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Old 01-11-2017, 07:12 PM   #1
scottinsydney
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Partitioning Advice - Dual boot Win10 + Linux + KVM for additional distros


Iím installing Linux on my new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. In case it matters:

Intel Core i7-6600U MB
16GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1866 MB
1TB SSD PCIe-NVMe
14.0 OLED WQHD Touch

My plan is to dual-boot Windows 10 (required for work) and Linux (Arch). Within Linux, I want to run multiple distros via KVM, as much as a hobby/learning exercise re: different distros as anything else.

I intend my primary day-to-day O/S to be one of the distros running in KVM. For my purposes, slight performance loss via KVM vs. bare metal should be acceptable. So, the bare-metal Arch install is just a host for KVM. It will be a minimal install to support KVM (with graphic interface). Iím leaning toward the LTS kernel, figuring donít fix what isnít broken. Iíll break things in the KVM installs.

My current partitions:

ESP: 260MB (pre-installed by Windows)
Windows: 200GB (shrunk from Windows install)
Data: 700GB (EXT4)
Linux: 20GB (LVM: LV1: 10GB Ė root, LV2: 10GB Ė home. Both LV's are EXT4).
Windows Recovery: 1000MB

plus a couple small Microsoft reserved partitions as part of the Windows install. I assume they are for sector alignment, and I'm not touching them.

I have a QNAP NAS which could help with file sharing with Windows, although Iím not sure just how much Iíll need to share with Windows Ė Iím hopeful that audio/video/pictures/other large files/etc. can all be served from Linux applications. Of course an NTFS USB drive is an option as well.

Sorry for the prologue, my questions are:

1.Any flaws with this plan? Is this approach as good as any other? (vs. say, multi-booting 10+ distros?)

2.Should I format the Data partition EXT4 or NTFS to allow sharing with Windows? Iím aware of some drivers available for Windows that allow reading EXT4, but Iím not sure how reliable they are?

3.Corollary to #2: How is Linux performance NTFS vs EXT4? Iím thinking EXT4 would be better for the KVM virtual disks instead of NTFS. I intend to have all my ďdataĒ in the one 700GB partition, including the KVM virtual disks.

4.Is EXT4 a good file system for a PCIe-NVMe SSD? Anything I should be aware of with my plan with respect to Linux + PCIe-NVMe SSD (alignment??? discard???)

5.I donít see any value in making the Data partition LVM within a larger Linux partition, and Iím sure Windows wouldnít be able to see an LVM partition. Since my Arch host install is minimal, I figure the Data partition is just ďthe rest of the driveĒ and wonít need resizing. Do you agree?

6.Is Wayland far enough along that it could be the display server for KVM in the Arch host install?

Apologies for the length, thanks for any advice you choose to provide.
 
Old 01-11-2017, 09:08 PM   #2
JeremyBoden
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Where are you going to put those distros, after the first one or two?
KVM is a bit complex for a first stab at Linux.
Why not use something like Virtual Box for your VM's?

Don't use NTFS for Linux unless it is vital that Windows has direct access to a Linux partition.
Corollary, EXT4 is much more efficient and less bother, also does NTFS support all permission bits?

If you are reasonably certain of your LVM sizes, there is no need to use LVM since you have only one physical partition (on the SSD)!

For file sharing within Linux consider using NFS instead of Windows stuff.
BTW I have allocated a 600GB (50% used) video partition to share data over ethernet with my TV.
So you may need that external disk!

Have you thought about how you will take regular backups?
 
Old 01-11-2017, 10:28 PM   #3
scottinsydney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
Where are you going to put those distros, after the first one or two?
My plan is to put all the distros in the 700GB data partition, as well as any other "data" such as media files I want on my laptop, say when travelling. I read somewhere about symlinking from the default KVM location (/var/...?) to the desired output location for the virtual disks.

