Setting up disks manually

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This material is work-in-progress ...

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(Last edited by Ncopa on 31 Jan 2013.)

You may have complex needs that aren't handled automatically by the Alpine Setup Scripts. In those cases, you'll need to prepare your disks manually.

It is possible to have one or more of RAID, encryption, and/or LVM on your / (root) volume. However, the Arch init script only knows how to handle them when they're layered in that order, and your initram and extlinux.conf file in the /boot partition are configured properly.

Your /boot cannot reside on a encrypted or LVM volume, at least not with Alpine's default bootloader (extlinux). (Grub2 can deal with /boot being on an LVM volume.) The usual practice is to create a small partition for /boot, and then devote the rest of your disk to a separate partition on which you layer one or more of RAID, encryption, and/or LVM.

Sometimes /boot is also setup as a mirrored (RAID1) volume, however this is just for post-init access. That way, when you write a new kernel or bootloader config file to /boot, it gets written to multiple physical partitions. During the pre-init, bootloader phase, only one of those partitions will be read from.

So, typical setups might look like this:

One-disk system
---------------
  +------------------------------------------------+
  |  small partition (32--100M), holding           |
  |  only /boot, filesystem needn't be journaled   |
  +------------------------------------------------+
  |  rest of disk in second partition              |
  |  +------------------------------------------+  |
  |  | cryptsetup volume                        |  |
  |  |  +-------------------------------------+ |  |
  |  |  |  LVM PV, containing single VG,      | |  |
  |  |  |  containing multiple LVs, holding   | |  |
  |  |  |  /, /home, swap, etc                | |  |
  |  |  +-------------------------------------+ |  |
  |  +------------------------------------------+  |
  +------------------------------------------------+


Two-disk system
---------------
  +------------------------------------------------+  +------------------------------------------------+
  |  small partition (32--100M), holding           |  |  small partition (32--100M), holding           | These 2 partitions might form a
  |  only /boot, filesystem needn't be journaled   |  |  only /boot, filesystem needn't be journaled   | mirrored (RAID1) volume
  +------------------------------------------------+  +------------------------------------------------+
  |  rest of disk in second partition              |  |  rest of disk in second partition              |
  | T================================================================================================T | These 2 partitions form a second
  | T +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ T | mirrored (RAID1) volume
  | T | cryptsetup volume                                                                          | T |
  | T |  +---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | T |
  | T |  | LVM PV, containing single VG,                                                         | | T |
  | T |  | containing multiple LVs, holding                                                      | | T |
  | T |  | /, /home, swap, etc                                                                   | | T |
  | T |  +---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | T |
  | T +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ T |
  | T================================================================================================T |
  |                                                |  |                                                |
  +------------------------------------------------+  +------------------------------------------------+

In a three-disk system, the /boot would still be RAID1, but the larger partition might in that case be RAID5.


Contents

RAID

setup-disk will automatically build a RAID array if you supply the -r switch, or if you specify more than one device.

If you instead want to build your RAID array manually, see Setting up a software RAID1 array. Then you can add additional layers of encryption and/or LVM, or just assemble the RAID array, and supply the /dev/mdi device directly to setup-disk. When you're finished, be sure to disassemble the RAID array before rebooting.

If setup-disk sees that you're using RAID---either because you gave it the -r switch, or multiple devices, or a /dev/mdi device---then it will setup your initram and extlinux.conf file properly. However, in other cases, such as when you're also using encryption, or you invoke setup-disk with a mounted directory argument, these might not be properly setup for RAID. In that case, you may need to manually edit/rebuild them. The following assumes that $MNT holds the root directory you're installing into:

echo "/sbin/mdadm" > $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/files.d/raid echo "/etc/mdadm.conf" >> $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/files.d/raid # edit $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf to make sure features="..." includes raid (this field is space-separated and quoted) mkinitfs -c $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf -b $MNT # edit $MNT/etc/update-extlinux.conf to make sure modules=... contains raid1 or raid456 (whichever your / is on; this field is comma-separated) # also check the root= setting extlinux --raid --install $MNT/boot --update

Underconstruction clock icon gray.svg
Todo: Does adding the --update option to extlinux ... suffice to make /boot/extlinux.conf be regenerated? Or do we need to manually tweak that file, or run update-extlinux, as well?

