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[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 17:49:16 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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So Ford.. you could probably help me with this now. Or maybe someone else??
I have a machine with two new 1 TB SATA hard disks.. and I am trying to install Ubuntu Server 9.04.. I want software RAID 1 across the disks, LVM, and three partitions (on each disk).. root, swap, and home. I never used linux LVM before, so I am not sure if the trouble is me or the LVM. The first thing I tried was making a volume group and adding both disks to it.. but this does not seem like the way it is done with this lvm. Any hints as to what I should do in what order?

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 18:03:16 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I'm assuming that you've already discovered that you have to do /boot as a RAID-1 set across all physical disks, preferably on the first partition? After that, you can make the remainder of each disk another RAID-1 set, and then make the whole set a PV. Then you create a VG in the PV, and an LV in the PV.

Ford has more recent experience than I do with regard to migrating an existing system into RAID+LVM, however. I haven't done anything that brave lately
:)

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 18:32:47 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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I haven't really figured anything out yet. In the past, I made /boot a raid1 set, and / a raid1 set.. and I didn't bother with LVM. And yes, /boot is always first. But Ubuntu Server 9.04 install gives you the option of using LVM on one disk, no LVM.. or.. "good luck you're on your own"... There is no guidance as to how to set up a RAID at all with the LVM. Fedora made setting up a RAID1 easy.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 18:33:09 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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PS this is a totally new install.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 18:44:17 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Agreed on that ... Fedora/RedHat/CentOS makes this kind of thing very easy.
I don't know how to do it in Ubuntu at install time. I've got it running at home now, but with hardware raid :)

So anyway, you want /dev/hda1 and /dev/hdb1 to be a raid-1 set with /boot on it, and then you want /dev/hda2 and /dev/hdb2 to be a raid-1 set with an LVM PV on it. After that's configured, you can put two LV's in that PV, one for root and another for swap (and one for /home if you want that in a different volume).

This is assuming that you have enough room in the box to add more disks later, of course. Without that there's not much point in going LVM in the first place.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:02:39 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Well.. this is the new cownow machine. When I had a pair of 250G disks I was perfectly happy to have just /boot and root. But I was kind of thinking that with this new pair of 1TB disks, I don't really want just one huge file system. (I am not counting swap, which of course is there as well). I am kind of in a hurry to get this machine installed, so at first I thought, well, it is so much more space than I will use for a long time (I am only at 25-30 gigs right now), so I will just chop it up as let's say 100MB /boot, 100GB root, 8GB swap (I have 4GB RAM), and the rest /home. That allows more than enough space for everything and I will not have to worry about it for a long time, given the usage of the machine not being that hardcore... But when I went to do the installation, Ubuntu Server installation seemed to be making LVM easy and pushing me toward it. But now that I see it is going to be a whole learning process, I think I am going to go back to my original plan and just do a straighforward RAID.. manually creating the four partitions, matching on each disk.. as RAID volumes, then setting them up as RAID1, and installing... Since I currently use 30GB for everything, I figure 100GB root and approx 892GB /home ought to be just fine for a very long time.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:05:51 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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What are your thoughts on this, especially the sizes??

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:09:54 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Also, this is the first time I am trying ext4, do you think that is wise?

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:38:59 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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So Ford.. you could probably help me with this now. Or maybe someone

else?? I have a machine with two new 1 TB SATA hard disks.. and I am

trying to install Ubuntu Server 9.04.. I want software RAID 1 across
the disks, LVM, and three partitions (on each disk).. root, swap, and

home. I never used linux LVM before, so I am not sure if the trouble

is me or the LVM. The first thing I tried was making a volume group
and adding both disks to it.. but this does not seem like the way it

is done with this lvm. Any hints as to what I should do in what order?


The secret is to download the alternate install. The regular gui install won't let you do it.
The alernate one is text based, and part of the install process, lets you make raid partitions and then make a raid device and then a filesystem on which you can then install, and it all works.
I didn't try the LVM stuff, but it lets you do that too.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:39:58 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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Ford has more recent experience than I do with regard to migrating an

existing system into RAID+LVM, however. I haven't done anything that

brave lately :)

Migrating insane pain in ass, you're better off starting from scratch if you can, but it's doable.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:43:04 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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raid1 set, and / a raid1 set.. and I didn't bother with LVM. And yes,

/boot is always first. But Ubuntu Server 9.04 install gives you the

Another interesting point. Again I didn't do lvm, but for just raid 1, I didn't need to make a separate boot partition. I have one big ass (raided) partition / and it has a /boot directory and grub is smart enough to be able to get what it needs from it.

I was recently looking up MBRs, and it seems that sector zero has both the bootup code AND the partition table.
So the boot code can be all of 464 bytes.
I think it's pretty cool that nowadays, somebody can write in 440 (464? 440? I forget exactly) bytes a program that reads enough sectors and parses through a filesystem...
actually, wait, probably what it does is hardcode the list of sectors is needs to load grub whereever it landed on the disk. That would be much simpler wouldn't it.
Okay, not so impressed anymore

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:45:59 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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I was too pussy to try ext4, I stayed with ext3, it's still plenty fine, and I wanted to make sure all those cool resizefs type tools would work.
I have 2 660gig drives that I'm doing raid1 across, and like you, it didn't seem right to me to make one super huge pardition.
So I made a 300gig partition (with / /boot /home and everything else on it) and I left the rest of the space unparitioned and I figure when I need it, it'll be there for me to do something with.
And like you, I don't see filling up even 300gig any time soon.


