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I am trying to setup a personal media server. I am thinking of working with RAID 5 or 10 ( I haven't decided yet). So my questions are

  1. What would be a recommended RAID setup? I don't need anything fancy as long as I can recover lost data if any of the HDDs fail.
  2. Do I have to setup the RAID at once? What I mean by that is, if I plan on setting up my final RAID setup of 5x 4TB RAID 5 (giving me 15 TB to use and 5 TB for parity) do I have to get all 5 HDDs at once and set them up at first boot or I can add them as time goes? (I think I will have to get 2x4TB to get things started).

Any answers will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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Sorry, you need RAID 10 - RAID5 will not work reliably for the volume of data you are trying to store - ie the risk of the second disk failing while a failed disk rebuilding is very high - and RAID5 is not recommended for this size disk.

As to whether you have to set up your RAID at once - that cant be answered definitively without information about your specific RAID hardware and software, but some controllers and only some software RAID setups will allow you to do this. Its thus a good idea to set the whole thing up initially.

If you are using Linux and software RAID, you might want to look at using a RAID1 2 disk setup and LVM. You can then purchase another 2 disks, create a second RAID1 array and use LVM to merge the 2 RAID disks into a single large disk.

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