maximum partition size for RHEL

wolf2k5 wolf2k5 at
Tue Apr 18 05:32:21 CDT 2006

Hi all,

We're running several Dell PowerEdge 1850 servers with RHEL3 U7 and
RHEL3 U3, some of them running the i686 version, others running the
x86_64 version.

We use an iSCSI array for data storage, only the server OS is stored
on the local HD.

Some of the servers use the Linux iSCSI initiator (software), while
others use the QLogic iSCSI HBA (hardware).

We usually create a pretty big volume (several TBs) on the iSCSI array
and then create one or more (up to 4) primary partitions on it.

We use the standard partion table (MS-DOS), not the new one (GPT).

We use use ext3 as filesystem type.

What is the maximum partition size that we can safely use in such environment?

I found a good resource about system configuration limits on the RH web site:

Unfortunately  it doesn't include the maximum partition size, though
it includes  the maximum filesystem size. Can I safely assume that the
first value is equal to the latter?

IIRC, I read somewhere that the maximum partition size is 2TB.
If so, how does RHEL4 support 8TB partitions, as per their web site?

Also, we've the ability to create a filesystem directly on the iSCSI
volume without creating a partition at all, e.g. mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb
instead of mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1.
I don't know if that is possible with a regular HD at all, it appears
to work fine with an iSCSI volume.
What are the pros and the cons of creating a filesystem w/o a partition?


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