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Say I've got.. 5 servers, each server has a partition with 50GB's of storage. Is it possible for me to combine these 5 partitions and then mount them as one on a 6th server?

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YOu can mount other Servers' FS anywhere using NFS but you won't see it as 1 only mount point –  Luciano Facchinelli Aug 31 '11 at 19:49
There's no way to make it visible as just the one mount point? e.g have all the other partitions mounted to /home/ on the 6th server? –  Ulkmun Aug 31 '11 at 19:52
I don't think so (but i could be wrong) .. because you can mount two NFS (or partition , LVM, harddrive ) in the same mounting point –  Luciano Facchinelli Aug 31 '11 at 19:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Absolutely. On the flip-side... this is a bit of a dangerous thing to do... as any failure on any of those 5 servers can mean total data-loss/corruption. (the 5 servers behave as a disk. 5 disks spanned into 1 volume can have very bad outcome if one of those disks fails or becomes non-responsive)

This is the area of "Clustered File Systems" and there's a bunch of different ways to implement it... all with their own pros & cons.

some CFS strategies are block-based (the "volumes" are stored on each server as a block-device" and some are file-system level only. (the "volumes" only pay attention to "files" and pass the data to the underlying file-system to keep track of the blocks)

You can do a wikipedia search for "Clustered File Systems" and "Distributed File Systems" for a list of various flavors... and get some information about how to implement them.

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Yes its possible.

Distributed File systems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_file_system

Helpful answers here (possible duplicate): Which Distributed File System as a backend for Cloud Computing?

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Consider using GlusterFS, it has an ability to combine several subvolumes into one volume. This feature is called "unify translator".

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iSCSI can do this at the block level while being FS agnostic, but has the same drawback as a DFS or CFS, as @TheCompWiz stated.

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