Implementing quotas to restrict disk space usage

By Shashank Sharma

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If you manage a system that’s accessed by multiple users, you might have a user who hogs the disk space. Using disk quotas you can limit the amount of space available to each user. It’s fairly easy to set up quotas, and once you are done you will be able to control the number of inodes and blocks owned by any user or group.

Control over the disk blocks means that you can specify exactly how many bytes of disk space are available to a user or group. Since inodes store information about files, by limiting the number of inodes, you can limit the number of files users can create.

When working with quotas, you can set a soft limit or a hard limit, or both, on the number of blocks or inodes users can use. The hard limit defines the absolute maximum disk space available to a user. When this value is reached, the user can’t use any more space. The soft limit is more lenient, in that the user is only warned when he exceeds the limit. He can still create new files and use more space, as long as you set a grace period, which is a length of time for which the user is allowed to exceed the soft limit.



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