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Administering Filesystems  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 1

Introduction to administering Local Filesystems

As a system administrator, each time you set up a new machine, you must ask yourself, "What task do I want this machine to accomplish?"
Then, you must consider the machine's available storage space and allocate that space in a way that ensures fast, efficient operation while still providing the various filesystems the space they need to accommodate the data associated with the task. The best way to do this is to divide the hard drive into partitions.
Designing and creating partitions requires care: partitions that are too small to contain the information stored could conceivably cause the computer to freeze.
This module discusses how to plan a filesystem suited to your needs and determine the partition layout, size, and swap space necessary for the machine to carry out its assigned tasks. Also, you will learn how to add new drives to hold the partitions you have selected.
  1. Partition: A partition is a section of the hard drive reserved for specific directories, applications, or operating systems.
  2. Swap space: Swap space is the space on a hard disk that computer uses as an extension of its RAM.

Module objectives

After completing this module, you will be able to:
  1. List the steps required to plan a filesystem
  2. Plan partition layout
  3. Plan partition size
  4. Enable swap space
  5. Add a new hard drive

NFS to share (export)

Figure 5−1 illustrates a Linux file server using NFS to share (export) a file system and a client computer mounting the file system to make it available to its local users.
Figure 5−1: NFS can make selected file systems available to other computers.
Figure 5−1: NFS can make selected file systems available to other computers.

In this example, a computer named oak makes its /apps/bin directory available to clients on the network (pine, maple, and spruce) by adding an entry to the /etc/exports file. The client computer (pine) sees that the resource is available, then mounts the resource on its local file system at the mount point /oak/apps. At this point, any files, directories, or subdirectories from /apps/bin on oak are available to users on pine (given proper permissions).
Although it is often used as a file server (or other type of server), Red Hat Linux is a general−purpose operating system. So, any Red Hat Linux system can share file systems (export) as a server or use other computer’s file systems (mount) as a client. Contrast this with dedicated file servers, such as NetWare, which can only share files with client computers (such as Windows workstations) and will never act as a client.
Note Many people use the term file system rather loosely. A file system is usually a structure of files and directories that exists on a single device (such as a hard disk partition or CD−ROM). When I talk about the Linux file system, however, I am referring to the entire directory structure (which may include file systems from several disks or NFS resources), beginning from root (/) on a single computer. A shared directory in NFS may represent all or part of a computer's file system, which can be attached (from the shared directory down the directory tree) to another computer's file system.
The next lesson lists the steps required to plan a filesystem.