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I'm planning on building a home file server with a few 2 TB drives and I wanted to use software RAID 5 under Linux (most likely ubuntu).

Before I start, I wanted to know how easy is it to expand a RAID 5 in case I wanted to add 1 or 2 more drives in the future. Do I have to start from scratch and migrate all my data off before hand or will it just restripe the data.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It is possible. For example. if you build software raid with mdadm, then you can add later new discs and extend the array. Check --grow flag in the mdadm manual. After that you can resize file system with resize2fs command. I also recommend to consider using LVM for more flexible management of disk space.

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