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Thread: hdd size vs partition size

  1. #1
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    hdd size vs partition size

    My initial search didn't produce relevant results and I apologize for posting instead of searching more extensively. I was in the midst of trying to switch from XP to Lubuntu a few years ago when I developed health issues. I've come out of it with less cognitive ability than I had. I find learning new things much harder than it used to be and sorting through search results is also difficult. However, since my XP system is truly ancient at this point, and I don't really want to spend the rest of my life on Android, I am trying again to switch to Lubuntu.

    But what I'm really stuck on is almost a philosophical question... when adding 2TB and 3TB hdds to ubuntu, do you partition them in to smaller chunks? or just add the whole thing?

    Under XP I would always partition my hdds into smaller chunks since defragging a whole 2TB is a PIA. But one of the advantages to this extended delay in switching is that much of my XP system's software, besides the OS, has aged into obsolescence. So I am no longer looking at trying to preserve the 3TB of active XP files as is. Instead, I'm just working with what I truly depend on.

    Which opens up possibilities as far as ubuntu goes. I've got the root installed on an SSD and a blank 2TB just sitting there. Do I just mount the whole thing under /home? Or split it and mount some under /home and some under ... ? Are there issues regarding number of files per partition/mount point? What else will bite me?

    Again, I apologize for just jumping in and asking but I've been stuck on this point and I'm hoping to get some help and/or suggestions.

    Thanks,

    sukelis

  2. #2
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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    It is your choice.

    I did not think XP worked with 3TiB drives as you have to use gpt partitioning with drives over 2TIB.
    Or did you use MBR(msdos) and in effect convert 3TB drive to 2TB?
    MBR was designed in 1980's when GB was huge so they set a hard limit of 2TB as max that MBR would support.

    I also prefer some additional partitions. But I like to add multiple 25 or 30GB partitions for test installs of Ubuntu or other systems and have all data in a data partition. Since /home then is tiny as really just the mostly hidden . configuration files, I keep /home inside my / (root) partition. I also do not want experiments in test install to modify main working install's /home but do want mount data, I find a shared data partition to work where sharing /home would not.

    While with Linux you do not need to do a defrag, sometimes if system is abnormally shutdown (power failure) you may need to do a fsck. And worse case file recovery, if you were not backing up like you should. Then large partition(s) are a disadvantage.
    Some like LVM - logical volumes as you can change sizes with mounted volumes, and do some advanced things, but again a bit more advanced.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  3. #3
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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    Quote Originally Posted by sukelis View Post
    But what I'm really stuck on is almost a philosophical question... when adding 2TB and 3TB hdds to ubuntu, do you partition them in to smaller chunks? or just add the whole thing?
    This sort of question is a "why" question. I love these because there are trade-offs and we each have different "why" answers. There is no wrong answer, except you must use GPT partitioning. After that, it is just trade-offs.

    When I'm partitioning, I consider a few other things:
    • For what will the storage to be used?
    • How will I back up that data?
    • Do my backup storage partitions have any size limits?
    • Do not feel like you must allocate all the storage today. It can wait. Increasing storage is 100x easier than reducing it.


    In my world, my backup storage is never larger than 4TB, so no partition is allowed to be over 4TB in size. That is a hard limitation for me. If I don't have a place to store the backups, then I won't bring the primary storage on-line either. Backups are NOT optional for me.

    I keep media (videos, music, photos) outside of HOME. The reason for this is those things tend not to change, so the way I back them up is different from the way I backup /home/ or the OS files.

    Files that change multiple times a year get versioned backups. Files that never change, get a mirror (rsync) backup. Smaller backups means they are faster and it means that backup storage doesn't run out because I added and deleted recorded TV shows every week as the older versioned are kept until finally 90 days later. But then I have 90 days of newer TV recordings which have to work their way through the versioned backups. Much easier to just keep media outside HOME and use rsync for backups of that data separately.

    For /home/ how large could that possibly need? History tells me that 25G is about all I will ever use for HOME. I've created some larger HOME partitions and never used that storage.

    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....7#post13883277 has a concrete example. Instead of using "partitions", I use 1 large partition and the "Logical Volume Manager" - for now, you can think of a partition as an "LV" - logical volume. That's close enough for today.

