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Old 02-02-2007, 11:47 PM   #1
robbe751
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Registered: Feb 2007
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Weird behaviour of mdadm/software RAID5


Hi,

I have a setup like the following:
-3xSATA Seagate 400GB (same drives) on an ASUS M2NPV-VM
-/dev/sd[a|b|c] are members of the RAID5 /dev/md0

The status of /dev/md0 is clean, persistent sb etc.

Now I noticed that /dev/sda has no partition on it. /dev/sdb and sdc have an 'fd' autodetect partition on them. This is weird already.
So I go ahead and remove sda from the array, zero the superblocks and for good measure do a

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda count=1M

Now I partition sda properly with sda1 as 'fd' autodetect. When I now

sudo mdadm /dev/md0 --add /dev/sda1

I only get

mdadm: add new device failed for /dev/sda1 as 3: Invalid argument

The funny thing is, when I --add /dev/sda instead, it works and starts rebuilding the array. Why do I have to add the whole disk, rather than the partition? This doesn't make sense to me.

Any hints or directions?

-Jan.
 
Old 02-02-2007, 11:57 PM   #2
jonwatson
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Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada!
Distribution: Ubuntu
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That sounds somwehat logical to me. When you set up a RAID5 with 3 disks, you lose a disk as the RAID uses it for...well...the mirror and other RAIDey stuff. It's not a user-accessible partitioned drive much like a swap partition isn't a user-accessible partition.

Check out a RAID calculator for fun and games:

http://www.google.ca/search?q=raid+c...ient=firefox-a

Last edited by jonwatson; 02-02-2007 at 11:59 PM.
 
Old 02-03-2007, 01:55 AM   #3
Electro
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Registered: Jan 2002
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Post your /etc/mdadm.conf and the steps that you did to create the array.

From the mdadm manual, it stated it will create a spare when creating a RAID-5 array, so technically you need four hard drives for RAID-5. You can get around this by specifying the option --force. I agree this way as the minimum quantity of drives for RAID-5 setups because it provides redundancy after the array is created using three hard drives and including a hot spare.

To make software RAID-5 be reliable, I recommend four separate IDE/SATA controllers. This will be more reliable when a controller fails. However, when considering using RAID-5, I strongly recommend hardware RAID controllers because software RAID doing RAID-5 transactions will penalize your computer if you are not using a system with multiple processors.
 
  


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