System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems

Slice Arrangements on Multiple Disks

Although a single large disk can hold all slices and their corresponding file systems, two or more disks are often used to hold a system's slices and file systems.

Note –

A slice cannot be split between two or more disks. However, multiple swap slices on separate disks are allowed.

For instance, a single disk might hold the root (/) file system, a swap area, and the /usr file system, while another disk holds the /export/home file system and other file systems that contain user data.

In a multiple disk arrangement, the disk that contains the OS and swap space (that is, the disk that holds the root (/) and /usr file systems and the slice for swap space) is called the system disk. Other disks are called secondary disks or non-system disks.

When you arrange a system's file systems on multiple disks, you can modify file systems and slices on the secondary disks without having to shut down the system or reload the OS.

When you have more than one disk, you also increase input-output (I/O) volume. By distributing disk load across multiple disks, you can avoid I/O bottlenecks.