Large filesystems help/ideas

David Robillard david.robillard at
Wed May 21 16:52:03 UTC 2008

> Hi,
> I'm implementing a backup solution at work.We've bought a x86 server
> with two hardware raid 5 with for a total storage capacity of about 7Tb.
> For the software we are using for backups, the ideal scenario would be
> to have just one "big disk" so that no space problems would appear.
> I've tried to install FreeBSD 7 with no success, as it seems... the
> sysinstall tool doesn't support such big slices.
> I've read about the "Large Data Storage on FreeBSD" but I'm still confused.
> I've also thought on using slices of 1Tb, and join all them using vinum.
> What do you think about this last option?
> Thanks a lot for your help.

I would suggest to use different partitions for your OS and another
big one for your backup data. In fact, if you can use two smaller
disks in RAID 1 for the OS and leave your two RAID 5 for the backup
data alone, that would be even better.

This way you can both a) install the OS without any problem and b)
prevent a *very* long fsck in case the machine crashes and your 7TB
partition is broken beyond the background fsck process. Once you have
the OS installed on the smaller partitions, you can then use gpt(8) to
create your 2TB+ filesystems.  YMMV.

We use a scenario quite identical as what you're trying to do. We use
a few ports to do so, like sysutils/rsnapshot and shells/rssh with
rsync and OpenSSH along with an encrypted backup volume and OpenPGP to
encrypt the tapes. For VMWare images, we use sysutils/rdiff-backup. It
works very well for 100+ mixed FreeBSD, RedHat, Ubuntu and AIX hosts.
If you need any help with the backup setup and all, just ask, I'll
send you the howto.

Have fun,

David Robillard
UNIX systems administrator & Oracle DBA
CISSP, RHCE & Sun Certified Security Administrator
Montreal: +1 514 966 0122

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