVD drive
Originally I planned on doing hardware RAID 5 but I discovered that the ICH8R can only do RAID on four of the six SATA ports. The reading that I've been doing in the meantime has led me to conclude that I should be just as well (if not better) off using software RAID anyways. I've also done a lot of reading on partitioning for Linux, especially with respect to RAID and LVM (both of which I plan to implement). Here's what I'm planning on doing:
You'll notice that I plan on starting the first partition on each drive at LBA sector 128. That's in order to align the partitions for the RAID 5 and LVM and is based on information that I found here:
I'd really like to know if others have done any sort of alignment like that and whether or not they've seen a benefit. Since during the installation you are forced to partition on cylinders, I'm going to need to boot from a Live CD or something in order to partition the disk before the install.
I'm also not sure whether I should keep the root partition on the (small) RAID 1 partition or just create it on the LVM. I figure that ~1.8 GB should be plenty of space since I'm trying to keep the host as lean as possible (no GUI, just whatever VMWare Server needs and maybe some basic monitoring) but one never knows. As for filesystems, I plan to make them all ext3 for now, as that seems the most stable. I'm pretty keen on ZFS, but won't consider it until it's part of a stable kernel release. Perhaps once Apple releases it as part of Tiger we'll see more development on the Linux side.
I'd really appreciate any feedback from the community as to my plans, especially if you spot some sort of "gotcha" that I haven't considered. Any advice at all is appreciated. It's a bit ironic that I'm planning to use this VMWare Server to learn Linux and yet I need to have good and stable installation before I can start creating VMs smiley.
Lastly, I plan on documenting my experience in order to help out others that plan on doing something similar. Any suggestions on where I could submit that when I'm done?