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At my job we are trying to setup a Linux Server to maintain a database. Now my co-worker (a programer by training) says that we need to use Linux Distribution that supports the XFS filesystem.
He says its required because several of the database entries are files that exceed 2GB in size. Apparently the standard filesystem that comes with RedHat 9.0 won't cut it.
While doing some on-line research for this project, I came across a mini-how-to for establishing the same database we want to build using Mandrake 8.0. They don't mention the need for XFS filesystem support, but they do say that you need to use a linux distro. running kernel 2.4 or higher inorder to overcome the 2GB file size limit.
My Question: Which is accurate? Do we really need to use a distro that supports XFS? or do we just need a distro. that uses kernel 2.4 or higher? Which one would allow me to get over the 2GB file limit?
Support for XFS or ReiserFS (both support >2G files) is not a Redhat-, but a kernel issue. I'm running Redhat 9 with Reiser, I never cared about XFS (isn't that the SGI thing they had so much trouble porting?), and the stock RH kernel comes with Reiser support out of the box (don't know about XFS, I think not - there's a freevxfs which is a different thing, I believe). In my book, Reiser is the more mature and more widespread FS, but I'm no expert in XFS. I have never had any problem with Reiser.
Virtually all distro's use the 2.4 kernel these days.
So, ReiserFS supports > 2GB files? And Redhat comes with this support right out of the box? Hum.... that's interesting. How do you tell the RH 9.0 installer to format the drive in ReiserFS format when you're building the machine?
You can't tell RedHat to format the drive in reiserfs, as it just supports ext3 on installation. However, you can leave aside space for a new partition, and then create a reiserfs partition using fdisk and mkreiserfs, and then store your database files on that partition.
I heard that SUSE has support for installing reiserfs for the root file systems also(But am not sure that you need this).
XFS is a great file system. I have used if for several years, and its solid. Most bugs have been worked out on SGI's own hardware, its pretty much a porting job. Most other journaling file systems are still under development. Why RedHat doesnt offer/support it is a mystery. Then, when I called up RH support for advise on backing up the system (under advanced server 2.1), they had no solution. I have backed up the Root Partition on Linux /xfs while its up and running with XFSdump, a part of the XFS program suite. Its not just a file system. Many distributions (SUSE and a few others) already support XFS, but not Redhat.
There is development work though, to keep up to current Linux Kernel versions and their changing internals. But.. there is a good bit of info and good support thru http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs .
Redhat can't say its not been asked for though, by me certainly! (FWIW)
Of course., IMHO and YMMV amd all those TLA's ":^)