I'm planning a NAS/home media server build, probably with a HP Proliant Microserver. It will probably have two HDDs in RAID 1, while the OS while run from a USB drive.

Question is: once I've set up the RAID drives, can I swap the OS for something completely different and expect it to keep working? Let's say swapping between FreeNAS, Ubuntu, Fedora, XPEnology...


In light of the two responses so far, I think my question should probably have been:

What is a good choice of software RAID to ensure maximum compatibility across distributions?

  • I think the microServer comes with a hardware RAID controller, so probably proprietary RAID management. – tonioc Dec 9 '14 at 16:55
  • Would all distros know how to talk to the hardware RAID? (Sorry if dumb question...) – Steve Bennett Dec 10 '14 at 3:54
  • For sure, all recent distros have support for it. I've been using redhat 4, 5, 6 on proliant servers. – tonioc Dec 11 '14 at 8:51

There are several ways to create a SoftRAID with Linux: LVM's internal RAID and four versions of MD RAID (mdadm): 0.90, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2.

Every non-ancient Linux should understand them all. There should not be any problem with a distro change.


In addition to LVM internal RAID and mdadm RAID that Hauke mentioned Btrfs and ZFS have RAID support built-in.

Btrfs has RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-10 and staring with Linux 3.9 RAID-5 and RAID-6. Those are in compatible with other Btrfs version with at least the same version.

ZFS has RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-10, RAID-5, RAID-6, RAID-0 under different names, as well as a RAIDZ3 which has three parity entries (where RAID-5 has one and RAID-6 has two).

Both these filesystem specific RAIDs are incompatible with each other and the other RAID capability "providers" (LVM/mdadm).

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