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I am vaguely familiar with a few COW/modern filesystem concepts, and am nowhere near an expert or even beyond neophyte status when it comes to btrfs. I've just installed Rockstor on a machine I intend to use for a household NAS so I have easy configuration at my behest; I've got 7 free disks total and I'm quite unsure as to how I should approach configuring pools to fit my desires, which are flexible at this point, so long as I have a reasonably reliable, maintainable and upgradable NAS. I'm starting with four 160 GB disks and three 500 GB disks. They're good and used and a couple of which seem to run a bit hot so I may be replacing drive/s in the near future, and as far as I'm concerned this should give me a good opportunity to learn how to deal with drive failure, as well as upgrades, from the get-go. I'd like to avoid data loss as best I can, but it will by no means be the end of the world if I end up losing data from this device because of a multiple drive failure - this is what backups are for.

That said, I have a few questions:

  • How can I configure my setup for maximum storage capacity while allowing for the failure and subsequent upgrade of any one drive at a time; one pool using all drives, two pools having drives of similar size or otherwise?
  • Which btrfs supported/stable RAID level(s) will be best for this?
  • What other things should I be mindful of, knowing I'll likely be replacing drives one at a time as they fail, and with larger drives?
  • What is your opinion at this stage; are my wants and desires asking for trouble or are they reasonable?

I'll also gladly read any good resources you can point me to which might help me make a more educated decision.

closed as primarily opinion-based by jasonwryan, Michael Homer, G-Man, slm Jun 26 '15 at 8:10

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    If you cut out the last question and paragraph this would probably be ok, but "what is your opinion on X" is a strong sign of an opinion-based question that doesn't work here. See the help center for more on that. – Michael Homer Jun 26 '15 at 7:49
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    @MichaelHomer Hmm sometimes I think moderators take stackexchange criteria a quite a bit too literally and don't logically analyze the question at hand. That is, they see words they classify as red flags and automatically formulate an unfairly biased stance on the type of answers a question will draw. That last question is not "chatty" or "open ended", it can have a very definite answer based on other peoples' real world and professional experience. Not only this, but having that last question does not make my question as a whole primarily opinion based. – jbowman Jun 26 '15 at 15:52
  • Furthermore this question has not even drawn any answers, and the reasoning behind not having questions based on opinion is to avoid unnecessary noise. Considering this, I don't think one little side question eliciting professional experience in the scope of a much more specific and very much not opinion based question is harmful to the site by drawing in noisy answers and discussion. – jbowman Jun 26 '15 at 15:57
  • @MichaelHomer Man, the more I peruse SO the more upset I get at this question being put on hold. Have a look at this question for an example of what a question that is truly subjective looks like; it is highly up-voted and has numerous answers. Apparently the SO moderators had egregiously overlooked this one. Every single one of the answers to that question is undeniably an opinion, whereas the crux of my question is in want of a single explicit and very decidedly objective answer. – jbowman Jun 26 '15 at 20:08

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