Linux Filesystems 101 - Block Devices

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Permanently mounting a filesystem

We've already seen a way to mount a partition temporarily onto /mnt. How would we make a permanent mount? First, we need a place in the directory structure for our new filesystem to live. For this exercise, let's mount it under /wolf. The directory has already been created for us. Go ahead and mount sda2 on /wolf with the command:

sudo mount /dev/sda2 /wolf
Start the VM

To make sure it worked properly, check with lsblk. That was easy, right? Well, there's a catch. That mount will only last until the next reboot of the system. To check this, try rebooting now:

sudo reboot

Wait for the VM to reboot, then login again and repeat the lsblk command. Oops... sda2 isn't mounted! The list of filesystems to mount on boot can be found in the /etc/fstab (filesystem table) file. Let's take a look at it. Execute the command:

cat /etc/fstab

You can see in this file a line that mounts /dev/sda1 on /...

UUID=0397a46b-a76d-4bda-b85e-3cbdec344d7c /               ext4   defaults 0       1

...and another line that mounts /dev/sdb on /scripts...

UUID=847bc509-b856-4a1e-9a01-c902bec56801       /scripts        ext4    defaults,ro     0       0

Don't see /dev/sda1 or /dev/sdb1 in those lines? That's because instead of using the device file name to identify the partitions, the fstab file uses the partition UUIDs (Universally Unique Identifiers).

A UUID is a means of deterministically identifying a disk or partition based on the data on it, and not by the hardware or software configuration. The device label sda2 is an artifact of the current system configuration. If that configuration were to change (either a software update or a change in the physical connections) then sda2 could refer to a different device instead.

If we want to mount sda2 via UUID (and we do!) then we need to find out what that UUID is. Use this command:

sudo blkid /dev/sda2

This will show us that the UUID we need is 14ec56b9-9d53-49e4-992a-45a7e5a64dca. Here is the line we want to add to /etc/fstab:

UUID=14ec56b9-9d53-49e4-992a-45a7e5a64dca /wolf ext4 defaults 0 0

This line has already been prepared on the VM in a file called /etc/fstab.wolf. We just need to replace /etc/fstab with this new file using the mv (move) command:

sudo mv /etc/fstab.wolf /etc/fstab

Check your handiwork with cat /etc/fstab. Try rebooting again and then use lsblk to check your partition. Is it mounted on /wolf this time?

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