[PC-BSD Dev] 9.0 Recommendation: partitioning

Andrei Kolu antik at pcbsd.org
Thu Sep 23 23:14:25 PDT 2010

2010/9/23 Roger Marquis <marquis at roble.com>

> One thing I would like to see changed in 9.0, or earlier, is the
> partitioning.  Last time I installed PC-BSD the default was to create
> partitions for /usr and /var.  I recommend a single partition (per disk)
> for several reasons:
>  1) Intra-disk partitions other than swap have not been necessary since
>  the introduction of 1GB drives, back in 1993.
>  2) /usr is a particularly problematic partition because the system won't
>  boot if there is any problem mounting it.
>  3) In 18 years of consulting we've seen the incidence of diskfull
>  support tickets nearly eliminated because most sites no longer create
>  legacy intra-disk partitioning.  Of the trouble tickets we still see for
>  this all are due to installs which created these unnecessary partitions
>  (and most of those use symlinks to work around the situation, creating
>  the systems administration equivalent of spaghetti code).
>  4) Intra-disk partitions may be indicated when a specific filesystem may
>  otherwise fill up a more important partition, however, those are best
>  addressed with NFS or additional disks.  Most server and nearly all
>  desktop installs work best without partitions other than swap.
>  5) All root-mounted partitions will impact system performance because
>  stat() calls start at the root directory and root stat() is impacted by
>  root mountpoints.  For this reason cdrom and floppy should be mounted
>  under either /mnt/$dir or /media/$dir.
>  6) The vast majority of Unix and Linux distributions today do not create
>  partitions other than swap by default.
I'd recommend to partition your system according to your needs- server,
workstation, embedded solution, etc. If you are running out disk space then
you need new hardware already and you was dumb enough to not allocate needed
space in first place. Borking one filesystem is worse than ability then log
into a shell with a wide variety of commands available in /stand (for
checking, repairing and examining filesystems and their contents. Some UNIX
administration experience *is* required to use the fixit option). Not to
mention here horrible filesystem fragmentation in case of one huge


One Big Partition

The default install contrasts strongly with a fairly popular partitioning
scheme for a system for an individual user:

SWAP  *two times the system RAM*
/     *remainder of the disk*

Although this will *work*, this layout should *never* be used on an
important system, for two major reasons:

   - In case of a serious system failure (repeated reboots), the entire
   drive will need to have it's file system checked with
fsck<http://www.freebsdwiki.net/index.php/Fsck>on every reboot. The
core systems of FreeBSD do not require very much disk
   space. Sensible partitioning would allow you to only check critical
   partitions, and put off the rest of the checks until the system is stable.
   This can be the difference between 2 minutes per reboot-with-fsck and *
   thirty* minutes per reboot-with-fsck on larger drives!
   - One of the primary reasons to separate things out, is to prevent one
   partition from filling up all the space and making other things stop working
   because they run out of space.


Andrei Kolu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.pcbsd.org/pipermail/dev/attachments/20100924/52bfce90/attachment.html>

More information about the Dev mailing list