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Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

I'm pretty new to Linux and am looking for thoughts on partitions; which to have and what sizes. The machine in question will have two relatively large SCSI disks (Hardware RAID not available), will be dedicated exclusively to Linux and will have no more than 3 users (excl Root). This is a "home" system, i.e. no server functionality like web services, mail etc will be set up. Obviously TCP/IP (PPP) to speak to the external world. The two primary things I plan on using it for is Video Editing and playing around with Kernel compilations. I plan on setting up ...

  1. #1

    Default Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    I'm pretty new to Linux and am looking for thoughts on partitions;
    which to have and what sizes.

    The machine in question will have two relatively large SCSI disks
    (Hardware RAID not available), will be dedicated exclusively to Linux
    and will have no more than 3 users (excl Root). This is a "home"
    system, i.e. no server functionality like web services, mail etc will
    be set up. Obviously TCP/IP (PPP) to speak to the external world.

    The two primary things I plan on using it for is Video Editing and
    playing around with Kernel compilations.

    I plan on setting up a dual Linux boot, i.e. a vanilla distro (Suse
    8.2) and my dev/play Linux boot.

    I'd like to split out /, /usr, /home, /var and swap.

    My thoughts being something along these lines:

    A 256MB partition at the start of each disk for each of the / folders
    (Dual Linux boot assuming one will include the MBR)

    Followed by a 256MB partition on each disk for the swap setup to run
    in parallel. (System has 256MB RAM)

    Then /usr, /home & /var on separate partitions with ? Sizes. ... don't
    really know which sizes to set here. Also would like to share these
    between to two Linux versions but not sure how to go about it or even
    if it is practical. Will also need a DVD/CD image partition.

    Finally I plan on combining all the remaining disk space on the two
    drives into a RAID 0 config for storing and manipulating the raw video
    data. This data will be transient so "no" worries about reliability.

    Thoughts very much appreciated

    Thanks
    Leon
    Leon Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Leon wrote:
     

    HOW large.

    How else would anyone be able to give you suggestions ?
     

    Do you mean 2 *separate* installations ?
     

    If you intend to "play around with compiling kernels", as you put it, it
    pays to make a separate /boot partition, not too small (100MB+), and maybe
    even a dedicated /usr/src partition for all the sources.
    Depends on exactly what you want to do with it.
     

    Not sure what you mean here, but 256 is either too small or unnecessary.
     

    If you are reasonably certain that there will be little swapping, it pays to
    put the swap on ONE drive - since the other will presumably hold streaming
    video ?

    Having 2 swap partitions only increases the likelyhood that that partition
    will be accessed when what you want is as LITTLE drive activity as possible
    - outside your video data.
     

    Neither do we, actually...
     

    What do you mean ? Do you mean USE only one /usr and /var for 2 separate
    installations ? "Inadvisable" is... an understatement.

    You might be able to pull it off, if both installations used the same glibc
    and stuff, but since there are a zillion options this is almost impossible.

    Only one shared /home partition is possible...when the users have the exact
    same UIDs in both installations.(read: also inadvisable)
     

    Again, depends on what you want to do with it.
     

    No you will not - you just need enough *space* for images.
     

    Yes, but..since at least 3 other partitions will always be mounted on one or
    both of these drives, using software RAID in this fashion is worse than
    useless...

    Use one drive for Linux and the other in its ENTIRETY for video.

    Use a / partition to hold all of your stuff, you can make a separate /usr if
    you want; make a /home and mount all data partitions under it somewhere.

    (or use /mnt - universally the most used place)

    All these separate partitions only start to pay off when the following
    conditions hold true:

    - You can put almost every partition on its own separate drive, and
    - Partitions that share a drive are never accessed simultaneously.
     

    There they were, then.

    One final note:

    When you want to improve the overall speed with a setup as you've described
    it, put both drives in a RAID-0 configuration and partition from that.

    That will give you the video speed you want, and the system may not be as
    safe as when run from separate drives, but not so's you'd notice.

    (Really - the only risk you take is that a hardware failure is twice as
    likely with two drives, and in RAID-0 this means bye-bye...)

    --
    Jeroen Geilman

    All your bits are belong to us.

