Create a Software RAID1 (gmirror)

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This article is part of the How-To series.

Creating a software RAID1 Array with pfSense

On current releases, when the installer detects multiple disks in the system the first screen available provides the option Setup GEOM Mirror. Choose that option, pick the primary disk, the disk to use for the mirror copy, and then proceed with the installation as normal.

The Quick/Easy install choice will target the GEOM mirror automatically. If using a custom install, be sure to choose the mirror as the target disk.

Monitoring Array Status

There is a gmirror widget which can be used to view the status of an array.

Notifications

Starting with pfSense 2.2, e-mail alerts will be sent if the status of an array changes.

Managing drives / Replacing Drives

Starting with pfSense 2.2, mirrors and their component drives may be managed in the GUI at Diagnostics > GEOM Mirror.

If a drive fails, replace the drive, choose to have the mirror forget the old disk, and then add the new disk to the mirror.

Older manual instructions

Even though the creation of an array is covered in the installer, some of the following manual commands are still useful to have here - especially the bits about what to do when replacing a drive.

Creating a RAID1 Array with pfSense

Important30.png WARNING Important30.png
WARNING! THIS SECTION IS NOT A COMPLETE GUIDE.

This may break your car, eat your cat, submerge your basement in water, etc. Don't blame us for damage, it's unsupported!

This must be done prior to the installation. Creating a mirror from an existing drive which already contains data will corrupt areas of the drive and make an improper mirror configuration. Later versions of pfSense will fail to boot from such corrupt mirrors.

These instructions assume that the first disk is ad0 and ad1 is the second IDE drive. SCSI drives will be da0 and da1. YMMV.

  • Run the following commands to create the mirror :
sysctl kern.geom.debugflags=16			# Enable footshooting
gmirror label -v -b round-robin pfSenseMirror /dev/ad0	# Tell gmirror to create raid0 array using /dev/ad0 as the first disk
gmirror configure -a pfSenseMirror		# Tell geom to automatically rebuild array
gmirror insert pfSenseMirror /dev/ad1		# Add the second disk to the mirror 
gmirror status					# Wait until the mirror builds
exit						# Exit when it's 100%

If it all went right, it should show a good mirror:

# gmirror status
      Name    Status  Components
mirror/pfSenseMirror  COMPLETE  ad0
                                ad1

After creating the mirror, it may be selected as an installation target.

Should a drive be lost, replace it physically and then run the following if it doesn't automatically try to rebuild:

gmirror forget pfSenseMirror /dev/ad1
gmirror insert pfSenseMirror /dev/ad1

Check out this article which goes into a little more detail.