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I have 3 3TB drives, and have raid5ed them together. I would expect to get a resulting device around 6TB. The command I used:

mdadm --create md0 --level=5 --raid-devices=3 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdc1

Also of note:

# fdisk -l | grep 'Disk /dev/sd'
Disk /dev/md0 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/mapper/root doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/mapper/swap_1 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/sda: 3000.6 GB, 3000592982016 bytes
Disk /dev/sdb: 3000.6 GB, 3000592982016 bytes
Disk /dev/sdc: 3000.6 GB, 3000592982016 bytes
Disk /dev/sdd: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Wed Jul 10 17:11:04 2013
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 4294702080 (4095.75 GiB 4397.77 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 2147351040 (2047.87 GiB 2198.89 GB)
   Raid Devices : 3
  Total Devices : 3
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Thu Jul 11 14:51:17 2013
          State : clean 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 3
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : ...
           UUID : 6331582a:92950387:4e4e7314:8bccf9cb
         Events : 66195

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8        1        0      active sync   /dev/sda1
       1       8       17        1      active sync   /dev/sdb1
       3       8       33        2      active sync   /dev/sdc1

Let me know if more information would be helpful.

share|improve this question
You did not use the command you say you did. If you had, the examine output would show the same ( sd[abc] ) rather than sd[abc]1. – psusi Jul 11 '13 at 20:33
You are absolutely correct (and see mine answer below). Good catch!! – Limited Atonement Jul 12 '13 at 13:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

How did you partition the disks the first time? If you used fdisk, you may have limited yourself to just the first 2 TB of each disk, as that's the maximum partition size you can create with fdisk. As such, your raid device probably looks more like a RAID5 of 3 * 2TB disks.

Use parted to create your larger than 2TB partition.


[root@evil home]# parted /dev/sda -- mklabel GPT yes unit TB mkpart primary ext2 0 -1
Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sda will be destroyed and all data on this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.                           

[root@evil home]#

Do this for each of your drives, then recreate your RAID5 device and see if that allows you to use the rest of your drives.

You can use parted /dev/sda -- print to view the partition table once you've reset it per the above command line.

share|improve this answer
I bet this would work and I bet you're right. I figured out a much easier way, though. I guess in stead of putting it here, I'll answer my own question. – Limited Atonement Jul 12 '13 at 13:03

There's no need to format the disks beforehand; mdadm can handle this for you!

# mdadm --create md0 --level=5 --raid-devices=3 /dev/sda /dev/sdb /dev/sdc

And this should be done before any partitioning.

share|improve this answer
Why the downvote? I'm happy to receive criticism. If you're willing to take a reputation hit, at least get what you paid for! – Limited Atonement Jul 15 '13 at 13:34

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