How to Increase Existing Software Raid 5 Storage Capacity In Linux

In this article we are going to learn how to increase existing software raid 5 Storage capacity. Now the question is why we need to increase the Software RAID 5 storage capacity and what is the use of it.

Let’s look at a situation: You have a mail server in your organization that is on the Linux platform and the hard disk’s software is configured with Red 5 technology. Thousands of users are using that mail server. One day you notice that the mail server is running out of storage. Software RAID for this type of situation allows us a nice feature by which we can increase the storage capacity of the Red 5 array.

How to Increase Existing Software Raid 5 Storage Capacity In Linux

How to Increase Existing Software Raid 5 Storage Capacity In Linux

So let’s look at the configuration steps to increase the existing software Ride 5 storage capacity.

Note: I recommend you read the previous article once, so how to configure software RAID 5 in Linux so that you can understand the concept more clearly.

Follow the below Steps to Increase Software RAID 5 Storage Capacity

Here I am assuming that you are already have configured RAID 5 partition. Here I have mentioned my RAID 5 partition details. Refer the sample output below.

As you can see below my RAID 5 Partition Size is 2.17 GBRAID devices are 3 (Highlighted in Red color).

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --detail /dev/md0   # Checking the RAID 5 partition Details
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Thu Apr 13 23:05:41 2017
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 2117632 (2.02 GiB 2.17 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 1058816 (1034.17 MiB 1084.23 MB)
   Raid Devices : 3
  Total Devices : 3
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Thu Apr 13 23:07:02 2017
          State : clean 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 3
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : localhost.localdomain:0  (local to host localhost.localdomain)
           UUID : a8abc922:dc3713f0:31bac3ba:10538cea
         Events : 18

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8       17        0      active sync   /dev/sdb1
       1       8       33        1      active sync   /dev/sdc1
       3       8       49        2      active sync   /dev/sdd1

You can also check the RAID device details in /proc/mdstat.

[root@localhost ~]# cat /proc/mdstat   # Check ing RAID 5 device details
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
md0 : active raid5 sdd1[3] sdc1[1] sdb1[0]
      2117632 blocks super 1.2 level 5, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/3] [UUU]
      
unused devices: 

Here below I have shown my mounted RAID 5 device which is mounted in /mydata directory.

[root@localhost ~]# df -h   # Check mounted devices
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2        18G  2.4G   15G  15% /
tmpfs           495M  224K  495M   1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1       291M   34M  242M  13% /boot
/dev/md0        2.0G   68M  1.9G   4% /mydata

So now let’s go ahead and increase the software RAID 5 storage by adding a new Harddisk. Here I have one new harddisk i.e. /dev/sde.

[root@localhost ~]# fdisk -l | grep /dev/sde
Disk /dev/sde: 2147 MB, 2147483648 bytes

Also Read : How To Configure Raid 5 (Software Raid) In Linux Using Mdadm

Now create a new partition in /dev/sde and change the partition id for raid 5 i.e. fd. Refer the sample output below.

[root@localhost ~]# fdisk /dev/sde   # Creating a New partition
Device contains neither a valid DOS partition table, nor Sun, SGI or OSF disklabel
Building a new DOS disklabel with disk identifier 0xf1ee24f7.
Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
After that, of course, the previous content won't be recoverable.

Warning: invalid flag 0x0000 of partition table 4 will be corrected by w(rite)

WARNING: DOS-compatible mode is deprecated. It's strongly recommended to
         switch off the mode (command 'c') and change display units to
         sectors (command 'u').

Command (m for help): n    # "n" for New Partition
Command action
   e   extended
   p   primary partition (1-4)
p                                    # "p" for Primary Partition
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-261, default 1): 
Using default value 1
Last cylinder, +cylinders or +size{K,M,G} (1-261, default 261): +1G   # Assigning Size of the Partition

Command (m for help): t    # Changing the Partition ID for RAID 5
Selected partition 1
Hex code (type L to list codes): fd    # "fd" is the Partition ID of Software RAID
Changed system type of partition 1 to fd (Linux raid autodetect)

Command (m for help): w   # Saving the Partition Table
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

In Linux system you suppose to restart the system after creating a new partition to update in kernel but to skip restart you can use partprobe command to refresh the partition table and update in kernel.

[root@localhost ~]# partprobe /dev/sde    # Refreshing the Partition Table

So as we can see on the output below the partition i.e. /dev/sde1 is ready to attach with already existing Software RAID 5 partition.

[root@localhost ~]# fdisk -l | grep /dev/sde
Disk /dev/sde: 2147 MB, 2147483648 bytes
/dev/sde1               1         132     1060258+  fd  Linux raid autodetect

To add a new harddisk to already existing RAID 5 device use the below command.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --manage /dev/md0 --add /dev/sde1   # Adding new harddisk to existing Software RAID 5 device
mdadm: added /dev/sde1

Where :

/dev/md0 – Existing RAID 5 Partition
/dev/sde1 – Newly add Harddisk

After add the new harddisk to existing softwate raid 5 partition check the details by below command.

