Linux can generally have two types of Disks. IDE and SCSI.
By convention, IDE drives will be given device names /dev/hda to /dev/hdd. Hard Drive A (/dev/hda) is the first drive and Hard Drive C (/dev/hdc) is the third.
A typical PC has two IDE controllers, each of which can have two drives connected to it. For example, /dev/hda is the first drive (master) on the first IDE controller and /dev/hdd is the second (slave) drive on the second controller (the fourth IDE drive in the computer).
Maximum usable partitions 63 for IDE disks.
SCSI drives follow a similar pattern; They are represented by ‘sd’ instead of ‘hd’. The first partition of the second SCSI drive would therefore be /dev/sdb1.
Maximum usable partitions 15 for SCSI disks.
A partition is labeled to host a certain kind of file system (not to be confused with a volume label). Such a file system could be the linux standard ext2 file system or linux swap space, or even foreign file systems like (Microsoft) NTFS or (Sun) UFS. There is a numerical code associated with each partition type. For example, the code for ext2 is 0x83 and linux swap is 0x82.
To see a list of partition types and their codes, execute /sbin/sfdisk -T