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Help with RAID and Formating Disks

Hello all. I am very new at what I am attempting to do. I have run Debian in the past and just recently installed it on a new built system that I am setting up. So please take it easy on the Newbie.

First I built the system with the ASUS Motherboard and AMD-64x2 5800+.

Added 3 - 500gig drives and a DVD/CD writer to access the Downloaded netinst of Debian. The installation went fine with no problems over the internet installation. Added all the programs that I thought I would need and finished the installation. During the installation process it formatted /dev/sda as ext3 and used the complete disk for the system/files. I was never given the opportunity to format/partition the second and third drives. Figured I would get to that when I set up the RAID.

Anyway tried using mdadm but am at a loss what I am trying to do. I tried the parameters that was called out in the --help file, but kept getting "not enough devices" errors. I believe the command line I used was:

mdadm -create /dev/md0 -l 5 -n 2 -x 1 -c 32

and in different combo's of the above.

I then figured that as /dev/sdb and /dev/sdc where not partitioned or formatted, I should do that. But that is where I am completely lost. I have no idea how to format or partition the other drives.

Tried finding some tools that might help out, but couldn't find anything that might help. I know I am not using the terminology correctly to search for the right tools. So came here to see if anyone could help out.

So I guess my question is: Do I have to format/partition each of the drives before making a RAID or can the mdadm program do this. And what is the easiest way to set up the RAID.

I figured I could set it up with 2 500gig drives and have the 3rd as the spare. This system is going to be used for backing up different systems over the net with BACKUPPC and figured 1 Tb of storage should be enough.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...

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