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Moving non-critical partition such as /tmp or /home to a new disk


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Linux Disk Partitioning


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While critical partitions can be moved only by booting the server from a DVD or USB with other instance of Linux, non critical partitions can be moved directly. We will discuss this process using /tmp as an example but moving /home, /opt or /srv (if is is used) are very similar.

NOTE: To clean directly like /tmp of old file you can use use tmpwatch

12 steps plan

  1. Install disk(s) and configure Raid on controller, if necessary
  2. Create partitions.

    Note: it is important to use + in fdisk when creating new partition (command n).  Verify that partition table is correct with p command before writing it on the disk.

  3. Format newly created partitions with required filesystem, for example ext3:
  4. Check if you can mount partition on /mnt and if the size is correct.
  5. Backup and then change /etc/fstab. Dont' forget first backup the file
  6. Edit file replacing old device with a new. 
  7. Test your ILO  or Drac or other KVM.  At this point if you did not notice the mistake system can boot to level 1without networking.
  8. Reboot
    [0]root@lustwz54: # df -k
    Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/cciss/c0d0p3     11904620   9250020   2040116  82% /
                          15331248   5249608   9290296  37% /home
    /dev/mapper/vg00-var  15870920    694720  14357000   5% /var
    /dev/cciss/c0d1p2    186054732    191968 176411648   1% /tmp
    /dev/cciss/c0d0p1       497829     29478    442649   7% /boot
    tmpfs                 66042708         0  66042708   0% /dev/shm
    lustwz17:/sge         92891136  18126976  70046592  21% /sge
  9. Check and correct permissions and ownership, if necessary.

    In Linux if you created a new partition (say on a new disk) and try to mount it, say, on /tmp (for example to enlarge partition) you can lose sticky bit on /tmp partition.

    That is connected with the implemented concept of mounting. When a partition is mounted then the root directory of the partition substituted (overlay) the directly on which it is mounted). And by default permission for this newly-created "hidden" root directory are defined by umsk. It is something like 755, never 1777.  

    Similarly if you unmount old /tmp and mount it of, say, /srv, this directory magically will get permission 1777 despite the fact that before that the permission were 755.

  10. Mount of the partition to some unused directory (for example /mnt.
  11. Copy the content, if necessary
  12. VERY IMPORTANT STEP THAT SHOULD NOT BE SKIPPED: Verify that's everything is correct by diffing  "find . -ls"  maps of the old and new partitions.

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