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Old 05-22-2007, 01:40 PM   #1
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How to setup a dual-disk desktop system for best performance - overall & with vmware

I currently use Ubuntu 7.04 on my desktop and Windows XP on a VMware virtual machine to run some proprietary software, and it is quite slow as I only have a single hard disk (Seagate 80GB). I am planning to add a new 250GB disk, as I'm running out of storage space, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to improve the performance of my system (as I can see the hard disk is the bottleneck).
I've read that it is a good idea to install VMware machines on a different hard disk than your system (so they don't fight for disk access). The thing is, I'd like my Ubuntu to be faster and more responsive even when not using VMware, which I think could be achieved by moving the system to a software raid partition and/or using swap partitions on both disks.
What would you reccomend me? Would it help most to keep system and swap on one disk and VMs on the other, or to make a raid partition for everything?
I've been thinking about making a RAID1 partition for Ubuntu, a RAID0 partition for the virtual machines, and a standard partition(the ~160GB on the second disk that can't be mirrored) for stuff like media files etc. Would this be a good idea?
And two additional queestions:
1) Where would you fit LVM into this setup (I'd like it in case I wanted to add yet another disk)
2) What filesystems would you reccomend? I'm currently using ext3 and I'm not impressed by performance (though it improved since I turned on hashed B-trees with tune2fs). I'm thinking of using reiserfs for / and /home (esp. that I do some webmastering of a web archive with quite a lot of small files that i keep mirrored on my disk) and possibly XFS for the VM / media file partitions, would you reccomend this?
I'd love to hear suggestions and opinions, especially from people who have a similiar setup.
Thanks in advance


ext3, lvm, performance, raid, reiserfs, vmware, xfs

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