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Web hosts – use jfs over ext3

Posted on | September 28, 2007 | No Comments

This is a quick note :)

Web hosts, try jfs over ext3. I can now report, over a year and counting, every time I clean up a disaster, computers ( virtual or dedicated ) using JFS nearly always recover. Those using ext3 typically suffer database corruption, /etc is missing or corrupted, or some other problem that requires an OS reload.

ext3 is a good file system, the problem is you need to tweak it for proper server usage. I’m not going to blog a tutorial on how to do that, as your idea of usage and mine are sure to differ.

When you order a new server, specify the following: /boot - ext2 (512 MB should do) - no need to journal here. / - jfs (20 GB should do) - you want to journal here, sensibly. /home - jfs (up to you) - you want to journal here, senisbly /usr -ext3 (5 GB should do) - This usually remains pretty static, ext3 will do /tmp -ext2 (2 GB should do) - no need to journal /tmp /var -jfs (10 GB should do) - you want to journal here, sensibly. If your users are SQL hogs, increase this a bit. The same goes if your users get frequent brute force SPAM attacks.

Most data centers are partition stupid, mostly because requesting something other than / being lumped into one big ext3 piece of junk costs them more on setup. Big data centers use a provisioning system that ‘pushes’ the OS to your machine and sets it up a certain way. Usually, this way is whatever way is ‘default’ for the operating system, typically just one partition. Custom provisioning instructions means they have to pay a geek to do your installation manually. Many don’t charge extra for this, some do. The good data centers will not.

Normally, I don’t use LVM on shared hosting servers, there’s really no need to use it. Just be sure that you plan partition sizes appropriately based on your own historical use, you might need a bit more, or less on some.

If you take care to select the right file system for the job and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, err, partition, you’ll have a lot less explainig to do to your customers :)

A good data center who doesn’t mind custom setups (often not charging extra) is The New York Noc, I deal with those guys pretty frequently.

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