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I am a Linux/Ubuntu newbie installing Ubuntu Server 10.04 on a fresh box as a web server.

My box has two physical drives (40GB and 160GB), and I wish to use them both.

With no previous experience in installing Ubuntu, what partitions should I create that will best utilize my disk space, but also be stable with reasonable performance?

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Thanks Ralf, it will be a single user server, so I imagine I will mostly use www-data rather than the home directories. –  Matthew Blackford Sep 4 '10 at 12:37

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Although it should be possible to create one partition that spans more than one physical drive, it's not a recommended path.

You are better off creating more than one partition, that just happen to live on different drives.

You want to use it as a server. Will you be using the home directories? Or will you keep most of your data in /var/www-data ?

Common paths to separate on different partitions are:

/boot -> this is often a separate partition, so you can use a different filesystem (grub doesn't support all filesystems)

/var -> this is assumed to contain data that changes a lot

/home -> this if often separated so you can easily reinstall without loosing user's files

/tmp -> this is assumed to have temporary data

Also, keep in mind you will need a separate swap partition no matter what you do. I would put the swap-partition, and the /var partition on the fastest physical drive.

EDIT: Let's assume your fastest drive is the 40 gb one. In that case you may want to put /var/www-data on your larger drive, and just keep the root '/' and the swap on the fastest physical drive. This would mean you have three partitions: swap, / and /var/www-data. No need to separate the rest.

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You could use lvm or software-raid to create a virtual device that concatenates the space of both disks.

Creating then just one filesystem (and perhaps a swap partition) on that virtual device would maximize your disk utilization.

But it is not recommended since if one of your hard disks fails your complete file system is unusable.

I.e. you add the hard-disk fail probabilities.

Thus, just create the system (boot + swap + /) on the 40 GB one. And mount the 160 one as /home or /var depending on where do you want to save the most data ...

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