In this post i will show you what steps  I followed to adapt RAID1 on an existing installation of Debian Squeeze.

Step1. Make sure you have the following packages are installed:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
apt-get install mdadm rsync initramfs-tools grub-pc

Step2.  Partitioning the new drive:

First connect the new drive (/dev/sdb) and boot into your sistem.
Then use fdisk to display the partition informations for the existing drive (/dev/sda).

root@srv:~# fdisk -l /dev/sda

Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0007384e

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 9330 74936320 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 9330 9730 3212289 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 9330 9730 3212288 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Now create partitions of the same size on the new drive.

NOTE:If the new drive is bigger leave the rest of the drive unpartitioned.

Step3. Create new degraded RAID1 arrays:

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Rsync is often used for backup systems, with options such as:

-A --acls       : preserve the ACL, if used

-X --xattrs     : preserve extended attributes, if used

-H --hard-links : detect and preserve hard links

-a --archive    : resources and preserve the usual attributes: symbolic links, devices and special files,
user and group ownership, permissions and schedules

In addition to these stock options, rsync has many other.

Each has its own recipe, but I’d like to share two useful features :

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