[Techtalk] factory install of linux & its partition allocation

Magni Onsoien magnio+lc-techtalk at pvv.ntnu.no
Tue Apr 26 08:34:52 UTC 2011

On 2011-04-26 00:07:13 +0100, Myrosia Dzikovska said:
> On Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 6:26 PM, James Sutherland <james at deadnode.org> wrote:
> > On 25/04/2011 16:56, Little Girl wrote:
> >
> >> Seems perfectly *normal* to me! (: (: (:
> >>
> >> On a serious note, though, that does seem like someone went partition
> >> crazy and didn't know what they were doing. I have to say I'm jealous
> >> of your three swap partitions, though. How does it run?
> >>
> >
> I think I would write this off as "someone going crazy and not knowing
> what they do". The latest "factory install" partitioning that I dealt
> with, courtesy of Dell, was something like that
> 256M Dell Utility
> 1G swap
> 2G /home ext4
> 450G  / LVM

What are considered best practices in partitioning these days?

I have finally convinced my (otherwise very smart and clueful) junior
sysadmin that /, /var/lib/postgresql  and swap are not quite enough 
partitions on a database server, so we're now also having a /var/log
partition (filling / once was not enough to convince him ;)).

For a server I tend to want
/ (10GB)
/var (10-100 GB)
/var/log (2-100GB)
swap (2x physical memory?)
Application specific partitions: /var/lib/postgresql, /var/db/mysql,
/var/www, /var/spool/postfix (any of this only if this is a major
function of the server)
User data, if the server has users: /home (or /home/$server or 
/home/$something, useful with NFS)

I tend to make a separate /home partition of 1 GB or so even if the
server isnot supposed to have users, since they (we) may occasionally
download something and I don't want us to fill up /.

For a desktop server I think I'd make /, /var, swap and /home.

Are these reasonable partitions?
What sizes would be appropriate - as disks vary wildly in size, I am
looking at reasonable minimum sizes mostly, but also at a good upper
limit as using i.e. 10% for / doesn't necessarily make sense with a 1TB
Is the rule of thumb still twice the physical memory for swap? Should
swap be divided between several partitions (on the same disk), if so, 
why and how? What if there are several (single, not any raid
configuration) disks available?
Is a separate boot partition necessary on a single-OS server/desktop, if
/ is a primary partition at the beginning of the disk? (I can't remember
ever having a /root partition, have I just been very lucky or just

If you get a huge disk (compared to the old one you had, like I will if
I now upgrade my homeserver anno 2005 or so), do you partition all of it
or leave some for later?

On a related side note, what disk configuration should I go for for my
next server (I think I need a new one ;))? RAID? Software or
hardware? What file systems? Will the Ubuntu installer simply decide
what's best for me?

Sorry for hijacking this thread from weird to reasonable partition
schemes ;)

Magni :)
sash is very good for you.

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