  4. #4
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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    No, under XP I have many partitions, none larger than 750gb. And data has always been separated from the XP system disk, as well as a few other directories I didn't like stuck where Windows wanted to put them.

    You make some good points. Thank you!

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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    This sort of question is a "why" question. I love these because there are trade-offs and we each have different "why" answers. There is no wrong answer, except you must use GPT partitioning. After that, it is just trade-offs.

    When I'm partitioning, I consider a few other things:
    • For what will the storage to be used?
    • How will I back up that data?
    • Do my backup storage partitions have any size limits?
    • Do not feel like you must allocate all the storage today. It can wait. Increasing storage is 100x easier than reducing it.


    In my world, my backup storage is never larger than 4TB, so no partition is allowed to be over 4TB in size. That is a hard limitation for me. If I don't have a place to store the backups, then I won't bring the primary storage on-line either. Backups are NOT optional for me.

    I keep media (videos, music, photos) outside of HOME. The reason for this is those things tend not to change, so the way I back them up is different from the way I backup /home/ or the OS files.

    Files that change multiple times a year get versioned backups. Files that never change, get a mirror (rsync) backup. Smaller backups means they are faster and it means that backup storage doesn't run out because I added and deleted recorded TV shows every week as the older versioned are kept until finally 90 days later. But then I have 90 days of newer TV recordings which have to work their way through the versioned backups. Much easier to just keep media outside HOME and use rsync for backups of that data separately.

    For /home/ how large could that possibly need? History tells me that 25G is about all I will ever use for HOME. I've created some larger HOME partitions and never used that storage.

    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....7#post13883277 has a concrete example. Instead of using "partitions", I use 1 large partition and the "Logical Volume Manager" - for now, you can think of a partition as an "LV" - logical volume. That's close enough for today.
    You've made some excellent points. Especially about not needing to put it all in to play at once. A few years ago - well, actually, "last century"! - I used LVM on AIX. Assuming LVMs are conceptually similar across *nix's, that may be a possibility.

    I guess my biggest take-away and challenge is remembering that Linux is much better at adapting to changing needs. I don't need to worry so much about not knowing everything in advance.

    Thank you very much!

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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    Since you are an AIX person, I'll jump a little deeper with volume management. I did AIX admin for about 10 yrs and architectures for about 15 yrs before leaving enterprise work for Linux stuff.

    LVM concepts are the same between Linux, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Irix, and others. The only terminology difference is that PE = PV. But ... as with LVM on other platforms, LVM has to be setup BEFORE any file systems are laid down.

    Linux LVM sits between the HDD partitions and the file systems. For data-only disks, I'd create 1 partition of the entire disk, yes, create a partition, then make that partition the PV and that PV a new VG. Then create LVs as needed out of that VG. I don't cross physical disks with LVM anymore. I did long ago and lost 80% of my data when 1 of the disks failed. That was before I had backup religion.

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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    There is one change that you need to be aware of (I assume it is the same for Lubuntu as for Ubuntu) with the latest versions we do not need a swap partition. Ubuntu uses a swap file. That will make partitioning a little easier.

    It seems you are heading in the direction of having a / (root) partition; a /home partition; and a /Data partition. They do not need to be on the same drive. Do you want to breakdown your data into different categories? You can have the categories in their own partitions or in folders in the Data partition.

    Again, I apologize for just jumping in and asking but I've been stuck on this point and I'm hoping to get some help and/or suggestions.
    If people did not do that we would not have an opportunity to show off our expertise or lack of it This forum is a user forum not a developer/programmer forum. You are not jumping in and there are no silly questions. Answers are a different matter.

    I wish you well. Regards
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    I've started reading the documentation on lvm. And the reference to having lvm on an ssd threw me... is this common? advised? While I still have an essentially virgin fresh install, would it be worthwhile to re-install and put lvm on my ssd (250gb)? At present the ssd has a tiny EFI partition, two 54gb partitions for distros with only 1 installed, and 142gb unallocated.

    Questions:

    Can you mix regular partitions and lvm on the same hard drive (in this case the ssd)?
    Do you still need an EFI partition? Is the EFI inside the lvm or external?

