I would like to set up a server at home that will have several roles, but the primary and most critical role would be a file server. It will host family photos and videos among other things that I do not want to lose under any circumstances. I've read about RAID and understand it's purpose, but I have never set up RAID before. The main reason I am interested in a RAID setup is for protecting and recovering the data, not necessarily speed (but that's a nice plus).
The system I would like to buy is a small microserver that has 4 hard drive slots. It comes with a 250GB drive installed. My thought was to use that drive to host the OS and a few programs, and buy 3 1TB drives to put in the other 3 slots. RAID 5 makes the most sense for what I am thinking. Unless I'm mistaken, that would let me store up to 2 TB of data and allow me to recover it if one hard drive dies. To avoid having to buy more hardware, I was planning on setting up software RAID.
Here is my question: what if the OS drive dies? Once I replace it, can I configure the fresh install of the OS to use the RAID drives or does my data become inaccessible?