Hear me out

I have seen the question asked (in different forms) here, here, and perhaps the best one I found was here, but I do not think this is a duplicate because quite some time has past since those questions were asked, and my question has its own nuances that may help others in similar situations. Please hear me out.


My question comes from there being many great distributed filesystems that advertise that they are amazing, but I suspect not all of them are what I need.

I have looked at this awesome list for suggestions on what is available and am not sure which one fits my needs.

Use case

The purpose for this server is to keep my data safe and available for general use. I will be using it to store my personal backups, and data stored and used by Nextcloud, Gogs, and anything else I self-host in the future.

What I am looking for

I am looking for a distributed filesystem that:

  • protects against bit rot
  • has erasure coding (or at least data duplication so drive failure doesn't disrupt usage)
  • ability to scale
    • from 1 server to more later
    • from 2 HDDs to more later
  • can connect via fuse

Powerful API and ease of use are big plusses.

My current hardware

This may not be important, but it may help with tips on implementation.

I currently have a Raspberry Pi, one 2 TB HDD and one 4 TB HDD. I plan to add one more 2 TB HDD in the near future, and more servers with many more HDDs in the far future (money is tight right now; am poor college student).

My currently proposed solution

I have researched this a lot, and I get this is a little over my head, but here's what I've got so far:

I'm thinking that Ceph is currently my best bet when it comes to flexibility and it seems stable.

My plan would be to to put BTRFS on the drives to handle bit rot, and then run Ceph as a single node cluster for later expansion.

Questions about how this would work

Some specific questions I have about my proposed setup:

  1. I know that BTRFS can have bit rot protection, but is that by default? What do I need for it to be enabled?
  2. I know that the inconsistency in drive size can be a problem (one 2 TB, one 4 TB), but will it work until I get another 2 TB drive?


I really appreciate you reading this far :)


In the last few months I think I've discovered enough to answer this question.

First, the Raspberry Pi only lasted so long, eventually I upgraded to a real computer with great specs. I decided that I only had two options for what I needed, BTRFS and Ceph.


This is the best option for a single node with multiple disks. Upgrading to Ceph later for it's distributed capabilities is not too hard, and getting BTRFS working is very easy.

Some reasons that it's great:

  • Automatic protection from silent bitrot. If there is a checksum error it will throw an error.
  • Automatic bitrot healing in Raid 1. It will detect the error, and overwrite any erroneos data with correct data from another disk in the raid 1 array.
  • Handling BTRFS live is very easy. The command line utils are great.
  • Can handle different sized disks, but sometimes results in unused space.


  • Can distribute amongst nodes.
  • Also has bitrot protection with it's BlueStore.
  • Can take a lot of ram and processing power compared to others. Probably because of the great feature set.

What I decided to do

Since I still only have a single node, I have a BTRFS raid 1 array with one 2 TB SSD and two 1 TB SSDs. This is working great, and adding the 2 TB SSD later was easy.

I plan to switch to Ceph once I have more servers and it makes more sense to. Moving the data shouldn't be too hard then. The only issue is having enough available storage to move it from one place to another.

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