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I want to know how to format a 32 TB drive. What program should I use and what filesystem? The largest drives I ever had to map before are 2-3 TB and I always used fdisk for formatting. But fdisk is not working for drives larger than 2.1 TB.

I would prefer that the whole volume is mounted as a single logical drive. We need to store large files in it, some may well pass 4TB.

I have an HP ProLiant DL380p Gen8 server in my administration and configured two 1TB disks as a 1TB system drive and ten 4TB disks into a 30 TB drive using RAID 50. I installed Ubuntu Server 12.04.

UPDATE: I used parted to relabel the partition table to GUID Partition Table (GPT) from msdos which is default for Ubuntu Server 12.04

parted /dev/sdb mklabel gpt

I then used parted to create an ext4 partition, which I later relabeled to xfs with: mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1. The rest went smoothly.

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You need to use the GUID Partition Table (GPT) on such a large disk. In Linux, there are two families of programs that support GPT:

  • The libparted library, which is used by parted, GParted, and several others, supports both GPT and the older MBR.
  • The GPT fdisk family (gdisk, sgdisk, and cgdisk) is a GPT-only tool. It's installed as part of the gdisk package in Ubuntu.

In addition, fdisk has recently gained GPT support, but even Ubuntu 14.04 uses a version that's old enough that it lacks this support.

As to filesystems, XFS, JFS, and ext4fs can all handle such a big volume. So can Btrfs, but it's so new that I don't think I'd recommend it. Chances are this is a pretty important project, so you should research the differences between these filesystems for your specific needs.

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I'm sure there are others, but the JFS and XFS filesystems will both support the volume and file sizes you need. Ubuntu has a Wiki Page on XFS that covers some pros and cons of XFS, one con being that GRUB doesn't support booting off an XFS volume (JFS is supported). However, I don't imagine you're trying to boot off this RAID.

You can format large systems like that using parted and a gpt disk label (the msdos label supports up to 2 TB, like fdisk). To install parted and create a single partition on your RAID (assuming it appears as /dev/sdb), run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install parted
parted /dev/sdb
  mklabel gpt
  mkpart

Beyond that, follow the prompts and you should be good to go.

To format the volume as XFS, you would run sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1. Formatting JFS is similar: sudo mkfs.jfs /dev/sdb1. To use JFS, you'll need to make sure jfsutils is installed.

  • thanks, it helped me solve it. i knew about parted but not about changing the partition table to GPT. – grokkaine Apr 25 '14 at 14:48

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