Monthly Archives: February 2014

How-to: Install CentOS 6.5 using btrfs for the root partition

I discovered today that CentOS 6.5 x86_64 can be installed using btrfs with very little effort!

Here’s how to do it:

  1. At the grub menu for the installation media (e.g. minimal install CD), press tab.  Pressing tab will give take you to a prompt where you may add to the installer’s kernel options.
  2. Append ‘ btrfs’ to the end of the line.
  3. Press enter.
  4. Proceed as usual, until you reach the ‘type of installation’ screen.  At this time, select ‘Create custom layout’.
  5. Many partition schemes are possible here.  I chose to start with a blank ‘sda’, without LVM.
    1. I think a non-btrfs partition type is necessary for /boot, but I’m not sure at the moment.  I’ll leave that up to you to investigate.
    2. The first partition I entered was ‘/boot’ with a 1024MB ext4 file system.
    3. For most installs, you should next consider creation of a swap partition, which is something documented in the CentOS/RHEL manuals quite well.  I chose not to create a swap partition for the machines where I tested this procedure, but I highly recommend you educate yourself about swap space before proceeding if you have not done so already.
    4. I used the rest of sda for ‘/’ using a ‘Fill to maximum’ btrfs partition.
    5. Proceed as usual with the installation.
    6. Profit!

It seems previous version(s) of CentOS 6.x may or may not have this feature which prompted folks to convert their ext4 partitions to btrfs after the initial install [1].  Lucky for us, this is no longer necessary.

Please let me know in the comments if you find this works on other CentOS 6.x versions/architectures and I’ll update this post.


Thanks for reading,

– Joshua

// Founder @ Wrale

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