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8. Related tools

While not described in this HOWTO, some useful tools for Software-RAID systems have been developed.

8.1 A raidtools supplement or replacement: mdadm

The mdadm tool, written by Neil Brown, is available from This is an extremely useful tool for running RAID systems - it can be used as a replacement for the raidtools, or as a supplement.

8.2 RAID resizing and conversion

It is not easy to add another disk to an existing array. A tool to allow for just this operation has been developed, and is available from The tool will allow for conversion between RAID levels, for example converting a two-disk RAID-1 array into a four-disk RAID-5 array. It will also allow for chunk-size conversion, and simple disk adding.

Please note that this tool is not really "production ready". It seems to have worked well so far, but it is a rather time-consuming process that, if it fails, will absolutely guarantee that your data will be irrecoverably scattered over your disks. You absolutely must keep good backups prior to experimenting with this tool.

8.3 Backup

Remember, RAID is no substitute for good backups. No amount of redundancy in your RAID configuration is going to let you recover week or month old data, nor will a RAID survive fires, earthquakes, or other disasters.

It is imperative that you protect your data, not just with RAID, but with regular good backups. One excellent system for such backups, is the Amanda backup system.

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