    Jeroen Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Jeroen Geilman wrote: 
    >
    >
    > HOW large.
    >
    > How else would anyone be able to give you suggestions ?
    >

    >
    >
    > Do you mean 2 *separate* installations ?
    >

    >
    >
    > If you intend to "play around with compiling kernels", as you put it, it
    > pays to make a separate /boot partition, not too small (100MB+), and maybe
    > even a dedicated /usr/src partition for all the sources.
    > Depends on exactly what you want to do with it.[/ref]

    I'd actually recommend against splitting up this much. Recompiling
    kernel RPM's, for example, creates many meg of files in /usr/src/redhat,
    and /var/tmp, compiling modified or patched from raw kernel-source
    RPM's, installing different versions of mailman puts things in
    /usr/local, /home, or /var depending on whose defaults you use, putting
    in various commercial packages or games wind up in /opt, etc., etc.

    Also, unless you're stuck with LILO, grub handles a /boot directory that
    lives on your main boot disk for any reasonable size, unlike the old
    1023 cylinder limit of plain LILO. (1023 cylinder * 255 sectors * 63
    heads * 512 byte blocks gives roughly 8 Gigabytes, which was the old
    limit of the / partition with /boot on it.)

    Do you need to split off /var for backup or performance, for example to
    get /var/spool and /var/mailman and /var/www mounted with the "noatime"
    option? Then split off /var. Do you need smaller partitions because
    you're running into the 600 Gigabyte 65,535 cylinder limit? Fine, split
    things. But don't split things off just for laughs: there's really no
    significant performance benefit anymore from it.

     
    >
    >
    > Not sure what you mean here, but 256 is either too small or unnecessary.[/ref]

    Agreed. Unless you're over-partitioning, / should be *MUCH* larger and
    include /usr on a modern Linux.
     [/ref]

    Seems reasonable. You may need to expand this later, but that's fairly
    easy, and you can create swapfiles that perform nearly as well in a pinch.
     

    If he's doing big software compiles or multiple streaming video
    applications, that 256 Meg of RAM will run short pretty fast.
     

    ??? If he's got one drive dedicated to video, then it's not access to
    the *partition*, it's additional access to the *drive* for any reason
    that will reduce streaming bandwidth. Unfortunately, if the drives are
    fairly big and the traffic large, he's probably planning to dump the
    files onto both drives and possibly software RAID them. In that case,
    symmetric swap can in help by reducing average seek time.

     
    >
    >
    > Neither do we, actually...
    >

    >
    >
    > What do you mean ? Do you mean USE only one /usr and /var for 2 separate
    > installations ? "Inadvisable" is... an understatement.
    >
    > You might be able to pull it off, if both installations used the same glibc
    > and stuff, but since there are a zillion options this is almost impossible.[/ref]

    Unless they're *VERY* closely related Linux versions, such as a test OS
    you can chroot to and run software, then I agree completely.
     

    And the shell/X/other configs are similar enough. I've had serious pain
    when people wrote terrible, terrible .bashrc files with amazingly bad
    assumptions, then expected them to run under another OS seamlessly, and
    wanted me to fix the OS rather than fix their config scripts. (Hint:
    *never* put "." at the beginning of your PATH...)
     
    >
    >
    > No you will not - you just need enough *space* for images.[/ref]

    True. The modern verson of xcdroast no longer requires a dedicated
    partition, it just assembles cd images in a directory.
     
    >
    >
    > Yes, but..since at least 3 other partitions will always be mounted on one or
    > both of these drives, using software RAID in this fashion is worse than
    > useless...
    >
    > Use one drive for Linux and the other in its ENTIRETY for video.[/ref]

    Not always feasible or appropriate. Trust me on this one. If he's got 40
    Gig drives and needs at least 40 Gig for his archived video, your
    suggestion ain't gonna work.
     

    Or your mounting parameters are significantly different for performance
    reasons. Read-only for archives, noatime for large caches of small
    files, etc.
     

    This only works if you have hardware RAID. Otherwise, you must partition
    at least one drive and put at least /boot on it.
     

    Nico Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Leon on Friday 26 September 2003 08:15 wrote:
     

    If I understand correctly, basically, you want to put your "main"
    distro on one drive, and your "play" distro with numerous custom
    kernels on the other, each distro with their own swap, /usr, etc.
    Correct? You don't have to do this. Linux can be booted using any
    number of custom compiled kernels, that are stored along with support
    files in /boot, which can either be a directory in / or its own
    partition. Here's the partitioning scheme I'd recommend.

