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Chapter 5. Managing LVM logical volumes

A logical volume is a virtual, block storage device that a file system, database, or application can use. To create an LVM logical volume, the physical volumes (PVs) are combined into a volume group (VG). This creates a pool of disk space out of which LVM logical volumes (LVs) can be allocated.

5.1. Overview of logical volumes

An administrator can grow or shrink logical volumes without destroying data, unlike standard disk partitions. If the physical volumes in a volume group are on separate drives or RAID arrays, then administrators can also spread a logical volume across the storage devices.

You can lose data if you shrink a logical volume to a smaller capacity than the data on the volume requires. Further, some file systems are not capable of shrinking. To ensure maximum flexibility, create logical volumes to meet your current needs, and leave excess storage capacity unallocated. You can safely extend logical volumes to use unallocated space, depending on your needs.


On AMD, Intel, ARM systems, and IBM Power Systems servers, the boot loader cannot read LVM volumes. You must make a standard, non-LVM disk partition for your /boot partition. On IBM Z, the zipl boot loader supports /boot on LVM logical volumes with linear mapping. By default, the installation process always creates the / and swap partitions within LVM volumes, with a separate /boot partition on a physical volume.

The following are the different types of logical volumes:

Linear volumes
A linear volume aggregates space from one or more physical volumes into one logical volume. For example, if you have two 60GB disks, you can create a 120GB logical volume. The physical storage is concatenated.
Striped logical volumes

When you write data to an LVM logical volume, the file system lays the data out across the underlying physical volumes. You can control the way the data is written to the physical volumes by creating a striped logical volume. For large sequential reads and writes, this can improve the efficiency of the data I/O.

Striping enhances performance by writing data to a predetermined number of physical volumes in round-robin fashion. With striping, I/O can be done in parallel. In some situations, this can result in near-linear performance gain for each additional physical volume in the stripe.

RAID logical volumes
LVM supports RAID levels 0, 1, 4, 5, 6, and 10. RAID logical volumes are not cluster-aware. When you create a RAID logical volume, LVM creates a metadata subvolume that is one extent in size for every data or parity subvolume in the array.
Thin-provisioned logical volumes (thin volumes)
Using thin-provisioned logical volumes, you can create logical volumes that are larger than the available physical storage. Creating a thinly provisioned set of volumes allows the system to allocate what you use instead of allocating the full amount of storage that is requested
Snapshot volumes
The LVM snapshot feature provides the ability to create virtual images of a device at a particular instant without causing a service interruption. When a change is made to the original device (the origin) after a snapshot is taken, the snapshot feature makes a copy of the changed data area as it was prior to the change so that it can reconstruct the state of the device.
Thin-provisioned snapshot volumes
Using thin-provisioned snapshot volumes, you can have more virtual devices to be stored on the same data volume. Thinly provisioned snapshots are useful because you are not copying all of the data that you are looking to capture at a given time.
Cache volumes
LVM supports the use of fast block devices, such as SSD drives as write-back or write-through caches for larger slower block devices. Users can create cache logical volumes to improve the performance of their existing logical volumes or create new cache logical volumes composed of a small and fast device coupled with a large and slow device.

5.2. Using CLI commands

The following sections describe some general operational features of LVM CLI commands.

Specifying units in a command line argument

When sizes are required in a command line argument, units can always be specified explicitly. If you do not specify a unit, then a default is assumed, usually KB or MB. LVM CLI commands do not accept fractions.

When specifying units in a command line argument, LVM is case-insensitive; specifying M or m is equivalent, for example, and powers of 2 (multiples of 1024) are used. However, when specifying the --units argument in a command, lower-case indicates that units are in multiples of 1024 while upper-case indicates that units are in multiples of 1000.

Specifying volume groups and logical volumes

Note the following when specifying volume groups or logical volumes in an LVM CLI command.

  • Where commands take volume group or logical volume names as arguments, the full path name is optional. A logical volume called lvol0 in a volume group called vg0 can be specified as vg0/lvol0.
  • Where a list of volume groups is required but is left empty, a list of all volume groups will be substituted.
  • Where a list of logical volumes is required but a volume group is given, a list of all the logical volumes in that volume group will be substituted. For example, the lvdisplay vg0 command will display all the logical volumes in volume group vg0.

Increasing output verbosity

All LVM commands accept a -v argument, which can be entered multiple times to increase the output verbosity. The following examples shows the default output of the lvcreate command.

# lvcreate -L 50MB new_vg
  Rounding up size to full physical extent 52.00 MB
  Logical volume "lvol0" created

The following command shows the output of the lvcreate command with the -v argument.

