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At our university we have a Windows FTP server that was implemented with software RAID-5 technology, but we decided to migrate to Linux. How can we mount and modify it under Linux?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

In case of a software raid setup on Windows this is probably a fake-raid. You should install the package dmraid which will handle access to such raid-5 systems.

  • Do make a backup of your data before you start.
  • You can try out dmraid by booting from CD and installing it, without any need to change the Windows setup.
  • dmraid probably only works on the hardware the Windows FTP server was running on (or something similar) as it relies on the raid-support-features of the hardware.
  • do not remove/overwrite the windows setup until you have confirmed access to the drives from Linux

The hardware support for fake-raid seems to bring very little performance wise and ties you to the hardware. Since you will be making a backup anyway, you might as well consider setting up a new Linux based software raid-5 using mdadm on those disks and restore the backup on that. An mdadm setup would allow you to move the discs to some different hardware for sure.

Whether that is possible for you depends on how the disks are connected and if you keep them connected to the same motherboard. In order to use all 6 of the motherboard's SATA connections on my server at home, I had to switch of the hardware support for raid, for those connections that supported it, in the BIOS.

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