SUMMARY: Disk partitions > 2 GB under 4.1.3?

From: Monty B. Peffley (
Date: Wed Aug 11 1993 - 00:42:26 CDT

Is it possible to have disk partitions greater than 2 GB under SunOS 4.1.3?
If so, are patches to 4.1.3 needed? Any help appreciated including rtfm's,
rtfFAQ's, etc.

Substitute "filesystems" for "partitions" in the above question.

*Many* recommended Sun's Online DiskSuite, available from Sun Express (for
example) for $800 for the "Desktop" license, and $2000 for the "Server"
license. *Nobody* had a bad word to say about it. Many had good things
to say, e.g. this from an Aussie:

>Disksuite allows you to dynamically grow partitions, have concatenated
>partitions to form one larger one, striped partitions and disk
>mirroring. It's well worth it.

The SunExpress prices for the Solaris 1.x version of DiskSuite are: $800 for
the "Desktop" license, and $2000 for the "Server" license.

Online DiskSuite is also available for Solaris 2.x for $895 (uni-processor)
and $2295 (multi-processor).

>From the SunExpress catalog:
DiskSuite provides the capability to: (1) support large filesystems (up to 52 GB
according to the Sun lit.); (2) provide disk mirroring; and (3) do disk striping.
(A couple responders said the upper limit was 1 Terabyte, not 52 GB, but it's
BIG, ok?)

One responder had living proof that DiskSuite works, this output from df:

Filesystem kbytes used avail capacity Mounted on
/dev/md2b 44762387 41978878 2335886 95% /prod1

Bill DeStefano had this to say:
>Sun's Online:DiskSuite is a collection of programs that patch the 4.1.3 kernel
>and system files so that you can create logical devices called "metadevices"
>which can have very large partitions, amongst several other nifty features (like
>disk mirroring, disk concatenation, and disk striping). There are even facilities
>that enable you to expand a filesystem without removing the existing data from it.
>I use DiskSuite to concatenate five disks (ie. make five 600 MB SCSI drives
>appear as one large 3 GB partition). It has been working for us without a
>problem for seven months now.

1. Norm Lunde of Columbia University offered this:
>I know someone who partitioned & newfs'd a 2.4 Gb disk on a machine
>running Solaris 2.2, then moved the disk back to the 4.1.3 machine. He
>claims it worked. Solaris 2.2 newfs does not suffer from the 2 Gb

2. Dan Strick of Bellcore has actually beat the 2GB barrier under 4.1.3.
He wrote:
>If you have source, the fixes are trivial. You need to make minor
>changes to the file system maintenance utilities: df, dump, fsck,
>fsirand, and mkfs. The kernel needs no changes.

1. jpl of warned:
>I don't know the answer to your question, but I'll tell you why I'd
>think twice about such big partitions, regardless of the answer.
>2 GB is the magic boundary between 31 and 32 bits. There are LOTS
>of 32-bit quantities (file size, seek offset, etc, etc) that may or
>may not be signed in some Un*x implementation. If you are absolutely
>certain that you will never want to restore a dump tape on any system
>less capable than 4.1.3, go ahead and use the large file system size,
>if the answer is ``yes''. But if you ever hope to process a dump tape
>on an arbitrary system, steer clear of the 2GB size.


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