maximum partition size for RHEL

Eric Warnke ericew at
Tue Apr 18 07:40:13 CDT 2006

I have had nothing but trouble using MSDOS partition types on devices larger
than 2TB ( eg Apple XRaid ).  Using fdisk/msdos partitions APPEARED to work,
but on reboot would shrink down to partition-2Tb in size and results in fs
corruption.  Using parted and gpt works around that issue.

On systems the size you are talking, you should also be using LVM.  I never,
initially, make the partition fill the drive.  I leave room for snapshots
and latter growth.  Using LVM also means that scsi device renumbering will
not affect your mountpoint ( a huge plus ).


On 4/18/06, wolf2k5 <wolf2k5 at> wrote:
> 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?
> Thanks.
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