# lvcreate -v -L 50MB new_vg
  Rounding up size to full physical extent 52.00 MB
    Archiving volume group "new_vg" metadata (seqno 1).
    Creating logical volume lvol0
    Creating volume group backup "/etc/lvm/backup/new_vg" (seqno 2).
    Activating logical volume new_vg/lvol0.
    activation/volume_list configuration setting not defined: Checking only host tags for new_vg/lvol0.
    Creating new_vg-lvol0
    Loading table for new_vg-lvol0 (253:0).
    Resuming new_vg-lvol0 (253:0).
    Wiping known signatures on logical volume "new_vg/lvol0"
    Initializing 4.00 KiB of logical volume "new_vg/lvol0" with value 0.
  Logical volume "lvol0" created

The -vv, -vvv and the -vvvv arguments display increasingly more details about the command execution. The -vvvv argument provides the maximum amount of information at this time. The following example shows the first few lines of output for the lvcreate command with the -vvvv argument specified.

# lvcreate -vvvv -L 50MB new_vg
#lvmcmdline.c:913         Processing: lvcreate -vvvv -L 50MB new_vg
#lvmcmdline.c:916         O_DIRECT will be used
#config/config.c:864       Setting global/locking_type to 1
#locking/locking.c:138       File-based locking selected.
#config/config.c:841       Setting global/locking_dir to /var/lock/lvm
#activate/activate.c:358       Getting target version for linear
#ioctl/libdm-iface.c:1569         dm version   OF   [16384]
#ioctl/libdm-iface.c:1569         dm versions   OF   [16384]
#activate/activate.c:358       Getting target version for striped
#ioctl/libdm-iface.c:1569         dm versions   OF   [16384]
#config/config.c:864       Setting activation/mirror_region_size to 512

Displaying help for LVM CLI commands

You can display help for any of the LVM CLI commands with the --help argument of the command.

# commandname --help

To display the man page for a command, execute the man command:

# man commandname

The man lvm command provides general online information about LVM.

5.3. Creating LVM logical volume

This procedure describes how to create mylv LVM logical volume (LV) from the myvg volume group, which is created by using the /dev/vdb1, /dev/vdb2, and /dev/vdb3 physical volumes.



  1. Create a logical volume:

    # lvcreate -n mylv -L 500M myvg

    Use the -n option to set the LV name to mylv, and the -L option to set the size of LV in units of Mb, but it is possible to use any other units. The LV type is linear by default, but the user can specify the desired type by using the --type option.


    The command fails if the VG does not have a sufficient number of free physical extents for the requested size and type.

  2. View the created logical volumes by using any one of the following commands as per your requirement:

    1. The lvs command provides logical volume information in a configurable form, displaying one line per logical volume:

      # lvs
        LV   VG   Attr         LSize   Pool Origin Data%  Meta%  Move Log Cpy%Sync Convert
       mylv myvg -wi-ao----   500.00m
    2. The lvdisplay command displays logical volume properties, such as size, layout, and mapping in a fixed format:

      # lvdisplay -v /dev/myvg/mylv
        --- Logical volume ---
        LV Path                /dev/myvg/mylv
        LV Name                mylv
        VG Name                myvg
        LV UUID                YTnAk6-kMlT-c4pG-HBFZ-Bx7t-ePMk-7YjhaM
        LV Write Access        read/write
    3. The lvscan command scans for all logical volumes in the system and lists them:

      # lvscan
       ACTIVE                   '/dev/myvg/mylv' [500.00 MiB] inherit
  3. Create a file system on the logical volume. The following command creates an xfs file system on the logical volume:

    # mkfs.xfs /dev/myvg/mylv
    meta-data=/dev/myvg/mylv       isize=512    agcount=4, agsize=32000 blks
             =                       sectsz=512   attr=2, projid32bit=1
             =                       crc=1        finobt=1, sparse=1, rmapbt=0
             =                       reflink=1
    data     =                       bsize=4096   blocks=128000, imaxpct=25
             =                       sunit=0      swidth=0 blks
    naming   =version 2              bsize=4096   ascii-ci=0, ftype=1
    log      =internal log           bsize=4096   blocks=1368, version=2
             =                       sectsz=512   sunit=0 blks, lazy-count=1
    realtime =none                   extsz=4096   blocks=0, rtextents=0
    Discarding blocks...Done.
  4. Mount the logical volume and report the file system disk space usage:

    # mount /dev/myvg/mylv /mnt
    # df -h
    Filesystem               1K-blocks  Used   Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/mapper/myvg-mylv   506528    29388  477140     6%   /mnt

Additional resources

  • lvcreate(8), lvdisplay(8), lvs(8), lvscan(8), lvm(8) and mkfs.xfs(8) man pages

5.4. Creating a RAID0 (striped) logical volume

A RAID0 logical volume spreads logical volume data across multiple data subvolumes in units of stripe size.

