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I'm pensioning off my 10-years-old home server and replacing it with an Ubuntu 10.04 box. The two storage devices are a Western Digital Caviar Green 2.0TB HD and an Intel X25-M 34nm Gen 2 80GB SATA II 2.5inch SSD (the box has 8GB RAM and an i5 750, if it matters).

I don't care much about boot times (since I don't plan to reboot all that often;-); the main frequent, performance-demanding task will be (re)building large open source C or C++ software packages from sources (as an open source contributor, I do that often).

So, I thought I'd keep the SSD as the secondary drive and the HD as the primary one, using the SSD mostly for the files that can otherwise demand a lot of seeking (esp. in a parallel make).

However, the friendly vendor (perhaps more experienced in Windows systems than in Linux ones) thinks the "normal" way to configure the machine would be with the SSD as the primary drive. I'm pretty rusty on configuring and tuning systems, so, I thought I'd better double check on SuperUser... thanks in advance for advice about this choice!

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

What I would do is put /boot, /, /usr, /srv, and /var on the platter drive and /home and /var/lib on the SSD, with /tmp being 1GB or so of your RAM. Putting it all as LVM will let you balance the space as needed.

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Yep, tx, that makes sense (though Ted Ts'o's essay on aligning filesystems to SSD erase blocks has made me especially wary of how LVM can behave in that respect, I guess I'll just need to experiment and benchmark to find good parameters). – Alex Martelli Jun 7 '10 at 3:24
You don't necessarily have to use LVM on the SSD as it's only (snicker) 80GB. It's more important to have it on the platter drive since it contains the big parts of your filesystem. Also, if you don't need speed for your databases then you can make all of the SSD /home and put /var/lib on the platters instead. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 7 '10 at 3:44

It really depends on you & how much space you want for your root partition, etc. You could mount the SSD on wherever you're planning on compiling your code. If it were me, and space were not an issue, I would use the SSD as my primary boot drive and possibly put /home on a different disk. Either way, you'll want to read up on using an SSD in linux, specifically hdparm/wiper.

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