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[Solved] How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:28 pm
by athi
I am getting an Elitedesk 800 G2 with 16gb ram and 3 HDD (1 x 320gb, 2 x 3tb) that I need suggestion on how to setup with Mate 19.1. PC to be use as my main PC, primary storage for data and media servers for the videos via Kodi or Plex, with data backup to another Mate 19.1 PC or external HDD. This is the first time that I have to span multiple HDD in a Mate setup and have several question on how to proceed.

What would be the best partitioning scheme and file system to use for this purpose? I was thinking of 17gb swap partition, 50gb ext4 root partition and balance of the 320gb as BTRFS home volume so I can use BTRFS to extend the home volume to the 2 x 3tb HDD after initial setup. I have never used BTRFS before but does have experience with ZFS with NAS4FREE server. My question are:
1) Is BTRFS stable enough for this usage?
2) How does BTRFS write to volume with multiple HDD, does it write individual file to each HDD or does it stripe the file and write to all HDD simultaneously?
3) What happened to a BTRFS volume if a HDD failed, without mirroring? Does it break the volume without recovery or still run with lost of data on failed HDD?
4) Would it be better to use ext4 for home partition and format the 3tb HDD as ext4 and mount them individually in the home folders? Is there a way to extend the ext4 home partition to include the 3tb HDD without use of LVM?
5) Or to setup with LVM and use LVM to expand home volume to include the 3tb hdd after initial setup? I have never used LVM before and any guidance would be appreciated.

Re: How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 12:30 pm
by athi
Getting ready to setup the new desktop, and decided to go with the simple option of formatting as ext4 and individually mounting the additional hdd in the home folders.

After much research, I found that LVM looks to be the best supported and stable option. BTRFS is somewhat stable but still evolving. ZFS is very matured but support in Linux is still iffy (cannot wait until ZFS is fully supported in Linux). However all 3 stripe the write and loss of data with failure of any hdd in the array. I thought about setting up raid1 or raid5 but the added complexity and loss of disk space on my main PC is excessive since I will be backing up to a NAS box with mirrored ZFS for personal data and regular backup for other data anyway. All that work to find out that the old method is still the way to go, but I did learned a lot about current file system developments in Linux.

Please let me know if anybody have other options.

Re: How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Tue May 07, 2019 10:48 pm
by lsemmens
I have a couple of machines with multiple drives in them. I just Install Mint on one drive and let the file system handle the rest.

Re: How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Wed May 08, 2019 12:13 am
by athi
Did you set up the additional hdd after Mint installation on the first hdd or did you use LVM to install to all hdd? Do you know how the hdd are partition?

Re: How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Wed May 08, 2019 10:44 pm
by lsemmens
The safest way is to disconnect all but the drive you want to install to. I did not do that, but I knew where I was going anyway so it was not an issue. If all drives were of a similar spec then it might have been more of a problem. IIRC when i first moved over from windwoes I did disconnect all but one. Since then I have converted all drives to EXT4 so there are no vestiges of M$ left.

Re: [Solved] How to setup new Mint PC with multiple HDD

Posted: Thu May 09, 2019 9:14 pm
by athi
Finally got the Elitedesk 800 G2 setup with Mint Mate 19.1 with 120GB SSD boot drive, 2 x 3TB and 1 x 4TB HDD setup. Mounted the 3 data HDD in the home folders, changed owner of data HDD from root to local user so user can access partition and share data on the network, created shares and beginning file transfer. Should have this new PC phased in and retire the old PC for other usage by this weekend. This should hold me for a few years.

Final configuration of hdd:
120GB Kingston SKC100S3120G SSD: 315MB FAT EFI partition, 31GB ext4 / partition, 17GB swap and 71GB ext4 /home partition
3TB HGST 7K4000 HDD: 3TB ext4 partition (for data)
3TB HGST 7K4000 HDD: 3TB ext4 partition (for data)
4TB Seagate ST4000DM000 HDD: 4TB ext4 partition (for data)

Preparation, manual partitioning for UEFI PC (later HP UEFI bios is more obtuse than earlier UEFI bios) and installation:
Go into bios setup, disable secure boot and enable EFI, use Rufus to create live USB with EFI boot option
With Gparted, confirm that hdd have GPT partition table and clear HDD of all partition, wipe and create partition table if needed
With Gparted, create 300MB FAT32 partition, after partition is created change flag to boot/ESP (for EFI and boot data)
Start installation from previously created live USB and select custom setup for HDD
With installer, create xxGB swap area partition for swap file (4GB or ram size+ if hibernation is enabled or using heavy applications)
With installer, create 30GB / ext4 partition for o/s data and check format check box
With installer, create /home ext4 home partition from remainder of drive for user data and check format check box
Continue and finish setup

Step to add additional data HDD to /home folder:
Install HDD and format to ext4 using Gparted or Disks
Create mount point for partition
optional - $ whoami (list user name)
$ sudo mkdir /home/user/xxxx (create xxxx folder in /home/user folder)
Repeat for all data partitions
Edit /etc/fstab file using Disks (editing fstab is a bit of a pain and prone to user error)
open Control Center-Disks
select drive at left panel of Disks window
click on Additional partition options icon (gears) and select Additional Mount Options
uncheck Automatic Mount Options if on to enable options
uncheck Show in user interface
enter /home/user/xxxx into Mount Point line (mount partition into /home/user/xxxx folder)
optional-open /ect/fstab to verify that line was added at bottom of file
Change ownership of folder from root to user
$ sudo chown -R user:user /home/user/xxxx (change ownership of /home/user/xxxx from root to user)
Reboot and partition should automount in foler /home/user/xxxx with user as owner of folder

My plan is to work in and download directly into a data folder to minimize write operations on the SSD drive. Please comment if you have ideas to improve this setup.