    On the first HD:

    /boot -- 30 - 50 MB, depends on how many kernels.
    / -- 300MB or more, depends on other factors. See /opt, /var below.
    /usr -- 2.5 - 5 GB, depends on how many apps and future expansion.
    /opt -- optional, gets it out of /. Or you can symbolically link it
    to a directory anywhere. I put my /opt in /usr. I like to
    have all applications together in the same place, but that's
    just me.
    /var -- 100 - 256MB -- more (1GB) if you symbolic link /tmp there to
    get it out of /, which is what I do.
    /home -- the balance of the drive.

    On drive 2:

    /swap -- 256MB is good enough. I have a system with 256MB RAM and a
    256MB swap, and the swap is rarely used and, then, only 10 to 30K (!)
    of it, even when compiling. Also, by putting swap on another drive,
    you'll eliminate head thrashing when the main drive needs to be read
    or written to, and swap needs to be used at the same time. You'll
    also improve read/write performance in those situations, too.

    The balance of the drive, I'd partition to hold all your video
    editing files. You can "mount" those partitions to directories in
    your personal /home directory for easy access, and set the
    "permission" on the partitions, so no one, except you and root can
    access them.

    FWIW, there are any number of partitioning schemes that will work. How
    you do it really depends on your criteria and what works for you.
    When I first got into Linux -- about 3 years ago -- I repartitioned
    my hard drive, including complete, clean reinstalls everytime --
    about 6 times in a 2 week period before I got something I was happy
    with.

    Of course, you could always use Logical Volume Manager (LVM), which
    enables you to change/adjust partition sizes at will without
    destroying data. 'man lvm' for a general overview. It's basically a
    software RAID setup. LVM also makes it easy to add or subtract whole
    hard drives from the pool of available space.

    Good Luck.

    --
    Stefan Patric
    com
    Stefan Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Apologies for the delay in replying, but have been away for the
    weekend.

    Thank you for the great advice. It seems that much of the partitioning
    information available is a little outdated? (Too many partitions?)

    This information may be a little late, but in case you're still out
    there.

    The disks are 36GB each.

    I was planning on doing two seperate installs, but after Stefan's
    comments think I'll do my Kernel compilations in the main distro, i.e.
    multi-boot on the same 'partition'.

    I am convinced that performance would be best by having one disk
    dedicated to video, but on the other hand I suppose it will be mostly
    reading or writing depending on if I'm copying from/to tape...

    Think, I'll use Grub instead of Lilo.

    A general question re software raid 0 (which is the option I have). I
    wanted to use as much of the diskspace available for video, i.e. after
    installing Linux, combine all the remaining space into one logical
    mount.

    This obviously isn't an ideal set-up for Video editing, but it the
    hardware I have ...

    Thanks
    Leon
    Leon Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Leon <com> wrote: 

    You can never have too many partitions (unless you plan on putting /etc
    on its own partition)! Please read the partition HOWTO. You don't know
    what you are talking about until you do!
     

    Eh? Oh, different kernels, same root partition? Yes. That's normal.
     

    Don't worry about it. We don't have the faintest idea what you are
    talking about and neither do you.
     

    I prefer lilo, thogh I use grub in some places.
     

    Eh? That's striping. Why? Unless you are striping across two different
    controllers, you won't get anything out of it. And it's probably not
    worth bothering about anyway.
     

    What's "video"?
     

    No sense in that. It will be one logical unit anyway, if you mean one
    disk. Why not use lvm if you really want to fiddle that way?
     

    What's "video editing"? Do you mean cutting and splicing fillums? How
    do you do that? I don't know of any applications, but I suppose there
    are some.

    Peter
    Peter Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Peter T. Breuer wrote:
     

    http://www.heroinewarrior.com/cinelerra.php3
    http://www.mainconcept.com

    Just a couple that come to mind. There are others.

    Steve Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    Steve Martin <net> wrote: 
     [/ref]
     
     


    Seem genuine. First with source code. Second not and alpha, will cost.

    Peter
    Peter Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Newbie seeking partitioning suggestions

    "Peter T. Breuer" <it.uc3m.es> wrote in message news:<it.uc3m.es>...
     
    >
    > Don't worry about it. We don't have the faintest idea what you are
    > talking about and neither do you.[/ref]

    That should have read, I am "not" convinced. One of the posters
    suggested that I reserve one of the disks for Digital Video capture
    and manipulation.

    Thanks
    Leon
    Leon Guest

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