Ubuntu: when creating raid array, is it better to do it in partition or whole disk?


There are many tutorials out on how to create a raid array with mdadm and some of them differ in this but I don't really see the difference.


I think the reasoning is that if you create partitions that are slightly smaller than the nominal capacity of your drives, then it gives you some wiggle room if you ever need to replace a member and can't source a disk with exactly the same capacity / layout as the originals. From LPIC-2: Linux Professional Institute Certification Study Guide: Exam 201 and Exam 202:

Optimally, all of your RAID array drives and spare drives will be the same size, but this isn't always the case. In situations where your drives are not equally sized, it may be a good idea to leave some space unpartitioned. This can be helpful if your spare disks are slightly smaller than the RAID array drive members and you need to use them to replace a failed array drive.

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