partitioning HD for use of swap & for booting

Sean Dilda agrajag at
Fri Jun 1 08:04:41 PDT 2001

On Thu, 31 May 2001, Kent Heyward wrote:

> 1.    What is the correct partitioning of the hard drive? Currently, I
> am booting from the floppy and am not able to use a swap file.

Due to later comments, I'm assuming you're running Scyld Beowulf.  There
really is no 'correct' partitioning of the hard drive, you can do it
however you want.  However, one thing you might try is to bring all your
nodes up.  Then do 'beofdisk -q' This will query the harddrives on all
the nodes and see what they look like.  This information will be stored
in /etc/beowulf/fdisk/   Then do 'beofdisk -d'  This will set the config
files in /etc/beowulf/fdisk/ to a 'default' partition layout.  Then you
do 'beofdisk -w' and it will make the harddrives on your slave nodes
look the way the config files in /etc/beowulf/fdisk/ indicate.

Once you partition your slave nodes, you will have to edit
/etc/beowulf/fstab to tell your slave nodes to use the harddrive for
swap and / (and any other partitions you want to create) instead of
using /dev/ram3

The 'default' partition layout will also create a partition that we call
a beoboot partition.  Once this is on the slave nodes, you can use
beoboot-install to copy the files from the node boot floppy to that
partition and setup lilo to boot them off the harddrive instead of using
a floppy disk.

> 2.    Does having a swap file contribute to performance?

Not exactly.. what swap does is keeps you from having an Out Of Memory
(OOM) situation.  This happens when a program requests more memory, but
there is no free memory to give it.  When this happens, the kernel will
start killing programs to free up memory.   However, if you have swap,
the kernel will start using the swap to keep it from getting to an OOM
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