Chapter 7. Managing LVM physical volumes

There are a variety of commands and procedures you can use to manage LVM physical volumes.

7.1. Scanning for block devices to use as physical volumes

You can scan for block devices that may be used as physical volumes with the lvmdiskscan command, as shown in the following example.

# lvmdiskscan
  /dev/ram0                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/sda                     [       17.15 GB]
  /dev/root                    [       13.69 GB]
  /dev/ram                     [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/sda1                    [       17.14 GB] LVM physical volume
  /dev/VolGroup00/LogVol01     [      512.00 MB]
  /dev/ram2                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/new_vg/lvol0            [       52.00 MB]
  /dev/ram3                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/pkl_new_vg/sparkie_lv   [        7.14 GB]
  /dev/ram4                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram5                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram6                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram7                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram8                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram9                    [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram10                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram11                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram12                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram13                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram14                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/ram15                   [       16.00 MB]
  /dev/sdb                     [       17.15 GB]
  /dev/sdb1                    [       17.14 GB] LVM physical volume
  /dev/sdc                     [       17.15 GB]
  /dev/sdc1                    [       17.14 GB] LVM physical volume
  /dev/sdd                     [       17.15 GB]
  /dev/sdd1                    [       17.14 GB] LVM physical volume
  7 disks
  17 partitions
  0 LVM physical volume whole disks
  4 LVM physical volumes

7.2. Setting the partition type for a physical volume

If you are using a whole disk device for your physical volume, the disk must have no partition table. For DOS disk partitions, the partition id should be set to 0x8e using the fdisk or cfdisk command or an equivalent. For whole disk devices only the partition table must be erased, which will effectively destroy all data on that disk. You can remove an existing partition table by zeroing the first sector with the following command:

# dd if=/dev/zero of=PhysicalVolume bs=512 count=1

7.3. Resizing an LVM physical volume

If you need to change the size of an underlying block device for any reason, use the pvresize command to update LVM with the new size. You can execute this command while LVM is using the physical volume.

7.4. Removing physical volumes

If a device is no longer required for use by LVM, you can remove the LVM label with the pvremove command. Executing the pvremove command zeroes the LVM metadata on an empty physical volume.

If the physical volume you want to remove is currently part of a volume group, you must remove it from the volume group with the vgreduce command.

# pvremove /dev/ram15
  Labels on physical volume "/dev/ram15" successfully wiped

7.5. Adding physical volumes to a volume group

To add additional physical volumes to an existing volume group, use the vgextend command. The vgextend command increases a volume group’s capacity by adding one or more free physical volumes.

The following command adds the physical volume /dev/sdf1 to the volume group vg1.

# vgextend vg1 /dev/sdf1

7.6. Removing physical volumes from a volume group

To remove unused physical volumes from a volume group, use the vgreduce command. The vgreduce command shrinks a volume group’s capacity by removing one or more empty physical volumes. This frees those physical volumes to be used in different volume groups or to be removed from the system.

Before removing a physical volume from a volume group, you can make sure that the physical volume is not used by any logical volumes by using the pvdisplay command.

# pvdisplay /dev/hda1

-- Physical volume ---
PV Name               /dev/hda1
VG Name               myvg
PV Size               1.95 GB / NOT usable 4 MB [LVM: 122 KB]
PV#                   1
PV Status             available
Allocatable           yes (but full)
Cur LV                1
PE Size (KByte)       4096
Total PE              499
Free PE               0
Allocated PE          499
PV UUID               Sd44tK-9IRw-SrMC-MOkn-76iP-iftz-OVSen7

If the physical volume is still being used you will have to migrate the data to another physical volume using the pvmove command. Then use the vgreduce command to remove the physical volume.

The following command removes the physical volume /dev/hda1 from the volume group my_volume_group.

# vgreduce my_volume_group /dev/hda1

If a logical volume contains a physical volume that fails, you cannot use that logical volume. To remove missing physical volumes from a volume group, you can use the --removemissing parameter of the vgreduce command, if there are no logical volumes that are allocated on the missing physical volumes.

If the physical volume that fails contains a mirror image of a logical volume of a mirror segment type, you can remove that image from the mirror with the vgreduce --removemissing --mirrorsonly --force command. This removes only the logical volumes that are mirror images from the physical volume.