Software RAID in Windows, macOS, and Linux

Solid Foundation

RAID with the ZFS Filesystem

In addition to software RAID created with the mdadm driver, highly available data carriers can also be set up with the ZFS filesystem, which is often used on Linux-based network-attached storage (NAS) systems. ZFS supports all the features of a modern filesystem, and you can create software RAID just as easily as setting quotas, enabling compression, and taking snapshots. ZFS can provide highly available data storage without the additional tools and drivers that connect the existing physical drives in a highly available manner.

Thanks to its structure, an advantage of ZFS is no risk of data loss in the event of a power failure. When the system restarts, the filesystem is automatically available and consistent. ZFS also has an integrated snapshot function. Although it does not replace full data backup, it does provide some protection. If individual files are deleted, they can be restored with the snapshot function. Of course, a data backup must be available to provide protection against the potential failure of entire disk arrays.

To use RAID with the ZFS filesystem, ZFS needs to be installed retroactively in most distributions. The commands are

sudo apt-get install zfsutils-linux
sudo apt-get install zfs-dkms

for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (top line) and Debian (bottom line).


Windows, Linux, and macOS offer a wide range of alternatives that establish hardware solutions for safeguarding data with software RAID data storage. In particular, Linux offers choices among various filesystems and tools. Finding out which is best for your individual case will involve some experimenting. On some Linux systems, RAID can be created with the assistance of wizard-based setups, especially if you are using ZFS.

The Author

Thomas Joos is a freelance IT consultant and has been working in IT for more than 20 years. In addition, he writes hands-on books and papers on Windows and other Microsoft topics. Online you can meet him on

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