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hello all,

i was curious as to if anyone knows of a good software to use that allows on the fly expandability while allowing for data redundancy.

i am IT for a small business who is outgrowing their current 500 GB limit on a raid 5 setup using freenas

unfortunately freenas does not allow the addition of drives to a raid on the fly. you have to back up the data and rebuild the raid, which sort of defeats the purpose of the NAS.

i am looking at using ZFS as my file system for the new raid, and as far as i know if i wanted to add storage, i would have to make identical virtual drives and then add them to the pool, so lets say i had 3 1 TB drives in a raidZ, and i wanted to expand that storage, i would have to add a 2nd 3 1TB drive raid and then add it to the pool.

is there any good NAS software out there that will just let me add a drive to a raid and be done with it?

thanks in advance!

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According to the website OpenFile, has support to Scalability


Edit: I just read a Microsoft Article that, clearly stated that, if you plan to increase the storage capacity in your array you cannot simply, add a hard drive and expand the capacity, you will need to rebuild the entire array.


Edited by Infiltrator
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Maybe im wrong, but I don't think any raid allows you to just add drives on the fly without having to rebuild the array anyway. Thats not to say you can't increase your drives, but I think you still have to rebuild the array to do so. Might need to just back it all up, or even better, build a new array with larger drives anyway. 500gb is small even for 1 HDD these days let alone a raid. I have 1.5TB in my desktop between 3 500GB drives(non raid setup). You can get 2TB drives for like $180-200 these days.

Edited by digip
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md does allow one to add drives to a RAID without taking the server or the file system offline, however, if you wish to expand the current file system you do need to backup all the data and expand the fs, this does require you to take the fs offline. You can also increase the amount of space Drobo style (take a disk out, replace with larger disk, wait for RAID to rebuild) but you still need to resize the RAID and take the fs offline for a bit.

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Under Windows expanding RAID arrays and changing the RAID level is largely down to the RAID controller used, be it software or hardware. You just need to replace all the disks in the array with larger ones. Expanding the partition is easy under Vista/2008 or higher, and is done via the storage management mmc.

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I would like some input from Darkmist! I mean what is said stands true, I just want to know if you mean physical disks, or expanding a partition.

I think either way your answer has been given, I just want to know what you really meant and if the problem has been solved. I know so little about this subjet (beyond the RAID types) I would like to know,


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thanks for the great replies

so essentially i want to expand the storage one drive at a time. im perfecly fine with 1 TB HDD. they are cheap now and if i bought like 10 it would be nice to know that i can just add the drive to the raid and have that expanded storage.

so for example. 3 1 TB drives in a raid 5, offers about 1.8 TB storage. i just want to be able to add the drive to the raid, click rebuild, and have that extra space added, turning it into a 4 1TB drive raid 5 without having data lost or having to backup the raid array

how does the drobo expand on the fly, if they can do it we should be able to as well

edit (to add stuff)

to spardas comment, what is md. did you mean microsoft? and also does rebuilding the array destroy the data? i am just frustrated because i have 4 hot swap racks that i have the 3 HDD mounted into and i would like to use the 4th bay, but if i have to backup 1.5 TB of data to expand my raid, i may as well just build a 2nd raid and Xfer the data over.

thanks for the link to openfiler, ill give it a shot and see how it performs!

im just suprised that expandibility is not built into RAID

Edited by Darkmist!
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  • 1 month later...

I would also say LimeTech's software: http://www.lime-technology.com/ Its drobo'esk in that it will let you put in drives of all sizes. But the Pariity Drive has to be the same size or larger then the other disks your are going to add. (Edit for clarity: If the largest drive your going to use in the unit is 2TB then the Parity disk has to be equal to or greater then 2TB, some people thought I meant it had to be as big as the total storage which is not the case)

Which is pretty cool though because the software will let you upgrade the parity drive if the time ever arrises.

It will also allow you to pull drives on the fly and upgrade them to bigger drives and it will put the data back on them.

Just like a drobo.

The downsides is the free version only allows for 3 disks and, it does not support ZFS.

But you pay for the upgrade and the only complaints i've seen on it is people complaining they don't have enough room for more Hard drives in there machine.

The upgraded version allows also for extra parity disks and Cache setup as well.

I've used it myself and am pretty happy with it.

Edited by MoDeM_FoX
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  • 2 weeks later...

Strange. Basically there appears to be a vital storage server on the network, and you want to mess with the hardware WITHOUT making a backup first...? Are you sure you're making the right descision, Dave?

The commands to resize a software RAID array on Linux are described here. The 'md' mentioned before is the name of the toolsed that this howto explains. Unless you really, really, REALLY need the performance, go with software raid. Most processors will have no problems keeping up with the load and you won't have to worry about a piece of kit going bust and not being able to replace it.

Good luck!

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