I'm currently renting a dedicated server which I thought was configured as it was giving me the full 3TB hard drive space I requested. While wiping the server and starting new due to an issue I realized that there four (4) identical Segate SATA 3TB hard drives in the server, which 3 are not formatted and not able to configure in my host's server control panel (Leaseweb).

So what I would like to do is configure the server to use a software RAID 10 with the four drives. The problem is that unlike installing Ubuntu in a normal system the server control panel performs the install without asking any questions other than what OS to select and how to partition (only the first drive is shown). I already have the system up and running on the first drive while the other three are unformatted.

This is the current partition table on the first drive

Model: ATA ST3000DM001-1CH1 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 3001GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name  Flags
 1      1049kB  2097kB  1049kB                        bios_grub
 2      2097kB  502MB   500MB   ext2                  boot
 3      502MB   4598MB  4096MB  linux-swap(v1)
 4      4598MB  6646MB  2048MB  ext4
 5      6646MB  3001GB  2994GB  ext4

/dev/sda4 = /tmp & /dev/sda5 = / (root).

So how can I use all four of these drives in a RAID 10?


One approach in this kind of situation is to perform a two-part install

  1. Install a minimal system on /dev/sda1. Include the RAID and LVM tools but as little as possible of everything else.
  2. Create a suitably sized partition on all of the remaining three disks for / (root). I'd suggest 50GB if you've got space to spare.
  3. Use the RAID tools to create a partially failed RAID1 partition on four devices including /dev/sdb1, /dev/sdc1, /dev/sdd1`.
  4. Create a filesystem for / on the new RAID partition and mount it
  5. Copy your entire minimal system from / to the new filesystem
  6. Using chroot get into the new filesystem and run grub-install four times, once for each of the four disks
  7. Boot and select one of the three disks rather than /dev/sda
  8. Once you're happy that you really are running on the RAID system, erase /dev/sda, create its 50GB partition, and add it to the RAID
  9. Reboot again

At this point you can create a large partition of the remainder of each disk, RAID10 it, and use it however you like. I'd recommend layering LVM on top and using that to create your /home, etc. before installing the remainder of whatever you need for your OS.

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