As we can see on the output below the newly added harddisk (Highlighted in Red Color) is attached to the RAID 5 device but still it’s in Spare state. and our RAID 5 device size is still not increased.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Thu Apr 13 23:05:41 2017
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 2117632 (2.02 GiB 2.17 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 1058816 (1034.17 MiB 1084.23 MB)
   Raid Devices : 3
  Total Devices : 4
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Thu Apr 13 23:40:57 2017
          State : clean 
 Active Devices : 3
Working Devices : 4
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 1

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : localhost.localdomain:0  (local to host localhost.localdomain)
           UUID : a8abc922:dc3713f0:31bac3ba:10538cea
         Events : 19

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8       17        0      active sync   /dev/sdb1
       1       8       33        1      active sync   /dev/sdc1
       3       8       49        2      active sync   /dev/sdd1

       4       8       65        -      spare   /dev/sde1

Also you check the simple RAID 5 device status in /proc/mdstat.

[root@localhost ~]# cat /proc/mdstat 
Personalities : [raid6] [raid5] [raid4] 
md0 : active raid5 sde1[4](S) sdc1[1] sdb1[0] sdd1[3]
      2117632 blocks super 1.2 level 5, 512k chunk, algorithm 2 [3/3] [UUU]
      
unused devices: 

Where :

S – Spare Device

So use the below command to grow the RAID 5 partition size.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --grow /dev/md0 -n4   # Increasing the RAID 5 device Storage
mdadm: Need to backup 3072K of critical section..

Now let’s check what is the status of the device.

As you can see below the RAID 5 device is Reshaping means it’s Resizing by including the newly added Harddisk. Now the Reshape Status is 5%. Run the below command after some time and you will able find increased RAID 5 device.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Thu Apr 13 23:05:41 2017
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 2117632 (2.02 GiB 2.17 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 1058816 (1034.17 MiB 1084.23 MB)
   Raid Devices : 4
  Total Devices : 4
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Thu Apr 13 23:43:59 2017
          State : clean, reshaping 
 Active Devices : 4
Working Devices : 4
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

 Reshape Status : 5% complete
  Delta Devices : 1, (3->4)

           Name : localhost.localdomain:0  (local to host localhost.localdomain)
           UUID : a8abc922:dc3713f0:31bac3ba:10538cea
         Events : 37

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8       17        0      active sync   /dev/sdb1
       1       8       33        1      active sync   /dev/sdc1
       3       8       49        2      active sync   /dev/sdd1
       4       8       65        3      active sync   /dev/sde1

After running the above command again you can see that our Software RAID 5 device increased to 3.25 GB and total RAID devices became 4.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --detail /dev/md0
/dev/md0:
        Version : 1.2
  Creation Time : Thu Apr 13 23:05:41 2017
     Raid Level : raid5
     Array Size : 3176448 (3.03 GiB 3.25 GB)
  Used Dev Size : 1058816 (1034.17 MiB 1084.23 MB)
   Raid Devices : 4
  Total Devices : 4
    Persistence : Superblock is persistent

    Update Time : Thu Apr 13 23:44:08 2017
          State : clean 
 Active Devices : 4
Working Devices : 4
 Failed Devices : 0
  Spare Devices : 0

         Layout : left-symmetric
     Chunk Size : 512K

           Name : localhost.localdomain:0  (local to host localhost.localdomain)
           UUID : a8abc922:dc3713f0:31bac3ba:10538cea
         Events : 46

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0       8       17        0      active sync   /dev/sdb1
       1       8       33        1      active sync   /dev/sdc1
       3       8       49        2      active sync   /dev/sdd1
       4       8       65        3      active sync   /dev/sde1

My RAID 5 device has been increased but when I am trying to check the mounted devices by df -h commad, here It’s showing me the old size only and it’s not increased because we have to inform to kernel that the RAID 5 device size has increased by using resize2fs command.

[root@localhost ~]# df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2        18G  2.4G   15G  15% /
tmpfs           495M  224K  495M   1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1       291M   34M  242M  13% /boot
/dev/md0        2.0G   68M  1.9G   4% /mydata

So follow the below command to update the resized RAID 5 device in kernel and mount point.

[root@localhost ~]# resize2fs /dev/md0
resize2fs 1.41.12 (17-May-2010)
Filesystem at /dev/md0 is mounted on /mydata; on-line resizing required
old desc_blocks = 1, new_desc_blocks = 1
Performing an on-line resize of /dev/md0 to 794112 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/md0 is now 794112 blocks long.

After above process you will found the RAID 5 volume resized. Refer the sample output below.

[root@localhost ~]# df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2        18G  2.4G   15G  15% /
tmpfs           495M  224K  495M   1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1       291M   34M  242M  13% /boot
/dev/md0        3.0G   68M  2.8G   3% /mydata

After complete all configuraton don’t forgot to save the configuration in /etc/mdadm.conf by using the below command.

[root@localhost ~]# mdadm --detail --scan --verbose >> /etc/mdadm.conf

Note :  It’s mendatory to save the RAID configuration as if you restart the system without saving the configuration then you will lost all configuration and unable to found the RAID device.

After saving the configuration you can check the RAID configuration file, It would look like as shown on the output below.

[root@localhost ~]# cat /etc/mdadm.conf 
ARRAY /dev/md0 level=raid5 num-devices=4 metadata=1.2 name=localhost.localdomain:0 UUID=a8abc922:dc3713f0:31bac3ba:10538cea
   devices=/dev/sdb1,/dev/sdc1,/dev/sdd1,/dev/sde1

That’s all, In this article, we have explained the How to Increase Existing Software Raid 5 Storage Capacity In Linux. I hope you enjoy this article. If you like this article, then just share it. If you have any questions about this article, please comment.

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Mangesh Dhulap

This is Mangesh Dhulap the Founder and Editor of IT SMART TRICKS have 6+ years of Industrial Experience. We expect from our visitors to like, share, and comment on our posts.

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