The format for the command to create a RAID0 volume is as follows.

lvcreate --type raid0[_meta] --stripes Stripes --stripesize StripeSize VolumeGroup [PhysicalVolumePath ...]

Table 5.1. RAID0 Command Creation parameters


--type raid0[_meta]

Specifying raid0 creates a RAID0 volume without metadata volumes. Specifying raid0_meta creates a RAID0 volume with metadata volumes. Because RAID0 is non-resilient, it does not have to store any mirrored data blocks as RAID1/10 or calculate and store any parity blocks as RAID4/5/6 do. Hence, it does not need metadata volumes to keep state about resynchronization progress of mirrored or parity blocks. Metadata volumes become mandatory on a conversion from RAID0 to RAID4/5/6/10, however, and specifying raid0_meta preallocates those metadata volumes to prevent a respective allocation failure.

--stripes Stripes

Specifies the number of devices to spread the logical volume across.

--stripesize StripeSize

Specifies the size of each stripe in kilobytes. This is the amount of data that is written to one device before moving to the next device.


Specifies the volume group to use.

PhysicalVolumePath …​

Specifies the devices to use. If this is not specified, LVM will choose the number of devices specified by the Stripes option, one for each stripe.

This example procedure creates an LVM RAID0 logical volume called mylv that stripes data across the disks at /dev/sda1, /dev/sdb1, and /dev/sdc1.

  1. Label the disks you will use in the volume group as LVM physical volumes with the pvcreate command.


    This command destroys any data on /dev/sda1, /dev/sdb1, and /dev/sdc1.

    # pvcreate /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdc1
      Physical volume "/dev/sda1" successfully created
      Physical volume "/dev/sdb1" successfully created
      Physical volume "/dev/sdc1" successfully created
  2. Create the volume group myvg. The following command creates the volume group myvg.

    # vgcreate myvg /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdc1
      Volume group "myvg" successfully created

    You can use the vgs command to display the attributes of the new volume group.

    # vgs
      VG   #PV #LV #SN Attr   VSize  VFree
      myvg   3   0   0 wz--n- 51.45G 51.45G
  3. Create a RAID0 logical volume from the volume group you have created. The following command creates the RAID0 volume mylv from the volume group myvg. This example creates a logical volume that is 2 gigabytes in size, with three stripes and a stripe size of 4 kilobytes.

    # lvcreate --type raid0 -L 2G --stripes 3 --stripesize 4 -n mylv myvg
      Rounding size 2.00 GiB (512 extents) up to stripe boundary size 2.00 GiB(513 extents).
      Logical volume "mylv" created.
  4. Create a file system on the RAID0 logical volume. The following command creates an ext4 file system on the logical volume.

    # mkfs.ext4 /dev/myvg/mylv
    mke2fs 1.44.3 (10-July-2018)
    Creating filesystem with 525312 4k blocks and 131376 inodes
    Filesystem UUID: 9d4c0704-6028-450a-8b0a-8875358c0511
    Superblock backups stored on blocks:
            32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912
    Allocating group tables: done
    Writing inode tables: done
    Creating journal (16384 blocks): done
    Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

    The following commands mount the logical volume and report the file system disk space usage.

    # mount /dev/myvg/mylv /mnt
    # df
    Filesystem             1K-blocks     Used  Available Use% Mounted on
    /dev/mapper/myvg-mylv    2002684     6168    1875072   1% /mnt

5.5. Renaming LVM logical volumes

This procedure describes how to rename an existing logical volume mylv to mylv1.


  1. If the logical volume is currently mounted, unmount the volume:

    # umount /mnt

    Replace /mnt with the mount point.

  2. If the logical volume exists in a clustered environment, deactivate the logical volume on all nodes where it is active. Use the following command on each such node:

    # lvchange --activate n myvg/mylv
  3. Rename an existing logical volume:

    # lvrename myvg mylv mylv1
    Logical volume "mylv" successfully renamed to "mylv1"

    You can also rename the logical volume by specifying the full paths to the devices:

    # lvrename /dev/myvg/mylv /dev/myvg/mylv1

Additional resources

  • lvrename(8) man page

5.6. Removing a disk from a logical volume

This procedure describes how to remove a disk from an existing logical volume, either to replace the disk or to use the disk as part of a different volume.

In order to remove a disk, you must first move the extents on the LVM physical volume to a different disk or set of disks.


