I've been pondering for a long time about how I can set up a server which operates much like the Drobo storage thing. The reasons I don't actually want a drobo is because I've heard scare stories, plus I'd like to do this on the cheap.

So ideally I'm looking for something like lvm so I can create a logical volume that spans many hard disks of varying sizes... obviously that only offers redundancy if I put the LV on a raid array (as far as I know..) I have however been reading about technologies such as Microsoft's drive extender which duplicates files at the filesystem level and makes sure that the mirrored files are on a different phyiscal disk.. does anyone know or recommend a filesystem or method like this as it'll hopefully make much better use of the space available than raid ever could.

Performance isn't an issue, I'd just really like to make the most of the hard disks I have lying around whilst having a bit of redundancy incase a disk dies. I understand full well that this is no replacement for a backup, but I'll only be storing files of medium importance and using the nas itself as a backup of my main pc and other systems.

Thanks in advance! I'm hoping zfs or btrfs or something can do something clever for me :)

  • 9 years later.. surely there's an OSS solution out now? :)
    – John Hunt
    Jan 13, 2020 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


Problem is that ZFS doesn't allow for removing drives from the pool, you can only add devices.

If you want true Drobo-like experience (on any OS) you will have to wait for btrfs reaching mature status or at least RAID5/6 functionality (which is scheduled for 2.6.37).

  • Thanks, I did check out opensolaris and freenas and stuff.. I don't think I really want a non-linux solution as I have a bunch of other requirements. Good to know anyway.. I'll probably just run a soft raid 5 + lvm for now I think.
    – John Hunt
    Dec 23, 2010 at 22:02
  • remember to configure smart monitoring on the disk level and data scrubbing on the RAID level Jan 9, 2011 at 19:15

Linux + ZFS isn't quite production quality yet. Only Solaris really is. But you can check out illumos and FreeBSD.

  • Thanks, perhaps I should just chuck freebsd on there! Didn't even consider that.
    – John Hunt
    Dec 23, 2010 at 9:22

How about following method I wrote: http://nakanoteblog.blog136.fc2.com/blog-entry-3.html

This is the way

  • creating same size partitions from hard disks of varying sizes
  • building RAID devices with partitions
  • concatenating RAID devices with LVM as a logical volume
  • It isn't quick or easy, but it works :)
    – John Hunt
    Mar 9, 2011 at 0:01

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