C.4. Device Names in Linux

Linux disks and partition names may be different from other operating systems. You need to know the names that Linux uses when you create and mount partitions. Here's the basic naming scheme:

The partitions on each disk are represented by appending a decimal number to the disk name: sda1 and sda2 represent the first and second partitions of the first SCSI disk drive in your system.

Here is a real-life example. Let's assume you have a system with 2 SCSI disks, one at SCSI address 2 and the other at SCSI address 4. The first disk (at address 2) is then named sda, and the second sdb. If the sda drive has 3 partitions on it, these will be named sda1, sda2, and sda3. The same applies to the sdb disk and its partitions.

Note that if you have two SCSI host bus adapters (i.e., controllers), the order of the drives can get confusing. The best solution in this case is to watch the boot messages, assuming you know the drive models and/or capacities.

Sun disk partitions allow for 8 separate partitions (or slices). The third partition is usually (and is preferred to have) the Whole Disk partition. This partition references all of the sectors of the disk, and is used by the boot loader (either SILO, or Sun's).