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Old 07-10-2006, 08:19 AM   #1
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Some advice with software raid on an old server?


We have an old server, which was set up by someone that is not available any longer. It's basically a Debian Woody server, that has (mostly) been upgraded to Sarge, but the kernel and hardware has not been upgraded. It runs linux kernel 2.4.22, and it seems the kernel was compiled and installed the debian way - using make-kpkg.

Last week there was a hardware failure- a hard disk crashed, and we got the server up by removing the faulty harddisk. Thank God (and the Linux developers) for Raid!

There were two harddisks on it: hda and hdb. hda crashed, and has now been replaced by a new disk.

So now I want to make it use the new disk for the Raid, and here's the problem.

I've set up Raid before, either using the installer or using mdadm. However this old system has no mdadm.

So the question now is, do I try to upgrade the kernel and stuff so I can use the mdadm command, or should I find out how to add a disk to the existing Raid the old fashioned way?

I've read the Software Raid howto at but it refers to mdadm a lot, which is not available.

Looking for debian packages installed, I found a package called "raidtools2". And there seems to be a command "raidhotadd". So if I partition the new drive to have partitions just like the old drive, and run the command "raidhotadd --all", will it add the new disk to the Raid? How can I be sure it doesn't overwrite the old working disk with the contents of the new one?

If someone knows of a HOWTO on Raid from before mdadm, please post.

Best regards
Old 07-10-2006, 12:56 PM   #2
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I've read the Software Raid howto at but it refers to mdadm a lot, which is not available.
But did you read the HowTo section “6.3 Simulating a drive failure / Force-fail by software”:

...So the trip ends when we send /dev/sdc2 back home.

raidhotadd /dev/md1 /dev/sdc2
Raidtools isn’t my bag either, but the instruction look fairly straightforward for adding back partitions/drives to a raidtools-based software raid.

Partition the new drive to size match and partition-type match the functioning drive and try the commands as described in the HowTo.

Last edited by WhatsHisName; 07-10-2006 at 12:58 PM.
Old 07-11-2006, 04:38 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot - and no - I didn't read that section. The man page for raidhotadd was a bit sparse, this example was better.

It seems fairly straighforward, and I think I'll give it a go. But I think I want another full backup first.


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