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This is a general question to optimize performance, reliability, and consistency. I know that both of these methods work, I'm just wondering if there are (dis)advantages to one over the other.

General:

  • OS: Ubuntu 10.04 running on VMWare ESX
  • Spare drive presented as an additional drive device. Appears as "/dev/sdb" to the OS
  • Using MySQL 5.1 with the data directory, /var/lib/mysql, mounted on /dev/sdbX where X is defined below
  • Using XFS as /dev/sdbX filesystem

The thing I'm interested in is partitioning the drive vs leaving it unpartitioned

An accident of decision making resulted in us having a number of systems with this setup using unpartioned "/dev/sdb"

I'd strongly prefer that all drives be partitioned, and thus configured and used as "/dev/sdb1"

The only advantage I can think of, though, is that partitioning the drive is a more standard way of setting this up.

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To use the "standard way" is the best thing to do. So go ahead and partition.

Using non-standard-ways always gives you problems and/or headaches later on - I speak from over 10 years of experience here.

So generally when using something new - take a close look at the "standard" way to use it.

I must emphasize though, that "standard" may differ from "supported".

Either it is supported, OR it works. But NEVER both. ;-)

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in terms of performance make sure to separate your databases vs your logs, that would give you a big boost for performance. i think now days a lot of people prefer to use some sort of volume managers such as LVM or similar which gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of adding disks almost seamlessly but the draw back is cpu cycles.

there is no real difference between partitioning drive vs un-partitioned as far as I know.

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Partition the new drive. Even if you're planning to use the entire disk, make the device /dev/sdb1.

I add lots of additional VMDK's to existing virtual machines, and even with the flexibility that comes with this type of storage, I use the standard partitioning arrangement for the sake of consistency and compatibility. Suppose you have a third-party software package that expects /dev/sd[x][y]... Would it break by not having a partition number? I can think of several applications that would not handle that gracefully.

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