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I'm thinking about setting up a NAS based on Ubuntu server, but before I invest the money, I want to make sure what I want to do is possible.

What I'm thinking is a 4x2TB Raid 10, so my usable storage will be 4TB. I'll have a separate 2.5 inch drive that Ubuntu will boot from, and I'm going to use software raid.

I also want the volume to be usable as a samba share to windows machines on my network.

Will Ubuntu have any problems with this? I've heard of the 2TB limit, but it seems Ubuntu is unaffected by this. I just want to make sure. Is there a limit to the size of a volume?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Every filesystem has limits, and ext2/ext3 were limited to 2 TiB, but ext4 has a much higher limit (that you won't reach anytime soon). So, use ext4 and you should be safe...

For NFS shares I think it depends on the NFS daemon/version you use (check the manuals first) and some certainly have a filesize limit. For Samba it shouldn't be a problem, except with older versions of Windows maybe?

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What about samba and NFS shares? Will I have any problems sharing a volume that size with Windows machines? – Andrew Oct 12 '10 at 15:18
I added some info about NFS & Samba. – JanC Oct 13 '10 at 6:03
Great. Thanks for the info. – Andrew Oct 19 '10 at 3:50

All this sounds like it should work fine.

You can use Software RAID to create the Raid 10 partition if your hardware doesn't do Hardware RAID.

The only issue that you might face is that /boot can only exist within a Software RAID 1, so if you are using Software RIAD you may well need to create a seperate /boot partition outside of the RAID. If you are using hardware obviously this is redundant.

The size limits for partitions are imposed by the filesystem itself and if you are using ext4 (the default for Ubuntu) the size limit ofr partitions is 1 Exbibyte so you should be fine ;)

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I'll be booting Ubuntu from a drive outside the RAID anyway, so that shouldn't be a problem. I still don't know if this will work for Windows. i.e. if I shared the entire 4TB volume via samba and NFS, would Windows and other Linux boxes handle it ok? I don't plan on doing this, but I need to know if I can share a volume that size across the network. – Andrew Oct 12 '10 at 15:17
I don't beleive there are any such restictions as to what size drives you can share via Samba across the network as Samba merely provides access to the drives and advertises their availability to the network. A cursory glance at the Samba Wiki does not show any such restictions either. – kemra102 Oct 13 '10 at 7:59
Thanks for the info. It helped. – Andrew Oct 19 '10 at 3:52

You may have some driver - issues, but I've found my way around them. I figured I'd be ok purchasing an EVGA motherboard -- still had issues with the ICH10R. But I've found that this community is very helpful in troubleshooting issues if & when they arise.

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I'm going to use software raid, so drivers shouldn't be a problem, correct? – Andrew Oct 12 '10 at 20:19
I don't think so, but again, if you encounter anything: problems, questions, etc. Feel free to ask here. – M. Tibbits Oct 12 '10 at 20:51

I did almost the same setup recently, but I used 2 RAID1 mirror sets which I joined in 1 LVM volume, that makes it easy to add more disks to the LVM volume later, I don't know how easy this would be with RAID10. But this solution works fine for me.

Comment regarding RAID10 vs RAID1+LVM are welcome.

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I'm building my NAS in a very small form-factor case, so adding drives to the array won't be a possibility or concern until I'll probably want to build another machine anyway. I'll be using the XFS file system, so filesystem snapshots aren't a concern either. For my particular setup, LVM adds extra complexity with no benefit, so I won't be using it. Thanks for the idea though. – Andrew Jan 19 '11 at 17:43

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