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I'm trying to create a couple of 10 TB filesystems on a RHEL 4.8 file server. ext3 theoretically supports up to 16 TB, but I know there are some gotchas above 8 TB. All the docs I've seen suggest that I should just pass -F to mkfs.ext3, but when I do that, mkfs.ext3 segfaults.

I'm wondering about trying to download a newer version of e2fsprogs and just format it that way, but I worry about the gotchas (will I suddenly discover, months down the road, that the moment the machine starts to fill the partition it starts overwriting everything?)

I could move to RHEL 5, but that will put the file server on a different version of RHEL from all the other machines, and I'd like to avoid that if I can. But I have that in my back pocket if it's really necessary.

So I just wonder if there's an easy obvious reliable trick to format my disks.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I don't think RHEL4 has the unsigned patch required for ext3 to support 2^32 blocks, in which case you are stuck with 8 TB file systems.

GFS supports filesystems up to 16 TB on 32-bit systems, including RHEL4.

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Just to close this out, I landed up migrating everything to RHEL 5 (well, mostly CentOS 5, actually). That was well worthwhile and the big disk works great. –  Alistair Bell Jul 29 '10 at 19:15
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