Large volume (>2 TB) under Ubuntu: ext3 or NTFS?


I recently encountered a problem with my Drobo under Ubuntu: I created an HFS+ volume from my MacBook Pro, filled it with a lot of files (> 3 TB) over the course of several months, and then realized I couldn’t mount it under Ubuntu. Apparently, hfsplus currently doesn’t support volumes larger than 2 TB, because it tends to corrupt them. I don’t know if/when this bug/limitation will be fixed.

Now, I have a second external drive (4 TB) that I can use to copy all the files on the Drobo. The question is: which filesystem should I use on the Drobo to be able to use it (read/write) from Ubuntu (keeping in mind I will have more than 3 TB of files)?

  1. ext3, which Drobo supports up to 2 TB only? This is apparently an option, as some users managed to use volumes > 2 TB.
  2. NTFS, which Drobo supports up to 16 TB?

What do you think? Is there any reason not to use NTFS under Ubuntu?


Sorry for bumping such an old thread, but I find that I have a very similar question. I bought a Drobo S this week to use on my Ubuntu HTPC as one big drive to store all my media. The website lead me to believe that this wouldn’t be a problem, but after plugging it in and seeing only 2TB available, I’m not so sure.

Can I reformat my Drobo (connecting to a Win or Mac computer to use the dashboard, if necessary) to the maximum possible volume size, and have it be available as one large drive in Ubuntu? I’m fine with using NTFS, as that’s what I’ve been using for compatibility’s sake in the rare instance I need to access my media files directly from a Windows PC. Will Ubuntu work with a 16TB NTFS volume/LUN?

I really hope this is possible. If I can’t use the Drobo as I expected, I’ll have to return it. :confused:

The solution I’m currently using (since last year) without any problem is to have as many 2-TB ext3 volumes as possible on the Drobo (/mnt/drobo1, /mnt/drobo2, etc.) and to aggregate them using mhddfs, which makes it possible to mount all the 2-TB volumes as a single volume (/mnt/drobo) (up to 16 TB only?).

Here’s my /etc/fstab config:

UUID=...  /mnt/drobo1     ext3         noatime                                              0  0
UUID=...  /mnt/drobo2     ext3         noatime                                              0  0
mhddfs#/mnt/drobo1,/mnt/drobo2             /mnt/drobo      fuse         nonempty,mlimit=1G,allow_other                       0  0

See the following for more information:
“mhddfs: join several filesystems together to form a single larger one”

The only limitation I’ve noticed so far is that hard links are not supported.

I haven’t experimented with NTFS under Ubuntu in a long time, but it might work. I know that HFS+ was limited to 2 TB because of a bug.

Also, isn’t the Drobo S supposed to support ext3 up to 8 TB?

Man, I wish I’d heard about mhddfs when I first started spreading media across three hard drives. :slight_smile: Good suggestion, I think I may still try the 16GB NTFS LUN, but that gives me a solid fallback option.