When I type mount on the root of my Ubuntu system I get the output

/dev/xvdal on / type ext4 (rw,noatime)

I want to know what is the meaning of /dev/xvdal in this?

2 Answers 2


You are on a Xen VPS(or virtual machine); xvd* are simply the Xen disk storage devices (Xen Virtual block Device). They appear instead of sda, etc. when you are using the more efficient paravirtualized Xen disk drivers instead of straight-up SCSI disk emulation. If you list the installed modules (drivers) on a Xen HVM, this driver will show as blkfront (or xen_blk if you are running on a very old Xen version--pretty rare).

In short, treat xvda1 exactly as you would sda1 on a regular PC.


It's probably /dev/xvda1 rather than /dev/xvdal.

Virtual storage devices, representing cloud storage (or paravirtualized storage generally, as izx has pointed out), are typically exposed in Ubuntu through /dev/xvd nodes. /dev/xvda1 is the first partition of the first such device (just as /dev/sda1 is the first partition of the first SCSI or SCSI-like storage device).

  • 9
    Afaik, that nomenclature is exclusive to Xen and does not apply to KVM, Vbox, VMware, etc. The cloud storage association may just be because Amazon EC2s use Xen :)
    – ish
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:16
  • 2
    @izx You know a hell lot about these machines. Jul 20, 2012 at 19:22
  • 1
    @darkcrow lol, sadly I have had to know way more than I should about Xen and OpenVZ VPSs.... ;)
    – ish
    Jul 20, 2012 at 19:25

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