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Old 07-02-2004, 12:36 AM   #1
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Question Suse 9.1 install (2) 160GB drives - RAID1 help

I am done with windows. No dual boot. No NTFS.

So I bought Suse 9.1 and wanna do it right the first time. I have two 160GB drives that I want to use in a mirror set to provide a layer of disaster recovery should one drive die.

I have an Abit kt7a-raid board - however using the MOBO raid it spins the drives in ATA66. If I don't use the MOBO raid they spin at ATA100. I think that using linux raid is probably a better way to go.

So I need some suggestions as how to set up the partitions.

Should I mirror the whole drive? Or not.
Please help me layout the partitions on the two drives.
Old 07-02-2004, 01:50 AM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
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Would you please explain a little more of what you want to do??
I have my partitions in following way, maybe it could help you
/dev/hda1 100mb /boot
/dev/hda2 10gb /winxp
/dev/hda5 10 gb /gentoo
/dev/hda6 1gb swap
/dev/hda7 3gb /usr/local
/dev/hda8 the rest of the disk /home

I use that so if I get into trouble and need to reinstall or upgrade I only do it to the system without altering my other partitions.
I hope this helps you to get an idea of a way to partition your hard drive
Old 07-02-2004, 02:02 AM   #3
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Bear with me as I use Windows terms - still in the transistion phase......
When I was using WinXP I always had C as the programs/system drive. The D drive was everything else. It housed my user profile, 'My documents', digital photos, everything -
that way at any given moment I could blow away the C drive and not lose anything critical.

I am interested in doing a similar thing when I install Suse. I have two 160GB drives that I need assistance in setting up, both for speed, and data integrity. I would like to mirror the data partition (would be primarily digital photos, mp3's, and some digital video from my DV cam)

I have all the data currently sitting on an 80GB drive that is unplugged at the moment - this way I can format at will the two 160's.
(the 80 will not be a part of the machine - it is just a loaner HDD)

Last edited by markrez; 07-02-2004 at 02:04 AM.
Old 07-02-2004, 09:44 AM   #4
bruno buys
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Just to let you know that you can have a disaster protection in several diff ways with linux, not only raid. If you benefit from not setting up a raid array (the spin issue) in the machine, maybe its time to consider a partitioning scheme, and letting a few backup scripts do the job.
No big deal with raid, just that its not the easiest way to start with linux. If you bought suse 9.1, thereīs a great partitioning tool for you to use during the installation. Choose the expert mode and have all parameters left for you to edit manually.
Let me know if you choose this way.
Old 07-02-2004, 11:48 AM   #5
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Do you think a backup routine would benefit me more? Maybe use one of the 160's as the backup drive....?
I know that I will lose some speed writing the data to the mirror - but reads will be faster. I also have a scorpion dds3 12/24 tape backup drive that I will eventually incorporate into the scheme.

I did go into the expert mode but got kinda lost. I know I need a / partition and a swap partition, beyond that I wasn't sure how to proceed.... I have heard that having a seperate partition for you logs is also a good idea.
Old 07-02-2004, 01:55 PM   #6
Registered: Apr 2004
Location: Greater London
Distribution: SuSE 9.1 Pro, Linux XP Pro (based on Fedora Core 1), Knoppix, DeMuDi (Agnula Project)
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Actually, RAID only starts to improve performance significantly when you use RAID 5 (and striping, not mirroring). On RAID 1 and using mirroring, the performance will not show any improvement (or even slow down your machine in your case), and just uses a lot of space.

You're better off using conventional partitioning and creating a separate (/home) directory for your data.

The minimum partitions needed on any Linux system are:

/ (root)

Your swap partition is your virtual memory, so it should be twice the size of your RAM memory, but no more than 1GB. Anything bigger will be considered as wasting useful space.

So, if you prefer to create your own partitions, follow something like this:

/boot 256MB
/ 1-2GB
/home 2-6GB
/usr 6GB
/var 6GB
/swap 1GB (max!)

You can always add extra partitions later from your installed system to allow for more space to save data files to.
Note that the /usr and /var partitions need to be quite big for smooth operation of your system.

Also, with Linux you can always repair/reformat/reinstall separate partitions - actually mount points - later without it affecting any other part of your system.

System speed much depends on the file system used. I'm running SuSE 9.1 Pro on a ReiserFS (default on SuSE) and get excellent performance out of it.


Last edited by LittleAngel; 07-03-2004 at 01:57 PM.
Old 07-02-2004, 08:56 PM   #7
bruno buys
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You see, two 160GB is a hell lot of disk space! You can use it in many diff forms. If you, as said before, want to raid-mirror either disks,
the total capacity of your system will be 160GB, because every single bit will be written twice. If you just install them as master/slave
conventionally in the primary controller and set it to use ata100, you'll have fast 320GB total, to use.

I can't advice much on raid issues, my knowledge is quite shalllow. Although, I'd like to know more, and in the future when I get my hands on a two
fast disks, I will try.

Using raid:

"I think that using linux raid is probably a better way to go."

You mean, using "software" raid? I read there is software raid and hardware raid. Software-raid will consume cpu-time, in contrast with hardware-raid, that uses dedicated chipsets to do the writing, not the main cpu. If by linux raid you mean software raid, then yes, it will consume cpu-time, and decrease performance.

"I know that I will lose some speed writing the data to the mirror - but reads will be faster"

Not that I know. You do not speed up read-write activity with a mirror raid. Like Angel said. The other type of raid, when you send half data to each disk is what speeds things up. (but do not protect against disaster. Each disk is dependent on the other).

Not using raid:

Ok, you have 320GB to play, its a huge machine. The most adequate layout of your partitions will depend greatly on what do you want to do with it.
You can use the second disk to completely backup the first one, tough I don't see the point of doing this. If you want to preserve your suse installation from a hd failure, do a partimage backup (I guess partimage can even save a backup of your partitions to your tape drive).
If you just want to backup your personal data in /home, you can create partitions in the second drive and name them /backup1, /backup2, and so on...
Creating partitions is a way to protect data. You can create only one with 160GB, but this is not recommended, as data corruption affects (or is restricted to) the filesystem in which it ocurred.
Like Angel said, the minimal partitions are root (/) and swap. But you can, with all that space, create a saparate /home for your personal files. Its a good procedure. The size of your swap is (or was?... until some time ago...) related to your amount of ram. People use to say twice as much ram, but this is kinda obsolete. Today's systems won't need that much swap. Create a swap between 300-400MB, and its ok.

My suggestion for your hdd layout is:

First disk hda:

device mounted on size

/dev/hda1 /swap ~400MB
/dev/hda2 / 5 GB
/dev/hda3 /usr 5 GB
/dev/hda4 extended primary ~150 GB (the rest of the disk)
/dev/hda5 /home 50GB
/dev/hda6 /backup1 50GB
/dev/hda7 /backup2 50GB

swap is in the begining of the disk, which increases read-write speed. /usr is a very accessed dir, so its nice to have a separate partition for it, you prevent the dir from being fragmented and also keep it in a fast-read-write area of the disk. Indeed, / usr is where you keep most binaries, so the overall performance depends heavily on it.
The 50GB sizes are not mandatory, just a guess. You know what's better. Also, they don't need to be equal.

In the second disk you can create four primaries, directly, without having to create extended ones. Say, four 45GB primaries. The way you will save your backups in it can be fine tunned in your backup scripts.

Post again, if you want advice on the scripts.


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