/boot is full after running "make installkernel" on FreeBSD 8.0

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at infracaninophile.co.uk
Fri Jul 2 07:33:53 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 01/07/2010 22:29:54, Ed Flecko wrote:
> Henrik,
> When I FIRST installed 8.0, I did create a separate /home partition.
> When I installed the kernel and starting running out of space in / , I
> thought "O.K...I'll let FreeBSD make the partition sizes IT wants to
> and see if I have the same problem, and I did.
> Apparently, 512M is just, not, quite big enough so I think I'll try 1G
> to give me plenty of room.

Is it time for me to start advocating "one big partition" again?

This may not be the consensus view, but I have found that for a quiet
life and general lack of botheration it helps to create *only two*
partitions on your hard drive:

     b: Swap -- usually 2x RAM
     a: Everything else

Now, I've run this setup on literally hundreds of servers without
problems.  The usual argument against doing this is "but a run-away
process might log so much that is fills your hard drive."  This is true.
 You might also be killed by a lightning strike the next time you leave
your house.  Run-away logfiles are actually pretty rare, and given that
80GB would be considered a pretty small hard drive nowadays, and you can
fit a standard FreeBSD install with quite a lot of extra software inside
10GB, you're likely to have sufficient empty space that you'ld get days
of warning before it caused real trouble.  In which case, newsyslog(8)
is your friend.  Cycling logs based on size and checking that every hour
will avoid almost all trouble.  You do monitor disk space usage on your
servers don't you?  Cacti is in ports and its pretty easy to set up, as
are several other alternatives.

Watch this list: you'll see people having trouble with too small root
partitions with great regularity.  I don't think I've /ever/ seen anyone
ask about dealing with a process generating huge amounts of log data.

Even if you do fill up the hard drive, it's not actually guaranteed
disaster.  FreeBSD itself will keep running just fine.  So will most web
applications -- although you won't get any logging.  Simply delete some
of the excess files, and the system will spring back to normal function.
 Filling the partition certainly will crash a database, but for serious
RDBMS setups, I generally make an exception and put the database working
files onto their own partition[*].

Nowadays too, I much prefer using ZFS -- so I have *one* zpool from
which is allocated all of the space for the zdevs on the system.  This
is much the best of both worlds -- you get as many filesystems as you
can eat, but each of them can use as much of the total available space
as it needs to.



[*] As this usually involves hardware RAID10 with plenty of cache and a
BBU on at least 4 x 15k RPM SAS2 drives, it would generally be on a
separate partition in any case.

- -- 
Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
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