Partitioning is a topic that can strike fear into the hearts of novice Linux users. Coming from a
Microsoft world, where you might just be used to having one hard drive, it can seem a bit strange to use an operating system that makes partitioning important. Depending on your requirements, you may opt to have a single large partition to contain all your files or you may prefer to segment your installation across several partitions to match your individual needs. You also need to take into account such things as what you will use to back up your data. With the abundance of external hard drives and Flash-based memory sticks, you could use these; remember, however, to provision backup storage space equal to or in excess of your specific requirements. Thanks to the ever-decreasing prices of storage, you can buy a 250GB SATA drive for just more than $100. You will thank yourself that you backed up your data when your primary hard drive goes down!
The needs of the business should be the primary concern when deciding to implement a Linux system. Be careful when specifying a system and ensure that you build in an adequate upgrade path that allows you to extend the life of the system and add any additional storage or memory.
Knowing how software is allocated on your hard drive for Linux involves knowing how Ubuntu organizes its file system, or layout of directories on storage media. This knowledge will help you make the most out of hard drive space; and in some instances, such as planning to have user directories mounted via NFS or other means, can help head off data loss, increase security, and accommodate future needs. Create a great system, and you'll be the hero of information services.
To plan the best partitioning scheme, research and know the answers to these questions:
• How much disk space does your system require?
• Do you expect your disk space needs to grow significantly in the future?
• Will the system boot just Ubuntu, or do you need a dual-boot system?
• How much data will require backup, and what backup system will work best? (See Chapter 17, "Backing Up, Restoring, and Recovery," for more information on backing up your system.)
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