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Section: Maintenance Commands (8) Updated: June 29, 2010
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setup-storage - automatically prepare storage devices  


setup-storage [-X] [-f filename] [-d] [-h]  


Using FAI disk_config files, setup-storage computes effective partition and volume sizes and executes the necessary commands to configure storage devices. It manages disk drives as well as RAID and LVM volumes. It handles all file systems supported by parted(8) as well as ntfs but is flexible enough to be extended to further types as well. Once the storage devices are prepared, an appropriate fstab(5) file is generated.

Without the -X parameter setup-storage runs in test-only mode and does not execute commands other than writing disk labels to a blank disk.

The exit code of setup-storage is 0 if all operations were performed successfully and non-zero if an error occurs.  


To enable the use of the new partioning tool setup-storage you have to set USE_SETUP_STORAGE=1 in the according class file in configspace (like /srv/fai/config/class/FAIBASE.var for example).  


Really write the configuration to disk. Otherwise setup-storage runs in test-only mode.

-f filename
Normally setup-storage selects an appropriate configuration from $FAI/disk_config/ by picking the first class from classes that has an existing file. If however -f is given the configuration in filename is used.

Enable debugging output.

Display the synopsis and version info and exit.


setup-storage will use the following environment variables:
The disklist variable must contain a newline separated list of disk drives available in the system. Their order matters as they may be referred to as disk1, etc. in disk_config.
If debug is set to a non-zero value all actions and details to track the operation of setup-storage are printed to stderr.
The location of the config space to find the disk_config directory.
The list of FAI classes to determine the appropriate configuration to choose.
setup-storage generates and fstab (see below) in this directory.
This variable determines if partitions should be preserved when they are tagged as to be preserved. Normally set by the list of FAI flags (FAI_FLAGS).


If setup-storage executes successfully, an fstab(5) file matching the specified configuration is generated as $LOGDIR/fstab. Furthermore the file $LOGDIR/ is generated. This file defines the following variables, if not yet set: SWAPLIST, ROOT_PARTITION, BOOT_PARTITION (which is only set in case this resides on a disk drive), and BOOT_DEVICE. The latter two describe the partition and disk/RAID/LVM device hosting the mount point for /boot. If /boot has no extra mount point, / is used instead. You may source $LOGDIR/ to get the variables set.  


This section describes the syntax of disk_config files

file ::= <lines> EOF

lines ::= EOL

          /* empty lines or whitespace only */

          | <comment> EOL 

          | <config> EOL 

comment ::= #.*

config ::= disk_config lvm( <lvmoption>)*

           | disk_config raid( <raidoption>)*

           | disk_config cryptsetup( <cryptsetupoption>)*

           | disk_config tmpfs

           | disk_config end 

           | disk_config disk[[:digit:]]+( <option>)*

           | disk_config [^[:space:]]+( <option>)*

           /* fully qualified device-path or short form, like hda, whereby full

            * path is assumed to be /dev/hda; may contain shell globbing such

            * as /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-* */

           | <volume>

lvmoption ::= /* empty */

           | preserve_always:[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+(,[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- always */

           | preserve_reinstall:[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+(,[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- unless the system is installed for the

           first time */

           | preserve_lazy:[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+(,[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- unless these don't exist yet */

           | always_format:[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+(,[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+)*

           /* run mkfs on the volumes, even if marked as preserve */

           | resize:[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+(,[^/,\s\-]+-[^/,\s\-]+)*

           /* attempt to resize partitions */

           | fstabkey:(device|label|uuid)

           /* when creating the fstab, the key used for defining the device

           may be the device (/dev/xxx), a label given using -L, or the uuid


raidoption ::= /* empty */

           | preserve_always:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- always */

           | preserve_reinstall:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- unless the system is installed for the

           first time */

           | preserve_lazy:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve volumes -- unless these don't exist yet */

           | always_format:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* run mkfs on the volumes, even if marked as preserve */

           | fstabkey:(device|label|uuid)

           /* when creating the fstab the key used for defining the device

           may be the device (/dev/xxx), a label given using -L, or the uuid


cryptsetupoption ::= /* empty */

           | randinit

           /* initialise all encrypted partitions with random data */

option ::= /* empty */

           | preserve_always:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve partitions -- always */

           | preserve_reinstall:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve partitions -- unless the system is installed for the 

           first time */

           | preserve_lazy:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* preserve partitions -- unless these don't exist yet */

           | always_format:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* run mkfs on the partitions, even if marked as preserve */

           | resize:[[:digit:]]+(,[[:digit:]]+)*

           /* attempt to resize partitions */

           | disklabel:(msdos|gpt|gpt-bios)

