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NFS to the power of 4

After ext4 and btrfs in openSUSE 11.2, nfs4 is the next filesystem to be fully supported by libstorage (libstorage is the engine that makes YaST partitioner moving). In the upcoming first milestone of openSUSE 11.3, you can already try mounting nfs4 shares from partitioner during installation and later too (*cough* it has been possible to opt for mounting the share as nfs4 already in 11.1, but GUI option was just dummy, you ended up with regular nfs3 anyway *cough* ;-) ). Big thanks to Arvin and Thomas for implementing it (if you want to help with libstorage hacking, read here how, if you are not into hacking, you can contribute your ideas).

And slightly off-topic (as this post tends to be storage-related): you can also give nfs4-based software repositories a try - openSUSE 11.3 libzypp (hence also zypper and YaST repo manager) is now nfs4-enabled, too.

Sheep^WDisk cloning

Imagine a box with four brand-new clean disks you want to combine into RAID5. Unless you're proficient in CLI tools usage and script writing, here's what you'd probably do: go to YaST partitioner, click first disk, click Add (1st partition), enter the data, click Finish, click Add again (for 2nd partition), enter the data, click Finish ... the same procedure for all partitions on the first disk. Now multiply that by four - isn't so much clicking around an annoying waste of time and energy?

Well, it doesn't have to be so anymore. As disks in RAIDs  tend to have identical (or at least, very similar) partition layout, you can make use of new disk cloning feature (openSUSE 11.3 is the first one to have it - the original code was written by me for SLE11 SP1, and ported to 11.3 by captain Arvin):

Here you just partition one disk and pick the cloning option from the menu. A dialog with list that pops up shows all available disks that are suitable candidates for being the clone of the first one [1] Select one or more of those, confirm with OK and after committing the changes, voila! - there are now few clone brothers with the same partition layout, ready to be bundled into RAID (or LVM). It's easy :)

I wonder if any of other distro's partitioning tools can clone, too, and what approach they're using for setting up complex storage scenarios in an user-friendly way ...

[1] Of course, only the same size or bigger disks qualify, and for simplicity sake, they must share the cylinder size as well