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I just bought a new 1T hard drive to replace the dead one for my desktop. I use it mainly for number crunching, doing higher performance computations that consume lots of memory and CPU, and also read and write disk a lot. I will mainly work in Ubuntu.

So the obvious solution for hard drive partition is just let the whole disk to be a single ext4 partition. But I am also thinking about the pros and cons of other solutions with some size of NTFS partition for two reasons: (1) the disk may have errors because of future intensive disk read and writing, instead of using 1T monolithic partition, should I partition the disk into several smaller partitions, so that I can fix the disk errors within a smaller partition more quickly? (2) I might want to install a windows system to use some software that don't have good counter parts in Ubuntu, say Office, though I can install a virtual machine instead.

What would you suggest to partition the hard drive given my purpose? What are the pros and cons?



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closed as not constructive by Lekensteyn, Ringtail, Tom Brossman, stephenmyall, belacqua Nov 2 '12 at 16:25

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You should at least create a seperate /home partition. This allows you to remove and exchange the linux operating system without having to back up and restore any personal data or personal desktop configuration. I think reserving about 20Gig for the remaining system partition would be sufficient.

If you are working with software RAID or LVM etc. you will also need a seperate /boot partition from which the OS kernel can be loaded before RAID and LVM are initialized. About 500Meg are more than sufficient here.

Another parts of the filesystem tree which is often put to a seperate partition is /var since this contains log files, database files, caches etc. Data which can grow in volume without your direct interaction. Should this data fill up your root filesystem, you might run into trouble using your system. Putting the folder to a seperate partiton, obviously prevents this.

/srv is sometimes externalised because it is supposed to store bulk data for services. I.e. all the video files for your multimedia streaming service, or whatever, files which don't belong directly to the system. You have to decide if you want to do this or not.

Use LVM to be more flexible when altering partitions later. It enables you to extend a partition to another hard drive or to continue one partition after a second one without moving any data. Growing partitions can always be easily done in retrospect, shrinking them is sometimes tricky (but often not that difficult either).

In any case I would strongly recommend having your home partition seperated from the OS. You will find this useful in the future. And of course you might or might not want to have a swap partition.

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Consider using the Logical Volume Manager. The Enterprise Volume Management System was (years ago) another alternative, but LVM is now integrated into the kernel and is very easy to use once you learn about it.

You may also want to consider using the JFS filesystem rather than the ones you mention. I've been using it for more than 5 years through several power outages and journal recovery has always recovered my filesystem with zero errors and no lost data. I think JFS is a wonderful filesystem.

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