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  • What is the best way to convert LVM VolumeGroup/Volume identifiers (e.g. system/var) to device names (e.g. /dev/mapper/system-var or /dev/system/var) and vice versa?
  • Is it safe to just use /dev/VolumeGroup/Volume or are there any caveats (as in the /dev/mapper/VolumeGroup-Volume form, where dashes are treated specially)?
  • What are the essential differences in using /dev/mapper/VolumeGroup-Volume and /dev/VolumeGroup/Volume? Pro/Con for each form?


I want to automatically create LVM snapshots for backup purposes. The configuration should only include the source path in the filesystem (for this example /var). Parsing /etc/mtab yields the device, which is mounted on that path:

# grep /var /etc/mtab
/dev/mapper/system-var /var ext4 rw 0 0

Now I can use lvs to find out VolumeGroup and Volume:

# lvs --noheadings /dev/mapper/system-var
var  system -wi-ao 18,62g

Create the snapshot:

# lvcreate -s -n var-snapshot -p r -l10%ORIGIN system/var

Now I need the device name to mount the snapshot.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Answers to questions:

  1. Prepend /dev/
  2. It's safe
  3. /dev/mapper/$vg-$lv is handled by dm udev rules, /dev/$vg/$lv/ is handled by lvm udev rules.

My previous answer, how to find out the answers:

I'm looking at an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS system.

udev handles device node creation.

/dev/mapper/ and /dev/$vg/ only contain symlinks.

grep lvm /lib/udev/rules.d/* matches several files.

60-persistent-storage-lvm.rules contains this line:


which seems to suggest that the /dev/$vg/$lv links will be created

Most of the files also point to /usr/share/doc/lvm2/README.udev which states that udev and lvm2 will create devices for LVs in /dev/$vg/.

The symlinks in /dev/mapper/ seem to be the doing of 55-dm.rules. Device Mapper can be used without Logical Volume Manager for e.g. encryption with LUKS.

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