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I would like to install ubuntu server on a usb drive and then boot from that usb drive. I want to create a software raid 5 array out of the 3 x 2TB hard drives in my computer which I will use for my data. I will use XFS on that raid array.

I will dd my usb key so i can create a clone it the original dies. However, what happens if I want to create a whole new install of Ubuntu server instead, perhaps located on a 4th hard drive instead of on a USB key. Will this new install of Ubuntu be able to use the software raid 5 array and XFS file system that was created by my initial install?

As a secondary and not as important question, if I decided to make my OS openmediavault instead, which is based on debian, will I still be able to use the data on my 3 x 2TB drives?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes to both questions. You'll need to activate the md on the fresh install, but that's easy: sudo mdadm --assemble --scan. Then you'll be able to mount the filesystems as usual. You may need to install the mdadm package. It should work on any GNU/Linux system.

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