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The /data Partition

A lot of people ask us why we distribute WebGUI ready to be installed into a folder called /data. The answer is simple: experience. If you've ever been involved with a hosting environment you'll likely remember that servers were almost never upgraded once deployed. This was probably because it was just too difficult to do. There were files strewn around the filesystem and upgrading meant reinstalling all the server software.

In addition, a lot of system administrators create a large RAID array to store all of their data. Administrators seem to have any name in the book as to what they will call these filesystems. Some we've seen are /data, /u1, /share, /bfd, /raid, and even /bigdog. Sometimes they'll use a name that already exists in the Linux filesystem like /usr, /usr/local, /var, or /opt. The problem with using a name in the filesystem is that your data is mixed in with operating system files. So we chose /data as our default partition name.

Here are some of the advantages of using a /data partition:

  • Data files are kept separate from operating system files. Therefore when upgrading or replacing an operating system for any reason, you can simply reinstall the OS, and not touch your data.Just install, mount your /data partition, and you're back online.
  • Data remains more organized. If you're creating your own structured filesystem, it's very easy to automate hosting options like rotating logs, managing backups, automatic installs, etc.
  • If you need extra space on one of your OS partitions, you can simply link to the /data partition. For instance, many people link their database files into a directory on their /data partition.

If you should choose not to use a /data partition, or if you choose not to call it /data, we recommend creating a symbolic link to simulate a /data partition. This will make your upgrades less painful.

Keywords: Installation WRE

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