    My first thought is to setup lvm on the 2gb hdd, make a backup of the installed root, and then wipe and setup the ssd with lvm and either re-install or restore from backup. Doable?


    Edit:

    Posted that too fast. Found this https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2322512 and this https://askubuntu.com/questions/8477...n-on-ssd-steps so more reading to do.
    Last edited by sukelis; October 10th, 2020 at 02:51 PM.

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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    UEFI only reads FAT32 so the ESP - efi system partition must be outside the LVM.

    I do not use nor really know LVM.
    But if I was going to install LVM, I would do a google search of TheFu and LVM.
    Forum's search really on good on one term, so I use google or other search engine.
    Just append site:ubuntuforums.org to your search term
    Since he is posting here already, he then can respond to specific questions.
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

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    Re: hdd size vs partition size

    Quote Originally Posted by sukelis View Post
    I've started reading the documentation on lvm. And the reference to having lvm on an ssd threw me... is this common? advised? While I still have an essentially virgin fresh install, would it be worthwhile to re-install and put lvm on my ssd (250gb)? At present the ssd has a tiny EFI partition, two 54gb partitions for distros with only 1 installed, and 142gb unallocated.
    Modern SSDs work just like HDDs for LVM. You can put LVM on any partition you like. If the OS runs from that SSD, you'll probably want to setup LVM during the installation process. Otherwise, one of the best things about LVM, snapshots, isn't available.
    You can always put LVM on other disks before you add file systems. Unless you really know what you are doing, don't allow the same VG to cross physical disk boundaries. That can lead to data loss, unless the purpose is to use RAID1 that is controlled by LVM.

    Questions:
    Quote Originally Posted by sukelis View Post
    Can you mix regular partitions and lvm on the same hard drive (in this case the ssd)?
    Do you still need an EFI partition? Is the EFI inside the lvm or external?
    Yes, you can, but why?
    EFI has mandated standards to be cross platform. This means LVM cannot be used for the EFI partition and that it must be FAT32. The installer will set that up correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by sukelis View Post
    My first thought is to setup lvm on the 2gb hdd, make a backup of the installed root, and then wipe and setup the ssd with lvm and either re-install or restore from backup. Doable?
    Sure. If your backups are file based (not disk/partition images), then this is a good time to test the restore process. Expect hiccups. There always are the 1st few restore attempts. Beware that how Linux boots has many moving parts, so for anyone who isn't dealt with each over the years, it will be difficult.

    Quote Originally Posted by sukelis View Post
    Edit:

    Posted that too fast. Found this https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2322512 and this https://askubuntu.com/questions/8477...n-on-ssd-steps so more reading to do.
    Reading stuff is great, but no substitute for creating a play area and trying LVM stuff there. I use virtual machines for this play area. The size of the storage really doesn't matter. A 100 MB LVM setup is just as good for learning as a 5TB storage area. With virtualization, you can keep 1 HDD or have 50 tiny HDDs to try stuff out.

    Test stuff first or be 100% certain you have everything you cannot lose backed up to storage and removed to a different room of the house. Somehow, people commonly wipe partitions during installs because they get in a hurry or get into a rhythm that leads them to answer partitioning/storage questions wrong. Another good technique is to physically disconnect the storage you do not want to install onto during the installation process. Later, you can reconnect it and add it to the system where you like. That's a good skill to have as well.

    The granddaddy of all LVM documents: https://tldp.org/HOWTO/LVM-HOWTO/
    Don't worry how old it is. LVM is LVM across different distros and has been basically the same for all common needs over 15 yrs. A guide created for Redhat is valid for Ubuntu or Debian too.

    People always ask for a GUI tool to help manage LVM. For a few years, there was one, but support for it died off. LVM is used mainly by IT professionals and mainly for servers, which don't have GUIs.

    All the old-school commands, like lvdisplay, vgdisplay, pvdisplay still exist, but are seldom used. Now we use lvs, vgs, pvs which produce tabular output in a easy to understand format. I can't remember the last time any of the *display commands was used - maybe 3 yrs ago?

    My goal in life is to convince Oldfred to use LVM on all his systems. We each need to have a dream, right?

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