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Before reading this article, you should be able to:
Understand basic <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> and FreeBSD concepts.
Be familiar with the installation procedure of FreeBSD and the <application>sysinstall</application> utility.
The procedure described here is intended for preparing a new installation where no actual user data is stored on the disk yet. While it is possible to modify and extend this procedure for systems already in production, you should <emphasis>backup</emphasis> all important data before doing so. Messing around with disks and partitions at a low level can lead to fatal mistakes and data loss.
Understanding Journaling in FreeBSD
The journaling provided by GEOM in FreeBSD 7.<replaceable>X</replaceable> is not file system specific (unlike for example the ext3 file system in <trademark class="registered">Linux</trademark>) but is functioning at the block level. Though this means it can be applied to different file systems, for FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE, it can only be used on UFS2.
This functionality is provided by loading the <filename>geom_journal.ko</filename> module into the kernel (or building it into a custom kernel) and using the <command>gjournal</command> command to configure the file systems. In general, you would like to journal large file systems, like <filename>/usr</filename>. You will need however (see the following section) to reserve some free disk space.
When a file system is journaled, some disk space is needed to keep the journal itself. The disk space that holds the actual data is referred to as the <emphasis>data provider</emphasis>, while the one that holds the journal is referred to as the <emphasis>journal provider</emphasis>. The data and journal providers need to be on different partitions when journaling an existing (non-empty) partition. When journaling a new partition, you have the option to use a single provider for both data and journal. In any case, the <command>gjournal</command> command combines both providers to create the final journaled file system. For example:
You wish to journal your <filename>/usr</filename> file system, stored in <filename>/dev/ad0s1f</filename> (which already contains data).
You reserved some free disk space in a partition in <filename>/dev/ad0s1g</filename>.
Using <command>gjournal</command>, a new <filename>/dev/ad0s1f.journal</filename> device is created where <filename>/dev/ad0s1f</filename> is the data provider, and <filename>/dev/ad0s1g</filename> is the journal provider. This new device is then used for all subsequent file operations.



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