Mirrored system disks should be trivial to set up

June 9, 2008

I have a simple request for people putting together installers for modern systems, especially systems generally aimed at servers: it should be dirt simple to do an install with mirrored system disks.

With most modern servers having two drive bays (often hotswap ones) and disk space being so cheap, going to mirrored system disks make a lot of sense. But most people won't move to this configuration until it is somewhere between easy and trivial to set up, much like many people did not move to LVM-based system setups, despite their advantages, until installers made it trivially easy to install the system that way.

What I'd like to see for mirrored system disks is something similar to the LVM approach. If the system detects two identically sized disks, it offers 'standard mirrored system disks' as a partitioning option, and then does all of the magic necessary to make everything work nicely. (These days, probably using LVM on top of a single software RAID partition.)

But really, the specifics don't matter: what matters is that it is long since time for mirrored system disks to get first class support as an installation option, because they are (or should be) so common these days.

(Why yes, I was installing a Red Hat Enterprise 5 system today and cursing yet again the backwards way that the Red Hat installer approaches this. But my co-workers are wrestling with this for Solaris 10, and we have a pile of Ubuntu 6.06 machines that would have mirrored system disks if it was easily done in the installer.)

Written on 09 June 2008.
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Last modified: Mon Jun 9 23:43:29 2008
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