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Old 09-14-2012, 03:20 PM
Hendrik Boom
 
Default Migrate to 3TB disk

I have two new 3TB disks. I'm adding them to an existing Debian (stable/
squeeze AMD64) system.

I plan to partition them, and make one large partition on each one to
serve as a carrier for a RAID-1. I plan to subdivide that RAID using
LVM. There will also be a few small partitions outside the RAID. If
nothing wlse, they will enable me to distinguish the two physical drives
in case I ever have to.

In the longer future, I am considering moving to the btrfs when it is
ready. I believe it subsumes some of the behaviour of RAID and LVM, as
well as providing a number of other advantages. But since it is now
under instense development, it's probably not a good bet aty the moment
for storing critical data. (Yes, I also keep backups, just in case).

I'm currently in the process of full-surface testing two new 3T disks, so
I'll have a week or so before I'm ready to start using them.

Just in case, to make sure I was testing the right drive (and not wiping
out the smaller disks I'm already using) I first uses fdisk on all of my
drives, so I'd know for sure which of /dev/sd* was a new one.

It was quite clear. fdisk gave me a ton of warnings about the new drive,
telling me I could not use a DOS-style parition table, and that fdisk was
unable to serve me well, instead recomending paarted and GPT patition
table format.

It also warned me not to use a logical sector size that was smaller then
the physical sector size, for severe performance reasone.

Now currently my machine has two small (750G) disks that it stores the
bulk of its files on, and one tiny (250G) IDE disk that it boots from.
The new drives are intended to replace the existing 750G drives (which
now contain RAID1-bearing partitions), but it wouldn't be terrible if
instead I replaced the 250G boot disk and I set up to boot from one ogf
the bigger SATA drives. (there's enough drive bays for four hard drives).

Now when I look to Debian documentation for stable (which is the Debian
I'm using on this server), I find http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/
i386/apcs05.html.en where I'm told there are three partitinoing programs:
partman, fdisk, and cfdisk. There's no indicatino that any of these have
problems with disks bigger than 2TiB. Documentatino for testing (at
http://www.debian.org/releases/testing/i386/apcs05.html.en) is no better.

I have several questions:

(1) Is there up-to-date documentation on these matters. I'd love to RTFM
if only I could find the FM. I gather I need to know about:

(1a) sector size and how to choose it,
(1b) disk block numbers more than 32 bits,
(1c) file and partition size limits among ext2, 3, and 4. (my6 ext3's
were migrated from ext2, so they may share the limits of the original
ext2fs)
(1d) EFI
(1e) How this all affects booting (presumably with GRUB-2) in case I have
a non-EFI BIOS (it is a somewhat old machine, having been build when SATA
was just appearing on the market)
(1f) Which of the utilities I'm used to will handle this large a disk
with a new partitioning scheme and larger files -- things like fsck,
badblocks, lvm, software RAID, rdiff-backup, grub, lilo, sqlite, etc. Id
badblocks can't hacl it. for example. the full-service disk test I'm now
doing may be useless.
(1f) Whether all this would go better with wheezy instead of squeeze, and
so whether I should upgrade squeeze to wheezy first.
(1g) Would an up-to-date Debian installer take care of most of this
stuff? It's not the way I [refer to go, because this machine is normally
kept running 24 hours a day, and is actually used for much of this time.
Reconfiguring a newly-installed system, instead of an upgrade, would be a
pain.

I probably need more than this, but I don't know enough to figure out
what yet, so any good advice and especially warnings are welcome.


Of course the most important stuff is related to how to get the system up
and running, not things like whether Adobe Flash will fail.

-- hendrik


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Old 09-14-2012, 04:22 PM
Kelly Clowers
 
Default Migrate to 3TB disk

On Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 8:20 AM, Hendrik Boom <hendrik@topoi.pooq.com> wrote:
> I have two new 3TB disks. I'm adding them to an existing Debian (stable/
> squeeze AMD64) system.
...
> I have several questions:
>
> (1) Is there up-to-date documentation on these matters. I'd love to RTFM
> if only I could find the FM. I gather I need to know about:
>
> (1a) sector size and how to choose it,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Format
Large modern disks use 4096 byte sectors, but most/all still
report 512 (too many old OSs out there). Linux kernel higher than
2.6.31 properly reports size and alignment issues. Use 4k block
size when creating the FS. Use parted/gparted/other libparted
program, as it can handle GPT (which you also probably want)
and automatically aligns for 4k.

I got a 4k disk fairly early on, haven't had any problems, but it is
just a backup disk. I used gparted to set it up, no problems.

I don't have any one source for all this, just accumulation from
different places. And it has been a while, so use a grain of salt.

> (1b) disk block numbers more than 32 bits,
> (1c) file and partition size limits among ext2, 3, and 4. (my6 ext3's
> were migrated from ext2, so they may share the limits of the original
> ext2fs)

The man pages should cover that, or the Wikipedia pages.
IMO, there are plenty of reasons to go with new Ext4 filesystems
anyway.

> (1d) EFI

Only applies with a pretty new motherboard that supports it.


> (1e) How this all affects booting (presumably with GRUB-2) in case I have
> a non-EFI BIOS (it is a somewhat old machine, having been build when SATA
> was just appearing on the market)

Grub2 should be fine, it knows stuff like GPT

> (1f) Which of the utilities I'm used to will handle this large a disk
> with a new partitioning scheme and larger files -- things like fsck,
> badblocks, lvm, software RAID, rdiff-backup, grub, lilo, sqlite, etc. Id
> badblocks can't hacl it. for example. the full-service disk test I'm now
> doing may be useless.

I couldn't say much about it, but I would think fsck should only care
about the FS, not the underlying disk.Sqlite and such should be high
enough up the stack that it wouldn't be an issue.
As far as I know the kernel and filesystems and fs utilities have
pretty much been updated.

> (1f) Whether all this would go better with wheezy instead of squeeze, and
> so whether I should upgrade squeeze to wheezy first.

Couldn't hurt, and wheezy is getting close to release... That said,
the squeeze kernel should be fine, I would mostly just double check
the version of parted. (I do not remember what versions of things I
was using when I did it, I run unstable on my PC)

> (1g) Would an up-to-date Debian installer take care of most of this
> stuff? It's not the way I [refer to go, because this machine is normally
> kept running 24 hours a day, and is actually used for much of this time.
> Reconfiguring a newly-installed system, instead of an upgrade, would be a
> pain.

I do not think it is needed at all.


Cheers,
Kelly Clowers


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