I have inherited a Centos 5.5 server provided by Softlayer.

My /usr partition is filling up, and I can't see any quick wins by deleting cruft. It looks like the sheer number of cpanel accounts is to blame, that and the /usr directory not being made large enough initially.

The current status of the disks is as follows:

Filesystem    Type   1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda5     ext3    10153988   2270004   7359868  24% /
/dev/sda8     ext3     1019208     39296    927304   5% /tmp
/dev/sda7     ext3   438694908 107546224 308504668  26% /home
/dev/sda3     ext3    10154020   5162120   4467780  54% /var
/dev/sda2     ext3    10154020   8107412   1522488  85% /usr
/dev/sda1     ext3      101086     24181     71686  26% /boot
tmpfs        tmpfs     4082860         0   4082860   0% /dev/shm

I need to increase the size of this, I'm thinking of doubling it to 20GB.

I have read that its possible to expand ext3 partitions on live systems. My question is, how would I go about this? The softlayer guys won't touch it with a barge-pole, and will only go as far as performing an OS reload, thus leaving me to restore everything from backups.


Do you actually have free space available on sda? Or another disk in the box? If not, ur stuck. Even if you do, you cant dynamically grow it live, unless your fs is on lvm, or some other robust volume manager. If you do have space available or another drive (ie. Post fdisk -l), you can do this with tar and reboot.... let us know and we can help :)


Unfortunately, online resizing doesn't work with ext3. You'd need to be using lvm for this to work as logical partitions can be resized online. With ext3, resizing can only be done if the partition isn't mounted.

As an alternative, you could always create a hard-link from a folder under /usr to a folder under your /home partition and move the data that way. The exact method will vary based on your requirements, but would require less headache and downtime.

  • i think that may just work. if I could move cpanel somewhere else it would save nearly 4GB. I'll explore that option and let you know. – Pickledegg Jun 3 '14 at 20:44

I'm also at Softlayer and have been running into the exact same issues. I've gone over all options with their technical staff and unfortunately, just like the rest of the responses, I'm going to tell you that there is no good news. This is kind of a new development due to Cpanel finally becoming too large for the very partition it set for itself. It's not a Softlayer induced problem, it is entirely Cpanel-related.

You really only have one option if you are like me and have a RAID 1 configuration, and that is to move to a new box that has been provisioned with more space for the /dev/sda3 partition. If you have an available drive bay in the server, you might be able to get Softlayer to connect another drive so you can copy your data. That drive would need to be preformatted and ready to go so all you'd have to do is switch over to it when ready.

We can't do that because we're out of drive bays due to being in an older server. Our only option is to move, which we'll be doing next week. What we're going to have to do is make sure the new server's partitions are provisioned large enough for any foreseeable Cpanel stupidity. Hard to predict, but triple the size should do it (we hope).

  • We actually got around the issue by employing a dedicated sysadmin for this task. He did explain that he'd encountered this problem numerous times before, and quickly resolved the problem for us. I can give you the name of the guy but obviously not here. – Pickledegg Jul 25 '14 at 10:34

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