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I have just been looking at the sizes of various partitions in my server and I see that it states;

/dev/xvda1            3.7G  2.9G  792M  79% /
/dev/mapper/vg00-usr   26G  3.7G   23G  14% /usr
/dev/mapper/vg00-var   72G   43G   30G  60% /var
                       17G  5.3G   12G  32% /home
none                  512M  4.5M  508M   1% /tmp

Is it bad to have such big logical volumes? My var section has been used for 43GB!

My server disk space is 300GB, if I keep getting notices saying: Drive Warning: /dev/vg00/var (/var) is XX% full and I keep having to extend the partitions, then my available disk-space will rapidly decrease.

Anything I can do about this or is it something I've got to get used to and buy more disk-space?

Answers much appreciated,


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Find out what's using the disk space!

Is this a mail server? Log server? It's entirely sensible in that case.

The tool xdiskusage is great for visualizing disk usage in scenarious like this.

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Hey - my server doesn't recognise that command? And I've had a peek around and can't see anything unusual... It's just a server which hosts clients of mine, it's basically an 'all-in-one'. – James Anderson Jul 14 '11 at 17:42

/Var is where log-files generally end up being spooled (specifically /var/log), so that's a big one to take a look at. Make sure you're only keeping what you need and not everything for the last 3 years. That's the one universal thing I can think of. The rest are application-specific.

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Thanks for that! :D – James Anderson Jul 14 '11 at 17:43

First, nomenclature: these are not partitions. These are filesystems that have been created on logical volumes. The logical volumes are carved out of volume groups, which themselves are built from block devices -- which may be partitions, or may simply be entire disks.

Having "large" filesystems is not by itself a problem. I put "large" in quotes because 43GB isn't particularly big. Multiple terabytes is "large" where I come from, so it all depends on your perspective.

If your filesystems are growing fast enough that you find yourself frequency resizing it, then you may have a problem:

  • You may have simply created the filesystem too small to begin with. In this case, you should at some point figure out what size it needs to be and things should stabilize.

  • You may have something that is erroneously using up disk space. Something logging too verbosely can do this, as can something logging to a file that nevers gets rotated. You can use tools like du to investigate where disk space is being used.

  • You may simply be running services that as part of their normal operating consume additional disk space. Web sites with user-submitted content, email servers, databases, and other such services will tend to grow over time. Your job in this case is to figure out how fast things are growing and plan your storage expansion appropriately.

Without knowing (a) what services you're running and (b) what's causing the space to be consumed, we can't really provide any guidance on what represents an appropriate size and how to address the growth.

You can use du to find the space consumed by a paritcular directory like this:

# du -sh /var/lib
21G     /var/lib

The -s gives you a grand total, and -h gives you "human-readable" sizes (e.g., "21G" instead of "21998608".

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I've done that command and it says 44GB for the /var/ folder. I did the same for the log folder and it's only 946MB. Could this be crossed out as a cause, because the size is so small? How can I delete old, unused log files easily? – James Anderson Jul 14 '11 at 17:43
As you say, the log directory is very small. I wouldn't worry about it. Most distributions include automatic log rotation (and removing old log files), typically using the logrotate application. – larsks Jul 14 '11 at 17:53
So what else could be the problem then, as it seems to be getting bigger each day? :( – James Anderson Jul 14 '11 at 18:00
And my /dev/root folder is also 79%. What could be causing this? How can I expand it? – James Anderson Jul 14 '11 at 18:06
You've ruled out /var/log. Take a look at other directories in /var to find out where the space is being used. You may want to spend some time reading some basic books on system administration; that might help you get a better sense of how things are organized and how to diagnose this sort of issue. – larsks Jul 14 '11 at 18:35

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