           /* write a disklabel - default is msdos */

           | bootable:[[:digit:]]+

           /* mark a partition bootable, default is / */

           | virtual

           /* do not assume the disk to be a physical device, use with xen */

           | fstabkey:(device|label|uuid)

           /* when creating the fstab the key used for defining the device

           may be the device (/dev/xxx), a label given using -L, or the uuid


           | sameas:(disk[[:digit:]]+|[^[:space:]]+)

           /* Indicate that this disk will use the same scheme

           as the given device. The referenced device must be

           defined before the device using this option. Use only

           with identical hardware.


volume ::= <type> <mountpoint> <size> <filesystem> <mount_options> <fs_options>

           | vg <name> <size> <fs_options>

           /* lvm vg */

           | tmpfs <mountpoint> <tmpfs_size> <mount_options>

           /* tmpfs volume */

type ::= primary

         /* for physical disks only */

         | logical

         /* for physical disks only */

         | raid[0156]

         /* raid level */

         | luks

         /* encrypted partition using LUKS */

         | tmp

         /* encrypted partition for /tmp usage, will be

            recreated with a random key at each boot and

            reformatted as ext2 */

         | swap

         /* encrypted partition for swap space usage, will

            be recreated with a random key at each boot and

            reformatted as swap space */

         | [^/[:space:]]+-[^/[:space:]]+

         /* lvm logical volume: vg name and lv name*/

mountpoint ::= (-|swap|/[^:[:space:]]*)

               /* do not mount, mount as swap, or mount at fully qualified path */

name ::= [^/[:space:]]+

         /* lvm volume group name */

sizespec ::= RAM:[[:digit:]]+%|[[:digit:]]+[kKMGTP%iB]*

         /* size in kilo (KiB), mega (default, MiB), giga (GiB), tera (TiB),

          * petabytes (PiB) or percentage of disk size or RAM size;

          * in future releases KB, MB, GB, ... will be treated as 1000 instead

          * of 1024 (KiB, MiB, GiB, ...) multipliers */

size ::= <sizespec>(-(<sizespec>)?)?(:resize)?

         /* size, possibly given as a range; physical partitions or lvm logical

          * volumes only */

         | -<sizespec>(:resize)?

         /* size given as upper limit; physical partitions or lvm logical

          * volumes only */

         | [^,:[:space:]]+(:(spare|missing))*(,[^,:[:space:]]+(:(spare|missing))*)*

         /* devices and options for a raid or lvm vg */

tmpfs_size ::= <sizespec>

         /* tmpfs size */

mount_options ::= [^[:space:]]+

filesystem ::= -

               | swap

               | [^[:space:]]

               /* must exist */

fs_options ::= (createopts=".*"|tuneopts=".*"|(pv|vg|lv|md)createopts=".*")*

               /* options to append to and to the filesystem-specific

                * tuning tool, pvcreate, vgcreate, lvcreate or mdadm */


The major differences to the prior configuration syntax are:
The disk_config ... line allows for the keywords lvm and raid
Options may need to be appended to the disk_config line
The ";" is not used anymore, the options that were given there have now been split up
The filesystem is now an explicit parameter; note that the order of filesystem/mount-options is the same /etc/fstab as opposed to the previous format of disk_config.
Any options to may be given using createopts="".
The "preserveX" and "boot" options are one of the options now given on the disk_config line, using preserve_reinstall, preserve_always, or preserve_lazy, and bootable. preserve_always is equivalent to the previous preserveX option, whereas preserve_reinstall preserves the partition unless "initial" is given as one of the FAI_FLAGS. preserve_lazy allows to preserve partitions only if these exist already. Otherwise they are created.
The "always_format" option overrides preserving filesystems (via one of the "preserveX" options), like the "format" option in setup_harddisks.
Support for LVM and RAID is completely new
Resizing partitions and filesystems is supported


Simple configuration of /dev/hda

disk_config hda preserve_always:6,7 disklabel:msdos bootable:3

primary   /boot     20-100    ext3      rw
primary   swap      1000      swap      sw
primary   /         12000     ext3      rw        createopts="-b 2048"
logical   /tmp      1000      ext3      rw,nosuid
logical   /usr      5000      ext3      rw
logical   /var      10%-      ext3      rw
logical   /nobackup 0-        xfs       rw

