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This might seem like an odd question at first, but I was experimenting with an Amazon EC2 instance and forgot to partition an EBS drive under Linux.

I discovered I could directly format it with a filesystem and mount it without it even containing a partition table.

First, I was a little surprised I could actually do that. Then come to think of it, why not?

If the whole drive is going to be used for a filesystem anyway, should I partition it? Could there be a performance penalty in not doing so?

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When you ask for a ebs drive, you get a virtual disk of whatever size you want. On physical disks you would partition to create smaller drives or different filesystems but with Amazon EC2 you can have as many smaller drives as you want and create different filesystems of your choice.

There is no need to partition it and it won't hamper the performance in any way.

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The method you used, dropping the file system on the entire EBS volume without partitioning, is the standard practice used on EC2.

When using physical disks, we have to partition if we want our file systems to access different (smaller) sizes.

When using virtual disks, we can create each volume to match exactly the size we want and we can create multiple volumes for different purposes instead of partitioning a single volume.

One benefit of this is that it makes it much easier to create larger volumes as copies of existing volumes (through a snapshot) and to extend the file system to the larger size.

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