The Vinum Volume Manager

Last update: 27 January 2004

I no longer have anything to do with Vinum. This document was written in 2001, and there have been no significant changes since then. I'm leaving this here for historical interest.

The Vinum Volume Manager is a block device driver which implements virtual disk drives. It isolates disk hardware from the block device interface and maps data in ways which result in an increase in flexibility, performance and reliability compared to the traditional slice view of disk storage. Vinum implements the RAID-0, RAID-1 and RAID-5 models, both individually and in combination.

Call for participation

Vinum is part of the base distribution of the FreeBSD operating system. Versions exist for NetBSD and OpenBSD. I'm actively seeking people who can help me port it to Linux. If you're interested in working on it, consider joining the mailing list.

Mailing list was a mailing list for people interested in developing Vinum. Follow the link to join. Posting is restricted to members of the list.


This site contains the following information about Vinum:

  • An introduction to Vinum
  • Known bugs in Vinum
  • What to do about problems with Vinum
  • How to replace a failed drive
  • Vinum feature wish list
  • Sourceforge Vinum page
  • Vinum source

    Vinum source code is currently maintained in the FreeBSD and NetBSD source trees. This site contains the RCS versions of the “super-source” which includes code for both hidden behind #ifdefs. It uses some very flaky code in a Makefile to trim it to the code in the individual trees. This would be the best code to use to start a new port. If anybody wants to tidy up the Makefile for stripping the #ifdefs, please let me know.

    I also have some notes on the structure of the driver. Don't count on these being up to date, but they might help.


    Vinum is documented in the man pages vinum(4) (the driver) and vinum(8) (the control program). These man pages are being continually updated, so the version you have will probably not be as up-to-date as the ones below. Beware, however: these man pages refer to the development version of Vinum in the -CURRENT version of FreeBSD, which may not correspond to the version you are running. In particular, FreeBSD 4.0 removes block devices, which has changed some aspects of the way Vinum works.

  • Man page vinum(4) in readable format
  • Man page vinum(8) in readable format
  • Man page vinum(4) in PostScript, for printing.
  • Man page vinum(8) in PostScript, for printing.
  • Introduction to Vinum, in Postscript form.
  • Bootstrapping Vinum, by Bob Van Valzah
  • There is also a Vinum chapter in “The Complete FreeBSD”.

    For Microsoft users

    The best choice of format is PostScript, since many printers process it directly. Microsoft does not support PostScript, however. If you have the misfortune to have to use Microsoft, you can download the following PDF files. You'll need Acrobat software to process it.

  • Man page vinum(4) in PDF, for Microsoft.
  • Man page vinum(8) in PDF, for Microsoft.
  • Did you find what you were looking for? If not, please let me know.

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