The System Administrators Guide to Virtual Disk Operations
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README.md

VDG Cover

The Linux Sysadmin's Guide to Virtual Disks

The Linux Sysadmin's Guide to Virtual Disks demonstrates the core concepts of virtual disk management. Real-world problems are covered in this book's "Cookbook" section. Included are examples across the difficulty spectrum, from the basic printing of a disk's meta-data, to cloning physical disks into virtual disks. Disk format conversion and disk resizing are both covered in-depth.

Topics include, the Virtual disk cookbook, helper utilities, disk formats, troubleshooting, and performance considerations.

The Linux Sysadmin's Guide to Virtual Disks is written in a tone that is approachable to both newcomers, and experienced veterans. No matter what your experience level, you're guaranteed to learn something new.

Read the book online for free:

Buy a physical copy to support the author:

If you have enjoyed the Virtual Disk Guide, consider buying a physical copy to show your support. Or not, no pressure.

Table of Contents

  • 0. Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction
  • 1.1. Introduction
  • 1.2. Typographical Conventions
  • 1.3. Units & Prefixes
  • 1.4. Getting Help/Feedback
  • 1.5. About The Author
  • 2. The Virtual Disk Cookbook
  • 2.1. Creating Simple Images
  • 2.2. Resizing Disk Images
  • 2.2.1. Resizing RAW Images
  • 2.2.2. Resizing QCOW2 Images
  • 2.3. Query an Image for Information
  • 2.4. Converting Between RAW and QCOW2
  • 2.4.1. Convert an Image from RAW to QCOW2
  • 2.4.2. Convert an Image from QCOW2 to RAW
  • 2.5. Creating Disks with Backing Images
  • 2.6. Comitting changes to a backing image
  • 2.7. Cloning a Physical Disk
  • 3. Disk Concepts
  • 3.1. Creating a 1GiB virtual disk from scratch
  • 3.1.1. Background on the dd command
  • 3.1.2. Running dd
  • 3.1.3. Examining the Created File
  • 3.1.4. Create a Partition Table
  • 3.2. Devices and Partitions
  • 3.2.1. Introduction
  • 3.2.2. Creating a Loop Device
  • 3.2.3. Examine the loop device
  • 3.2.4. Creating partitions
  • 3.2.5. Formatting Partitions
  • 3.2.6. Cleaning Up
  • 4. Helper Utilities
  • 4.1. libguestfs
  • 4.1.1. guestmount
  • 4.1.2. virt-filesystems
  • 4.1.3. virt-rescue
  • 4.1.4. virt-resize
  • 4.1.5. virt-sparsify
  • 4.2. virt manager
  • 5. Disk Formats
  • 5.1. RAW
  • 5.2. QCOW
  • 5.3. QCOW2
  • 5.4. Other Formats
  • 6. Performance Considerations
  • 6.1. I/O Caching
  • 6.1.1. Write-back Caching
  • 6.1.2. Write-through Caching
  • 6.2. I/O Schedulers
  • 6.2.1. Additional Resources
  • 7. Troubleshooting/FAQs
  • A. Appendix: Man Pages
  • UNITS — decimal and binary prefixes
  • B. Appendix: Disk Drive History
  • B.1. Disk Drive Components
  • B.2. Access Modes
  • B.2.1. CHS Addressing
  • B.2.2. LBA Addressing
  • B.3. The Master Boot Record
  • Glossary
  • Colophone

Building the Document

Compiling this documentation requires:

Fedora Packages with some of these dependencies:

  • xsltprox available in libxslt
  • dblatex available in dblatex

There is a basic setup script in misc/setup-docbook.sh.