So:
Code:
Windows       |
Linux (Arch)  | Dual-boot via GRUB
   KVM
      Fedora
      Ubuntu
      Etc, etc
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
KVM is a bit complex for a first stab at Linux.
Why not use something like Virtual Box for your VM's?
I've installed say 10 or so different distros/window managers/desktop environments on my (soon-to-be-discarded) MacBook Pro, using VirtualBox and Parallels. I'm new-ish to Linux, esp. on the desktop, but know Unix (HP-UX, Solaris), bash, zsh, vim, terminal, most of the "major" Linux commands. I wasn't able to "practice" KVM on my Mac because it doesn't have the CPU instruction set required by KVM.
I wanted to use KVM 1) from what I've Googled it performs better than VirtualBox (about 1.5% performance loss over bare-metal, from the link I found), and 2) to learn KVM.
I've got Arch installed on the laptop up to the command line; the display server and KVM modules are next.
I don't mind a reinstall or two for practice, but I'm keen to move on to setting up KVM and playing with other distros. Thus this post for advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
Don't use NTFS for Linux unless it is vital that Windows has direct access to a Linux partition.
Corollary, EXT4 is much more efficient and less bother, also does NTFS support all permission bits?
Thanks. So EXT4 is a good choice for the PCIe-NVMe SSD vs. other file systems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
If you are reasonably certain of your LVM sizes, there is no need to use LVM since you have only one physical partition (on the SSD)!
Two partitions:
Code:
Data (700GB) (EXT4)

Linux (20GB) (LVM)
   LV1 - root (10GB) (EXT4)
   LV2 - home (10GB) (EXT4)
I used LVM since the partition is fairly tight, and I could resize for example root - 15GB, home 5GB. I don't really know how much space I'll need until I finalize the install. I'm hoping 20GB is enough. I split home out from root in case I ever trash root in some way. But perhaps a single 20GB partition containing everything, with proper backup of /home, would be ok?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
For file sharing within Linux consider using NFS instead of Windows stuff.
Thanks, in another Google hit it recommended a tiny Linux (eg. Puppy Linux?) running in VirtualBox. If that VM can set the Data partition, then VB supports shared folders between the VM and windows.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
BTW I have allocated a 600GB (50% used) video partition to share data over ethernet with my TV.
So you may need that external disk!
I've got 24TB on my NAS, which both Windows and Linux would see. But for some reason my WiFi network speed is really slow to the NAS (separate issue, will need to investigate when I get time). Most media files esp. video go there, the NAS runs Plex, and the TV has a Plex client built in. The NAS performance is ok if the files are already there (i.e. streaming to the TV or laptop), and for overnight backups. But it would be a pain if I had to copy 100's of GB's from the Data partition on the laptop to the NAS, say to resize partitions on the laptop. In that case, I'd use an external USB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
Have you thought about how you will take regular backups?
I was thinking rsync or some Linux backup client backing up to the NAS.
 
Old 01-12-2017, 06:35 AM   #4
JeremyBoden
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Don't use Wifi with a NAS.
Even Gigabit wired is "only" 100MB/sec.
If you have to buy a Gbit switch its not going to cost much.

I've never used a SSD, but I would expect EXT4 to be OK - I don't know if you would need some extra mount options.
I would get extra advice before using that expensive SSD.
 
Old 01-12-2017, 09:20 PM   #5
scottinsydney
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyBoden View Post
I've never used a SSD, but I would expect EXT4 to be OK - I don't know if you would need some extra mount options.
I would get extra advice before using that expensive SSD.
The advice I've found online:

https://kozikow.com/2016/06/03/insta...pad-x1-carbon/ (IMO a really good article. BTW X1 Carbon and X1 Yoga are almost identical)
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php..._Carbon_(Gen_4)
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...d_state_drives
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Solid_State_Drives
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php...te_Drives/NVMe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...id_state_media

That's all I've found so far.

Any other advice re: my expensive SSD? For example, from the last link, perhaps I should use F2FS instead of EXT4? But an excerpt from the first link:

Quote:
Since the laptop have the SSD, I was contemplating trying out the F2FS. Itís only slightly faster according to some benchmarks. ext4 have additional features and is more standard so it seems like safer bet.

I have been thinking that maybe F2FS would result in less ďSSD tearĒ. I have been reading than in ďdesktopĒ usage SSD tear is almost never an issue and other components in laptop would fail first, so we donít have to worry about it.
Do you agree or disagree with his analysis?
 
Old 01-13-2017, 06:15 AM   #6
JeremyBoden
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1. Some of those systems are designed for flash card storage, rather than SSD's.

2. If you use LVM and you want to resize any volumes, you will need to be able to resize file systems.
If you use EXT4, you can resize in situ (provided you have a backup), if you use a more experimental file system
you will need to copy, resize, reformat and recopy data.
 
  


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