I am currently running btrfs on the storage part of my home server. It has two 4TB drives in btrfs raid1. This is the commands I needed to get it working and that I use to check status and such.


First of all, you should use the most stable kernel you can get your hands on since btrfs is under active development. I am currently running 3.15.1 on the server I got btrfs.

Since btrfs requires some userspace applications and they do not come with Debian we will need to install them.

Install btrfs tools:

apt-get install btrfs-tools


There is no need for creating partitions.

The following commands use -m and -d for arguments. -d means data and -m means metadata. This is so you can choose how you will stripe the two over more than one disk.

Non raid

To setup one drive with plain btrfs:

mkfs.btrfs /dev/sda

Raid 1

To create a raid1 from two drives:

mkfs.btrfs -m raid1 -d raid1 /dev/sda /dev/sdb

Raid 5 and 6

As of today (29/06/14). There exists working raid5/6 functionality, but the recovery/rebuilding part does not work. Do not use it.



Since my drive will be used for saving important things like photos and mainly archiving stuff I used the recommended options for this from Arch Wiki:

/dev/sdd on /storage type btrfs (rw,relatime,compress-force=zlib,nospace_cache,autodefrag)

The line from fstab:

UUID=96f21485-8527-4ddb-8876-2a4cdb1af8ac /storage  btrfs  compress-force=zlib,autodefrag,nospace_cache  0 1

Useful commands


Show information about the setup:

btrfs filesystem show /dev/sda

Show df information: (the standard df command will report a little funny)

btrfs filesystem df /mountpoint


Check the filesystem:

btrfsck /dev/sda

Defragment the filesystem:

btrfs filesystem defrag /mnt