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Thread: Large Storage Linux File Server for Windows 7 Users (3.5TB)

  1. #1

    Large Storage Linux File Server for Windows 7 Users (3.5TB)

    Hello, I've just built a file server and it's time now to install Debian.

    I'm rather new to Linux and compared to Windows installations this really does seem pretty difficult to complete.

    I've done reading and found there are lots of different things to consider, such as space allocated for a swap file and ram. Separate space for users and installation/boot (where all of these would be combined on a single partition in Windows).

    I would really appreciate it if someone could please help me to decide what's best in terms of partition creation.

    Basically, I've got a 500GB SATA HDD which I am going to use to run the OS and install programs onto, keep backup images of the OS on the laptop and pc connecting to the file server and image files of the OS on file server itself. The other computers in the network are running Windows 7; the idea is that instead of document folders (such as pictures and music) being located in C:\Users\JonDoe.My-PC\Music and C:\Users\JonDoe.My-PC\Documents and so on respectively, they are pointed to the network drive instead.

    Then I have three 1TB HDDs which will be used to store documents; music, photos, videos etc with read/write access across the network. These will be configured in RAID #?. For data security, the file server will be connected to an identical set of drives in an identical configuration in an external NAS creating a mirror of the other drives.

    The file server will be in a hard-to-access location so I will also need to control it remotely using any computer connected to the network - or any computer outside of the network whilst working on a presentation or word document in the library for instance. The PC will be connected using RJ45 cable to receive a direct connection from the file server and the laptop wirelessly.

    This is the current set-up:

    1. primary 100mb B ext3 (Boot/Installation)
    2. logical 15gb ext3 ('/')
    3. logical 4gb ext3 ('/var')
    4. logical 10gb ext3 ('/tmp')
    5. logical 306.2gb ext3 ('/opt'? - for image files of the OSs of computers connecting to the file server and the OS of the file server itself)
    6. logical 2gb F swap

    7. space from 3x1TB HDDs as '/home'.

    More precisely

    SCSI1 (0,0,0) (sda) - 500GB ATA HDSO***

    #1 Primary 98.7MB B ext3
    #5 Logical 15.0GB ext3
    #6 Logical 4.0GB ext3
    #7 Logical 10.0GB ext3
    #8 Logical 306.2GB ext3
    #9 Logical 2.0GB F swap swap

    SCSI2 (0,0,0) (sdb) - 1.0TB ATA HD10***

    #1 Free Space

    SCSI3 (0,0,0) (sdc) - 1.0TB ATA WD10***

    #1 Free Space

    SCSI3 (0,0,0) (sdd) - 1.0TB ATA HD10***

    #1 Free Space

  2. #2
    Mentor jro's Avatar
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    You question is rather complex and you don't offer a lot of specifics, I am going to have to make some assumptions. First off, you dont need so many partitions. Yes, you can recover from a multitude of crashes if all your data is partitioned, but you have to be a Linux pro to do it. I only ever run with 4 partitions:

    / - the operating system files, usually fine with around 15GB
    /home - everyones personal files, depends on the number of users, but with only one person I run with 15GB
    /opt or /srv (depends if this is a workstation or server)- everything that I have added on top of the OS that isn't wholly dependent on system libs
    swap - usually run with 2GB


    The reason I run this way is so if something really goes south (bad) I can just format the / (root) directory and reinstall the OS, leaving homes and optional data alone. When it comes back up all I have to do is reinstall the apps that get installed in OS specific directories.

    There is one issue I keep running into though. With only three drives there isn't a good RAID config that utilizes all three drives except RAID 5. You can do RAID 0 (mirror) but mirroring three drives is overkill. The only RAID config that will effectively use 3 drives is RAID 5, but unless you are doing hardware RAID, its going to impact overall performance unless tuned properly. You would get roughly 2TB of disk space with three drives in RAID 5, I would go that route and do some experiments with chunk size (I recommend 128KB). Your block size should be 4KB, unless you are running with a TON of small files. This will probably be the defaults in most modern distros. The nice thing about RAID 5 is you can lose any one drive and still recover, but be prepared, the rebuild on a software RAID 5 setup can be long and slow.

    Here is how I would go after your system with the information you have given:

    Code:
    SDA:
    / - 15GB
    /opt - 400GB
    swap - 2GB
    
    SDB SDC SDD (md0):
    /home - 2 TB (RAID level 5)
    Hope this helps,
    jro - http://jeff.robbins.ws
    Linux counter#:213782
    GnuPG ID: 406238E7

  3. #3
    Advisor beezlebubsbum's Avatar
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    I agree with Jro, the first post was way too complicated for partioning.
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  4. #4
    Mentor jro's Avatar
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    Don't over-complicate the setup of the partitions. Some elitists will tell you that you need a whole bunch of partitions for every thing so you can recover from a wide array of issues, but what they don't tell you is that recovering in that manor is 1)difficult to do; 2) requires an deep understanding of the operating system. In all my cases if something goes that bad, it is FAR faster to just format the OS and reinstall, downtime is less than 2 hours and I can have a functioning system again.

    This assumes however that you have your data separate from you OS and all data backed up.
    jro - http://jeff.robbins.ws
    Linux counter#:213782
    GnuPG ID: 406238E7

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