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Choosing the right Linux File System Layout using a Top-Bottom Process

Jul 31, 2009, 12:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pierre Vignéras)

[ Thanks to linuxconfig for this link. ]

"2.1. Lack of Flexibility

"Lack of flexibility is obvious for many reasons. First, if the end-user wants another layout (for example he wants to resize the root file-system, or he wants to use a separate /tmp file-system), he will have to reboot the system and to use a partitioning software (from a livecd for example). He will have to take care of his data since re-partitioning is a brute-force operation the operating system is not aware of.

"Also, if the end-user wants to add some storage (for example a new hard drive), he will end up modifying the system layout (/etc/fstab) and after some while, his system will just depend on the underlying storage layout (number, and location of hard drives, partitions, and so on).

"By the way, having separate partitions for your data (/home but also all audio, video, database, ...) makes much easier the changing of the system (for example from one Linux distribution to another). It makes also the sharing of data between operating systems (BSD, OpenSolaris, Linux and even Windows) easier and safer. But this is another story.

"A good option is to use Logical Volume Management (LVM). LVM solves the flexibility problem in a very nice way, as we will see. The good news is that most modern distributions support LVM and some use it by default. LVM adds an abstraction layer on top of the hardware removing hard dependencies between the OS (/etc/fstab) and the underlying storage devices (/dev/hda, /dev/sda, and others). This means that you may change the layout of storage -- adding and removing hard drives -- without disturbing your system. The main problem of LVM, as far as I know, is that you may have trouble reading an LVM volume from other operating systems."

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