Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a developer but I've been assigned to a new project were it seems I'll have to wear the IT hat too.

Company bought a new server were we'll be running an application which basically "translates" binary data into a human readable file. All of this is stored in a MySQL database.

The new server specs are as follows:

Model: HP DL380p Gen8

Processor: Intel® Xeon® E5-2609 (2.40GHz/4-core/10MB/80W) FIO Processor Kit

Ram: (4)HP 2GB (1x2GB) Single Rank x8 PC3L-10600E (DDR3-1333) Unbuffered CAS-9 Low Voltage Memory Kit

Storage: (2) HP 600GB 6G SAS 10K rpm SFF (2.5-inch) SC Enterprise

My question is: Whats the most effective way to partition this new server? Recommended sizes ect...

I've read that there should be separate partitions for root,usr,swap and data. But they are usually examples for small disks.

share|improve this question
But they are usually examples for small disks, not 1.2TB! - Certainly you don't plan on striping those two disks to get the full 1.2TB? I think you should consider mirroring the two disks for a total usable space of 600GB – MDMarra Jun 25 '12 at 15:26
Well... that's whats the "higher ups" has been saying. The project details are still blurry. But your suggestion makes total sense to me. – Rhyuk Jun 25 '12 at 15:36
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It'd difficult to give an exact answer because you yourself don't appear to know everything that's needed but I have to make one thing absolutely clear - you do not have 1.2TB to play with.

The reason is that under no circumstances at all would you do anything other than mirror/RAID1 those two boot disks. This will enable you to survive when (not if) one of those disks dies.

Now onto the actual recommendation - buy at least two more disks. Seriously.

The reason is that you should put your OS onto those two boot disks (in a R1 pair) and store your data on another pair (or more) of disks in either a R6 or R10 array. This is what professionals do, it's boring why but it's all about keeping your OS workload off your 'regular' working disks and vice-versa, it keeps thinks nice and neat too for when things need to expand/change/move etc.

So you put your root, var etc. OS filesystems on the first R1 pair and the create a /mnt/data or whatever filesystem on the second array for your actual data.

If you're new to running Linux I'd advise you to take the OS's installation default for the sizes of the various filesystems (maybe extend /var, the defaults are often too low) but user LVM and leave a good chunk (several tens of GB) of free space so that as you come to know how your OS behaves you can shrink and grow the individual filesystems accordingly - if you leave this space unused it makes life that much easier. Whether you use LVM or not on your second array is down to you, it really depends if you can afford the few percent performance hit its flexibility gives you. Oh and don't be afraid of the ext4 filesystem if you're using a modern Linux, it's very stable.

share|improve this answer
Why buy a DL380p Gen8 (not the cheapest server) and then hamper it with just two disks? This would be like buying a porsche but keeping it in first gear. You could have bought a DL1xx or 360 spent the difference on decent disks instead. – Chopper3 Jun 25 '12 at 15:45
Ok, well in that case carve your disk up so your OS has about 50-100GB and give the rest to your data but make sure it's under a new filesystem ok. At least that way it's easier to move WHEN you have to add new disks. – Chopper3 Jun 25 '12 at 16:05
I use 64gb for the OS partition for years now (or 64gb discs in a VM) and would take it from there. That is a seriously abused server. Too few discs, and less memory than a developer workstation. Ouch. – TomTom Jun 25 '12 at 16:08
Yes. Funny what crap people do buy. Seriuously. Not blaming the poster here... - he made it clear he was handed the server. – TomTom Jun 25 '12 at 17:19
Alright, I was able to scavenge 2 more disks of 145GB each. So taking your suggestion in consideration I should install the OS (which it seems will be RHEL5) in the 145GB disks (RAID1) and place the data in the other array of the 600GB disks right?. I might be a total noob in the IT scene but I def like to do things right. – Rhyuk Jun 28 '12 at 13:05

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.