Storage Application Note

Stein Gjoen,

v0.02, 17 November 2000

This Application Note gives an overview of how a Linux based system can serve in various storage applications and where to get more information

1. Introduction

Storage is becoming cheaper with time while storage requirements are ever increasing. With the increased amounts of data as well as access speed the demands for reliability is also coming into focus.

With the Linux operating system all these requirements and more too are met, making high performance solution cost efficient.

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The latest version of this Application Note will be available on my web space on Nyx in a number of formats:

1.1 Copyright

Copyright (c) 2000 by Stein Gjoen

Please freely copy and distribute (sell or give away) this document in any format. It's requested that corrections and/or comments be forwarded to the document maintainer. You may create a derivative work and distribute it provided that you:

If you're considering making a derived work other than a translation, it's requested that you discuss your plans with the current maintainer.

1.2 Disclaimer

Use the information in this document at your own risk. I disavow any potential liability for the contents of this document. Use of the concepts, examples, and/or other content of this document is entirely at your own risk.

All copyrights are owned by their owners, unless specifically noted otherwise. Use of a term in this document should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Naming of particular products or brands should not be seen as endorsements.

You are strongly recommended to take a backup of your system before major installation and backups at regular intervals.

Any comments or suggestions can be mailed to my mail address on Nyx:

2. Hardware

Linux supports today most current storage related hardware that can be connected to the ATA or SCSI bus such as hard disks CD-ROMs and CD writers, DVD ROM and tape storage. Please refer to the hardware guide and Linux distribution vendor references for details. There is also a Hardware RAID with extensive lists of hardware supported by Linux. There are also some HOWTOs for specific hardware such as for Jaz drives, DPT SCSI RAID controllers, Large disk drives.

There is also information on interfacing devices to the SCSI bus.

Naturally many manufacturers of controllers, such as IDE, SCSI, RAID etc, also support Linux

For convenience it is possible to buy fully integrated Linux based turn key systems from a number of vendors.

3. Software

In addition to Linux based device drivers Linux also supports extended functionality such as Software RAID for extended performance and reliability and Logical Volume Management for ease of scaling storage systems

Disk configuration optimising is detailled in the Multi Disk HOWTO

Often high availability is an important issue and again Linux supports this extensively, refer to the High Availability HOWTO for more information.

4. Integration

Linux can integrate well with a number of other system, not just by networking but also in storage. For instance Linux is capable of reading and writing a number of file systems as used by other operating systems. This is outlined in the File System HOWTO which includes a connectivity map.

Also Linux can coexist with other operating systems on the same hard disk making multi boot possible. More information is found in the Linux+DOS+Win95+OS2 HOWTO and the Linux+FreeBSD.html to mention but a few.

5. Further Information

More information of guides and supporting documents can be obtained free and on line from the Linux Documentation Project.

6. Summary

Large scale Linux based storage systems are already in widespread use in the industry, showing Linux is a working solution for storage and reliability scaling from personal use to global internet based providers such as Google and Deja.