Hardware - Preparation of Large Drives for use with Nextcloud 16 on Ubuntu Server 18.04

My PC uses a GA EP45 DS3P Motherboard, which is Not UEFI. I have setup a Ubuntu Server 18.04 with the current LAMP packages and with Nextcloud 16.
I now need to add 3 x 6TB Drives, one each for each Nextcloud User.
Could someone please lay out the Steps and Commands, etc, to Prepare, Format and Name these One Partition 6TB Drives, (Non Bootable) so that they are accessible by each User, from the Nextcloud Dashboard. I assume they will be Formatted to use the Ext4 Filesystem.
I am concerned about the 2TB limitations of Non GPT Drives and hope that there is a procedure to overcome this limitation, so that larger drives can be used.
I must inform that I am new to using Linux and Nextcloud - first time user.


Computers using old BIOS system cant boot natively GPT partitionned disks, only MBR partitionned disks.

Since MBR partitionned disks have a 2 TB limit, this means the partition size where you install the operating system on a computer using bios cannot exceed 2TB.

However after the bios booted a mbr drive and the operating system is loaded, the operating system takes over disk management from the bios.

Since all modern operating systems like windows or linux support gpt natively, this means since your computer has already ubuntu installed on it you can format your additionnal 6TB drives from it as GPT drives and the 6TB will be detected with no problem.

Once this is done you need to use LVM (logical volume manager) to assemble your 3x6TB physical disks to one logical volume, thus creating a 18TB logical volume, and mount that volume as your data folder for nextcloud.

I wont detail precisely here how to format the disks , create the LVM and mount that volume to a folder as there are already tons of guides that explain easily how to do that on linux if you google it.

The only thing that you need to know from here is that when you install nextcloud it asks you what folder should be used as data storage folder. You just need to mount the 18TB volume to that folder and you’re good to go.

If you dont remember what folder you used as data storage, check nextcloud configuration file.

Also it might not be a good idea to run a nextcloud server on an old computer like this because it might consume a lot more electrical power than a power optimized computer like a nuc or a laptop. Be sure that intel speedstep and C states are enabled in the bios, and verify that when the server is idleing that its processor throttle to a low frequency / voltage and that power consumption goes low (check it with a smart plug). Otherwise you might have a bad surprise when you see your electrical bill :slightly_smiling_face:

Last but not least: the setup you wanna use is very prone to hardware failure. Since you use 3 large disks as one volume, if only one of the 3 hard drives fails you loose the 18TB of data at once. If possible i suggest you buy a 4th disk and setup all of them as a raid 5 system (this can be done by the sata controler on your motherboard, google it).
This will equal to a 18TB volume which will still work if one of the 4 disk fails. You just have to replace the failed drive in that case and you wont loose any data.

1 Like