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Old 06-02-2006, 08:53 AM   #1
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Partition scheme ideas for 1TB workstation

We are installing RHEL 4 and would like suggestions for a (good!) partitioning scheme for the following system:

Dell Precision 470 n
2 x 500 GB HDD
Dual Intel Xeon processors
No hardware RAID card

(I couldn't post the link but a Google search for "Dell Precision 470 n" should lead you to the Dell website with more technical details etc.)

It will mostly be used for academic/engineering calculations so we want to maximise performance. We will be running various types of simulations which produce large amounts of output, but mostly as many small (say <10 MB) files. It will not run any other OS and there will probably only be about 5-10 users.

A few specific questions we need to figure out are:

1. Is it worthwhile to have a software RAID 0 (stripping)?

2. Is it worthwhile to use LVM? On the one hand we only have a small number of users, but on the other hand we have to manage a fairly large disk space.

3. We intend to have a separate partition for the install, a separate partition for swap, and a separate partition for /home. Should there also be separate partitions for /var, /usr, and /tmp ?

4. Should the partitions be spread over the two HDD's somehow in order to improve I/O performance? (Perhaps especially for the swap partition?)

5. What file system type should we use, ie ext2, ext3, or reiserfs?

I would be happy to hear any comments/suggestions/ideas etc!

Last edited by spacemanspiff; 06-02-2006 at 09:08 AM.
Old 06-02-2006, 05:50 PM   #2
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1) Heck no. Stripping is not reliable. Also it is twice the chance of a single drive failing. RAID-5 or RAID-6 should be used instead but not with software RAID. I recommend using hardware RAID controllers like 3ware or Areca.
2) Can if you think you need more space in the future. EVMS makes LVM better.
3) I do not recommend putting all your eggs in one basket. It is better to have one drive for the OS with seperate partitions and another drive for your data. Also the computer performs better.
4) Read number 3. Swap should be place on a third drive for increase performance.
5) I do not recommend ReiserFS because it becomes corrupted, so it is unreliable when it comes time to fix it. Use EXT3 for the OS and use XFS for high throughput transfers.

I recommend Western Digital Raptor series SATA hard drives because they work much better than other SATA drives in the server environment. The 74 GB drive is better than the 36 GB and 150 GB. You will need about 15 of these drives to get up to 1 TB of space.
Old 06-04-2006, 03:12 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Electro
1) Heck no. Stripping is not reliable. Also it is twice the chance of a single drive failing. RAID-5 or RAID-6 should be used instead but not with software RAID. I recommend using hardware RAID controllers like 3ware or Areca.
When using only two hard disks RAID-5 or RAID-6 are useless, you need at least three disks to use these RAID levels. You could use RAID-1 which just mirrors the contents of one hard disk on the other one, so if one disk fails no data is lost. Total usable disk space would be 500 GB in this case.


lvm, partition, raid, rhel, workstation

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