Disk Drives Under Linux

Linux supports many types of disk devices and formats. Any SCSI or IDE hard disk will work with Linux, as will floppy disks, CD-ROMs, CD-Rs, USB flash drives, and other types of removable media. These media can contain the standard Linux ext2 filesystem, FAT, FAT32, NTFS, as well as other filesystem types. This flexibility makes Linux coexist nicely with other operating systems on multiboot systems.

The most commonly found hard disks on PCs are IDE drives. These disks feature a relatively simple system interface, and most of the “smarts” of the disk are onboard the disk itself. The IDE standard allows disk manufacturers to sell their product at a very competitive price, expanding their markets to more consumers and limited-budget commercial customers.

A single IDE interface is capable of attaching two disk drives to a system. One device is named master and the other is the slave. Most PCs have a primary and secondary IDE interface. Together, these interfaces allow up to four devices (primary master, primary slave, secondary master, and secondary slave).

Also used on PCs are SCSI drives. SCSI is an older standard for connecting peripherals; however, modern SCSI versions are quite fast and flexible. Typically, SCSI devices are used for their increased speed and reliability in large-scale and high-end server environments. With the increased speeds, however, come increased prices—often two to five times the price of their IDE counterparts.

Compared to IDE, SCSI offers ...

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