Tuesday, May 30, 2006

disks and file systems

Seems like hard disks have been quite a popular topic for me recently and there are a few things I've actually learnt in the process. Things like chosing filesystem formats, disk recovery and raiding. It all started with my recent disk upgrades which forced me to start doing stuff again.

Here's what I learnt.

Fact 1: Hardware SATA raid on your motherboard is actually software raid on the bios.

Fact 2: Disk performance can be determined by quite a few factors, the easy things to do without getting into tweaking your kernel is to ensure that you have the right cables. Check that SMART is enabled (through the BIOS) and your DMA is on.

Here are some useful commands

# smartctl -a /dev/hda
# hdparm -d /dev/hda

Fact 3: Choose the right filesystem and stick to it. Easiest to use this as a default install as well. I think most Redhat install types use EXT3. Although other filesystems might be better for different purposes, running different filesystems will add additional load to different modules rather than just use one for all filesystems. (unless you have a high powered computer, then it might not be an issue or use XFS for video editing or large file manipulation). I'm just going to stick to EXT3. I tried using reiserfs and it really impacted the SMB file share on that mount.

Fact 4: the ntfs module doesn't seem to be included in most default distribution installs. You have to download it from http://www.linux-ntfs.org/

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