[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 19:47:38 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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So again, in short, use the alternate download, it's got that redhat-like curses based install. Might even be the same thing.
The way it works, is there's a list of like 20 things it does top to bottom to setup and install the system.
It automatically jumps from step 1 to 2 to 3 and so on.
But at some points (mostly towards the end, and the disk parititioning stuff) you can back out and get to the menu and go back to whatever step you want and do whatever bits you want over again, it's a pretty good setup.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 20:00:41 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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I am using the non-graphical install and it I guess "lets" you do it but does not make it easy. It has options for LVM. But I could not figure it out.. you actually need to understand how to use the LVM and how it layers with the RAID stuff in order to get anywhere with the installer, and I haven't tried it before.. so I was spending a lot of time feeling it out.. time I don't have right now. So I decided to let the LVM idea die and set up something a lot more basic with four fixed size primary partitions, all RAID1. I know how to do that so I got it done quickly and it is now formatting the partitions.
I assume the installation will go smoothly from here.. the only thing that worries me is that I had a problem before where the machine would not boot the CD nor go into BIOS setup while the (unformatted) SATA drives were connected.
To get this far in the installation, I had to boot the CD, then connect the drives hot. Otherwise it would just hang there probing the drives. I am hoping that once there is a partition table on the drives this problem will go away and it will boot properly from the drives. But if it doesn't, then I will have another issue to deal with. Probably I will have to flash an updated BIOS on the machine. My aptmate has the same machine and looked it up, the bios is around 6 versions old on these...

Anyway hopefully it will not be an issue.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 21:08:26 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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never heard of that before, usually it gives up fairly quickly if it can't id the drive.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 23:40:09 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Also, this is the first time I am trying ext4, do you think that is
wise?

I haven't tried ext4 yet. It can support file systems up to 1 EB and files up to 16 TB, but you probably don't plan on coming anywhere near those limits on this machine. Supposedly it's smarter and more efficient about block allocation, but again, for a low-volume mail and web server, it's probably not worth being on the cutting edge. In any case you can migrate an ext3 filesystem up to ext4 in-place with little to no risk, similar to how you could migrate ext2 up to ext3 simply by writing a journal inode and remounting it.

Aside from that, the plan appears to be sound. Putting tons o'space on /home makes sense if that's where you store all of your mail and web sites. For a drive that big you might give /boot just a little more, if you plan on this installation being a very long term one, in case the kernel and supporting boot files get bigger. Remember when the standard /boot was 50 MB? It won't fit in there anymore.

Despite the continued status of CentOS as my favorite server Linux, Ubuntu Server is a good choice for a machine you simply don't want to have to mess with a lot, since you can just do a one-button upgrade to the next version when it comes out. My home server (which no longer runs anything other than my household stuff ... all of my Internet-facing stuff is at the data center on a server in the same cage as yours) runs Ubuntu for just that reason. I don't want to spend time maintaining it. That's boring now. I just run the updates once in a while. I even went with the "LTS" (long term support) version, which gets security and bugfix updates, but no upgrades, because they support LTS for two years, and you can then migrate from one LTS release to the next. Since I don't want to be bothered with it anymore, I can do the full distribution upgrade every two years instead of every six months.
\

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 23:45:51 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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actually, wait, probably what it does is hardcode the list of sectors

is needs to load grub whereever it landed on the disk. That would be
much simpler wouldn't it.

You're describing the way LILO works, which is why you have to re-run LILO every time you change the kernel. GRUB, on the other hand, does a multi-stage load. The first-stage boot loader knows the sector map of the second-stage boot loader, which in turn has enough knowledge of the filesystem to load the kernel and initrd. That's why you can just throw kernels in there willy-nilly and not worry about the sector map unless you upgrade GRUB itself. But, since most of us now get GRUB as a .rpm or .deb package, we still don't have to worry about it, because the install script for the package handles that.

Who bothers with manual kernel upgrades anymore, anyway? I can't remember the last time I built a kernel. Linux has matured to the point where the average user can go through their whole computing experience without ever learning that stuff. As an uber-nerd I'm glad I know it, but it isn't knowledge that really gets put to use anymore.

[#] Thu Oct 08 2009 23:46:47 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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And like you, I don't see filling up even 300gig any time soon.

...which is another way of saying "I do not own a video camera."

[#] Fri Oct 09 2009 00:03:13 EDT from LoanShark @ Uncensored

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experience without ever learning that stuff. As an uber-nerd I'm glad

I know it, but it isn't knowledge that really gets put to use anymore.


Yeah, it's so not necessary any more, that I probably would have a bit of a learning curve if I actually had to build my own kernel for some reason. Except from an RPM. Anybody can build SRPMS if there are no major mods needed.

[#] Fri Oct 09 2009 03:03:23 EDT from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Well.. I already did the installation.. but now I have the problem I feared I would have, the bios hanging trying to access the drives. So, first thing tomorrow I have to figure out how to make a DOS bootable flash drive or CD with the correct bios update files on it, and update the BIOS.. then sacrifice a few chickens to the boot gods and hope it all works out......

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