Of course as soon as you add the disk back into the array you're going
to cause a boatload of IO as the array resyncs from the internal disks
back out to the external one, and that's going to happen _every_ time
you plug the disk(s) in.
I've used Linux Software RAID 1 for more than five years now, and you're
absolutely right that a re-sync does indeed cause a boatload of IO,
unavoidably, every time. For upwards of twenty minutes or more, in many
I guess the drive could be swapped first thing in the morning (5:30am)
or last thing at night (about 10pm) where there is hardly anyone around
(it's a radio station, and there's generally only two people in at 5:30am).
However it was also been my experience that this has little or
negligable impact on the responsiveness of the desktop system. Linux
multi-tasks REALLY well.
The only time I've noticed it - other than the HD LED flashing and the
disk being a bit noisy - was when I tried to do something else really,
really IO intensive at the same time, such as moving several hundred
gigs of data about whilst the resync was underway (eg. copying a movie
to a different filesystem). Then, that process runs slow.
The idea of the server is to run Zimbra and host some samba shares (it's
going to replace an unreliable Windows 2003 Server on an old P4). At
the moment the existing Windows server runs like a dog the majority of
the time. The other day I checked it in the afternoon and it was still
running a backup which had started at 9pm the previous day.
I just want something nice and simple for the staff to use. I guess
technically it would be possible to start the script via a basic web
interface (and with my HTML skills it will be really really basic).