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I have several old hard disks laying around the house, and I want to make a spanned volume (some may call it JBOD, but there is a dispute about it) out of them. If one of the disks fails, will I be able to at least recover data from the healthy ones? If so, will I retain some sort of directory structure?

I'm targeting Linux + LVM as I write, but I'm opened to other spanned volume implementations. RAID is out of the way, because my disks have different sizes and speeds.

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I'd use LVM.....you can put together several physical volumes together as one whole disk....and then subdivide this out into smaller logical units called logical volumes. I believe that LVM2 offers mirroring allowing a level of protection of the LVs.

As for recovery, if you are in this type of situation, you'll be able to recover information depending on how you establish your logical volumes, mirrors and disk configuration.

However, recovery from any type of disk failure is greatly enhanced using consistent backups instead of relying on a software configuration to get you out of the mess.

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  • I'm not talking about full data recovery. I'm just interested in partial data recovery: if 1 disk out of 4 fails, I'd like to recover what's left on the other 3.
    – agdev84
    Jun 14, 2014 at 10:37
  • To go give you some context: I already have a primary storage for my very important data, as well as a backup plan for it. I just want to use these old hard disks to store unimportant but massive data, like downloaded movies or such. If I loose 25% of this data, who cares! I'll download it again! But if I loose it all, it becomes quite annoying...
    – agdev84
    Jun 14, 2014 at 10:43

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