You might also need to manually tweak $MNT/etc/fstab. And you might need to copy /usr/share/syslinux/mbr.bin to your disk's MBR.

Encryption

See Setting up encrypted volumes with LUKS. Then you can add an additional layer of LVM, or just unlock the volume you've created (using cryptsetup luksOpen ...), and supply the /dev/mapper/something device directly to setup-disk. When you're finished, be sure to relock the volume (using cryptsetup luksClose ...) before rebooting.

If you install your / (root) on an encrypted volume, you'll need to manually edit/rebuild your initram and your extlinux.conf file. The following assumes that $MNT holds the root directory you're installing into, that you've created the cryptvolume on the device /dev/md2, and that you want to unlock the encrypted volume into a virtual volume named "crypt":

# edit $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf to make sure features="..." includes cryptsetup (this field is space-separated and quoted) mkinitfs -c $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf -b $MNT # edit $MNT/etc/update-extlinux.conf to make sure default_kernel_opts="..." contains cryptroot=/dev/md1 and cryptdm=crypt (this field is also space-separated and quoted) # also check the root= setting extlinux --install $MNT/boot --update

Underconstruction clock icon gray.svg
Todo: Does adding the --update option to extlinux ... suffice to make /boot/extlinux.conf be regenerated? Or do we need to manually tweak that file, or run update-extlinux, as well?

You might also need to manually tweak $MNT/etc/fstab.

LVM

setup-disk will automatically build and use volumes in a LVM group if you supply the -L switch.

If you instead want to build your LVM system manually, see Setting up Logical Volumes with LVM. Then vgchange -ay, format and mount your volumes, and supply the root mountpoint to setup-disk. When you're finished, be sure to

umount ... vgchange -an

before rebooting.


If setup-disk sees that you're using LVM---perhaps because you gave it the -L switch---then it will setup your initram and extlinux.conf file properly. However, in other cases, these might not be properly setup. In that case, you may need to manually edit/rebuild them. The following assumes that $MNT holds the root directory you're installing into:

# edit $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf to make sure features="..." includes lvm (this field is space-separated and quoted) mkinitfs -c $MNT/etc/mkinitfs/mkinitfs.conf -b $MNT # edit $MNT/etc/update-extlinux.conf to make sure root= is set correctly extlinux --install $MNT/boot --update

Underconstruction clock icon gray.svg
Todo: Does adding the --update option to extlinux ... suffice to make /boot/extlinux.conf be regenerated? Or do we need to manually tweak that file, or run update-extlinux, as well?

You might also need to manually tweak $MNT/etc/fstab.

Custom partitioning

setup-disk will by default set up a root parition, a separate /boot partition and a swap. If you want a different layout you can manually create the parititions, filesystems and mount them up on /mnt (or any other mount point) and then run:

setup-disk /mnt

setup-disk will install your running system on the mounted root, detect your file system layout and generate a fstab. You are responsible for making the proper partition bootable and make sure the MBR is ok for extlinux.

Dual-booting

See Install to HDD with dual-boot

Other needs







Setting up swap

  1. create partition with type "linux swap" (82) (If you're going to use an LVM logical volume for swap, skip this step and lvcreate that instead.)
  2. mkswap /dev/sda2
  3. echo -e "/dev/sda2 none swap sw 0 0" >> /mnt/etc/fstab
  4. swapon /dev/sda2 (or rc-service swap start)
Then

free -m

will show how much swap space is available (in MB).

If you prefer maximum speed, you don't need configure any raid devices for swap. Just add 2 swap partitions on different disks and linux will stripe them automatically. The downside is that at the moment one disk fails, the system will go down. For better reliability, put swap on RAID1.

Underconstruction clock icon gray.svg
Todo: Instructions for cryptswap?