RAID 1 is a hard disk configuration where the contents from one hard disk are mirrored onto another. This provides the user with some redundancy in case a disk fails. On your Linux system, the two hard drives are represented as a single file system. But in the background, making changes to your files is actually writing the changes to two disks at the same time. You can also add more than two disks to the configuration, as long as you keep the number even. Otherwise, something like RAID 5 will be more suitable.
There are many ways to configure a RAID setup. One of the easiest and most accessible ways is through the mdadm software package, which can be installed and used on any major Linux distribution. This is easier than some other RAID setups, since it doesn’t require any special hardware (like a RAID controller) and isn’t that hard to configure.
In this guide, we’ll go through the step by step instructions to install and setup mdadm on Linux, and create a RAID 1 configuration for two hard disks. Our example scenario will consist of two empty hard disks that are each 10 GB in size. This is in addition to our main hard disk, which is just used for the operating system.
Strictly speaking, RAID 1 is not a proper backup solution. It does provide some protection from disk failure, but what if you accidentally delete a file or a virus corrupts multiple files? Those undesirable changes are instantly written to both disks. RAID 1 provides high availability, but you shouldn’t use it as your only backup solution.
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How to install mdadm on major Linux distros
- How to partition hard disks for RAID setup
- How to create a new RAID device in mdadm and mount it
- How to keep the RAID array mount persistent