I tend to run Debian-based distros. My main desktop is running a new Asus server board (Tons of SATA ports) in a Cosmos II case (Tons of drive bays). I already have 4 extra drives in my computer and I have 6 drives of various sizes and speeds laying around unused. They're all varied in size (250GB, 500GB, 320GB, 1TB, 2TB, etc.), speed (SSD, 5400RPM, 7200 RPM, etc.) and manufacturer (Hitachi, WD, Seagate, Intel).

Obviously I can't RAID these. I don't think I have two of the same drive in any of them. So the wheels got spinning in my head and I remembered back when I used to use Windows you could have a filesystem span multiple drives via spanned disks so I searched for such a thing in Linux. I found things such as:

There are also zfs,LVM, etc. but I don't think those would be so good for this. The question is: What's the best way to combine these all into one accessible space without sacrificing space or performance of any single drive while possibly having encryption?

The usual concern of a drive failing isn't a concern of mine. My encrypted cloud backup is constantly uploading any changes to my files and keeping historic versions of them. The desired features:

  • Pooling so all can be accessed via one virtual partition.
  • No speed or space sacrifice as in RAID.
  • Fastest read/write of all options.
  • Maintained project.
  • Encryption (Would be nice).

Out of the methods listed, I think the preferred would be mergerfs (I'm not certain yet) and I'm sure there are some options I've not come across yet. I haven't looked into encryption yet but I like to keep all my drives encrypted at all times. I THINK I can encrypt drives using LUKS or Veracrypt and then use mergefs on them. That might be a bit annoying with Veracrypt as there's no reliable way to have them auto-mounted on Linux.

  • Can't say what's the fastest read/write of all options, probably only testing it yourself will tell since you have such a mix of drives to use. Look into BtrFS as well. It works with LUKS without needing to use other layers in the stack. The size and speed diversity might cause performance hits, but otherwise it looks like a good option for you. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 12 '17 at 18:11

Ceph might be worth looking into for you, specifically for the ability to merge multiple different drives together. The learning curve is fairly large, but ceph is extremely flexible and also mature from what I see.

It does have encryption via the dmcrypt flag when adding osd's, and if in the future you change your mind about how important data loss may be then ceph allows redundancy on an object level instead of drive level.

Ceph using at home

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