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simple image files for jails



I'm making a server which will host multiple FAMP setups for clients within freebsd jails using ezjail. I want each client to be limited to how much space they can consume on the server, say 1 GB.

I was originally making an image file and mounting that under /usr/jails/jailname, then using ezjail to install the jail. This seemed to work, but was cumbersome to setup and manage automatically. It also took up some of the space for the packages I had to install (e.g. apache). I don't want my clients to be penalized for the size of the server software (they would not be if they were not jailed). I tried adding to the size of the image to compensate, which works, but is an inelegant solution.

Then I noticed that ezjail has simple images that do this in a more automated fashion. However, there appear to be significant drawbacks with regard to data duplication and upgrading which really limits the benefits of ezjail, so I abandoned this.

I am now considering a variation on my original idea. I will create 1 GB jail image for /home. This is where all user data will be stored (mysql tables, html/php docs, etc).

I was wondering if there are any problems with my idea. Why does ezjail put the whole system on the image? Why not mount the nullfs on top of the mounted image as I was originally doing?

If it matters, I am using FreeBSD 9.1 Release with ezjail 3.3. It's a dual-cpu Pentium 4 Xeon with 4 GB RAM (32-bit, so that's maxed). I don't know much about ZFS, but I think this server is not suited for it (memory and cpu limitations).

Thanks,

--John