  1. View the used and free space of physical volumes when using the LV:

    # pvs -o+pv_used
      PV          VG    Fmt    Attr   PSize      PFree     Used
     /dev/vdb1 myvg  lvm2   a--    1020.00m    0         1020.00m
     /dev/vdb2 myvg  lvm2   a--    1020.00m    0         1020.00m
     /dev/vdb3 myvg  lvm2   a--    1020.00m   1008.00m   12.00m
  2. Move the data to other physical volume:

    1. If there are enough free extents on the other physical volumes in the existing volume group, use the following command to move the data:

      # pvmove /dev/vdb3
        /dev/vdb3: Moved: 2.0%
        /dev/vdb3: Moved: 79.2%
        /dev/vdb3: Moved: 100.0%
    2. If there are no enough free extents on the other physical volumes in the existing volume group, use the following commands to add a new physical volume, extend the volume group using the newly created physical volume, and move the data to this physical volume:

      # pvcreate /dev/vdb4
        Physical volume "/dev/vdb4" successfully created
      # vgextend myvg /dev/vdb4
        Volume group "myvg" successfully extended
      # pvmove /dev/vdb3 /dev/vdb4
        /dev/vdb3: Moved: 33.33%
        /dev/vdb3: Moved: 100.00%
  3. Remove the physical volume:

    # vgreduce myvg /dev/vdb3
    Removed "/dev/vdb3" from volume group "myvg"

    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:

    # vgreduce --removemissing myvg

Additional resources

  • pvmove(8), vgextend(8), vereduce(8), and pvs(8) man pages

5.7. Removing LVM logical volumes

This procedure describes how to remove an existing logical volume /dev/myvg/mylv1 from the volume group myvg.


  1. If the logical volume is currently mounted, unmount the volume:

    # umount /mnt
  2. If the logical volume exists in a clustered environment, deactivate the logical volume on all nodes where it is active. Use the following command on each such node:

    # lvchange --activate n vg-name/lv-name
  3. Remove the logical volume using the lvremove utility:

    # lvremove /dev/myvg/mylv1
    Do you really want to remove active logical volume "mylv1"? [y/n]: y
    Logical volume "mylv1" successfully removed

    In this case, the logical volume has not been deactivated. If you explicitly deactivated the logical volume before removing it, you would not see the prompt verifying whether you want to remove an active logical volume.

Additional resources

  • lvremove(8) man page

5.8. Configuring persistent device numbers

Major and minor device numbers are allocated dynamically at module load. Some applications work best if the block device is always activated with the same device (major and minor) number. You can specify these with the lvcreate and the lvchange commands by using the following arguments:

--persistent y --major major --minor minor

Use a large minor number to be sure that it has not already been allocated to another device dynamically.

If you are exporting a file system using NFS, specifying the fsid parameter in the exports file may avoid the need to set a persistent device number within LVM.

5.9. Specifying LVM extent size

When physical volumes are used to create a volume group, its disk space is divided into 4MB extents, by default. This extent is the minimum amount by which the logical volume may be increased or decreased in size. Large numbers of extents will have no impact on I/O performance of the logical volume.

You can specify the extent size with the -s option to the vgcreate command if the default extent size is not suitable. You can put limits on the number of physical or logical volumes the volume group can have by using the -p and -l arguments of the vgcreate command.

5.10. Managing LVM logical volumes using RHEL System Roles

This section describes how to apply the storage role to perform the following tasks:

  • Create an LVM logical volume in a volume group consisting of multiple disks.
  • Create an ext4 file system with a given label on the logical volume.
  • Persistently mount the ext4 file system.


  • An Ansible playbook including the storage role

For information on how to apply an Ansible playbook, see Applying a role.

5.10.1. Example Ansible playbook to manage logical volumes

This section provides an example Ansible playbook. This playbook applies the Storage role to create an LVM logical volume in a volume group.

Example 5.1. A playbook that creates a mylv logical volume in the myvg volume group

- hosts: all
      - name: myvg
          - sda
          - sdb
          - sdc
          - name: mylv
            size: 2G
            fs_type: ext4
            mount_point: /mnt
  • The myvg volume group consists of the following disks:

    • /dev/sda
    • /dev/sdb
    • /dev/sdc
  • If the myvg volume group already exists, the playbook adds the logical volume to the volume group.
  • If the myvg volume group does not exist, the playbook creates it.
  • The playbook creates an Ext4 file system on the mylv logical volume, and persistently mounts the file system at /mnt.

Additional resources

  • The /usr/share/ansible/roles/ file.

5.10.2. Additional resources

5.11. Removing LVM volume groups

This procedure describes how to remove an existing volume group.



  1. If the volume group exists in a clustered environment, stop the lockspace of the volume group on all other nodes. Use the following command on all nodes except the node where you are performing the removing:

    # vgchange --lockstop vg-name

    Wait for the lock to stop.

  2. Remove the volume group:

    # vgremove vg-name
      Volume group "vg-name" successfully removed

Additional resources

  • vgremove(8) man page