Preserve the 6th and the 7th partition. The disklabel is msdos which is the default for x86. Furthermore the 3rd partition is made bootable.
Create a primary partition /dev/hda1 with a size between 20 and 100 MiB and mount it read-write as /boot; it is formatted using ext3 filesystem.
/dev/hda2 will be a swap space of 1000 MiB
/dev/hda3 should be formatted using ext3 filesystem; when calling mkfs.ext3 the option "-b 2048" is appended.
Create the logical partition /dev/hda5
Make /dev/hda7 at least 10% of the disk size
Use mkfs.xfs to format the partition 8

Create a softRAID

disk_config raid
raid1 /  sda1,sdd1                         ext2 rw,errors=remount-ro
raid0 -  disk2.2,sdc1,sde1:spare:missing   ext2 default

Create a RAID-1 on /dev/sda1 and /dev/sdd1, format using mkfs.ext2 and mount it as /
Create a RAID-0 on the second partition of the second disk, /dev/sdc1, and /dev/sde1 as a spare partition. The latter may be missing.

Simple LVM example

disk_config sda bootable:1
primary        /boot  500     ext3      rw
primary        -      4096-   -         -

disk_config lvm
vg             my_pv  sda2
my_pv-_swap    swap   2048    swap      sw
my_pv-_root    /      2048    ext3      rw

Crypt example

disk_config /dev/sdb
primary   /         21750     ext3      defaults,errors=remount-ro
primary   /boot     250       ext3      defaults
logical   -         4000      -         -
logical   -         2000      -         -
logical   -         10-       -         -

disk_config cryptsetup
swap      swap      /dev/sdb5 swap      defaults
tmp       /tmp      /dev/sdb6 ext2      defaults
luks      /local00  /dev/sdb7 ext3      defaults,errors=remount-ro  createopts="-m0"

tmpfs example

disk_config tmpfs
tmpfs     /tmp      RAM:20%   defaults
tmpfs     /scratch  3GiB      defaults

Mount a tmpfs on /tmp with a maximum size equal to 20% of the total amount of RAM in the machine. This is equivalent to using size=20% in the tmpfs mount options.
Mount a tmpfs on /scratch with a maximum size of 3 GiB.

External log device example

disk_config /dev/sda fstabkey:uuid bootable:2
primary   /         20GiB     ext3                          defaults
primary   /boot     250       ext2                          defaults
primary   swap      4GiB      swap                          defaults
logical   -         256       ext3_journal                  -
logical   -         256       ext4_journal                  -
logical   -         256       xfs_journal                   -

disk_config /dev/sdb fstabkey:uuid
primary   /mnt/ext3 33%       ext3:journal=/dev/sda5        defaults
primary   /mnt/ext4 33%       ext4:journal=/dev/sda6        defaults
primary   /mnt/xfs  33%       xfs:journal=/dev/sda7         defaults

Mount an ext3 filesystem on /dev/sdb1 with an external journal on /dev/sda5
Mount an ext4 filesystem on /dev/sdb2 with an external journal on /dev/sda6
Mount an XFS filesystem on /dev/sdb3 using /dev/sda7 as the log device



Partition UUID cannot be obtained: In case a partition was previously used as part of a software RAID volume and now is intended as swap space, udev fails when asked for a UUID. This happens because mkswap does not overwrite the previous RAID superblock. You can remove it using mdadm --zero-superblock <device>.
Machine does not boot because not partition is marked as bootable: If the bootable option is not specified, not partition will be marked as such. Modern BIOSes don't seem to require such markers anymore, but for some systems it may still be necessary. Previous versions of setup-storage by default marked the partition mounting / as bootable, but this is not a sane default for all cases. If you want to be sure not boot failures happen because of a missing bootable marker, explicitly set the bootable option. Of course, there are lots of other reasons why a system may fail to boot.
Crypto support requires some site-specific changes: If you use cryptsetup stanza, a crypttab file and key files for all luks volumes will be created. The key files are left in /tmp/fai; you will want to copy these to some removable media.


This program is part of FAI (Fully Automatic Installation). The FAI homepage is

Further documentation, including coding related information, is maintained in a wiki page at  


FAI is courtesy of Thomas Lange <>. Michael Tautschnig <> contributed the initial version of setup-storage to replace the previous setup-harddisks, with the help of Christian Kern.




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 22:02:21 GMT, April 16, 2011