Thinking of trying unRaid

Discussion in 'Linux Admins, Storage and Virtualization' started by JSchuricht, Sep 8, 2014.

  1. JSchuricht

    JSchuricht Active Member

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    I think I am loosing my mind for considering this but I am contemplating using unRaid on an Atom for my next upgrade.

    My current setup is a server I started building in 2009 so it's age is starting to worry me and I am out of bulk storage space. Dual 3GHz quad core 5400 Xeon, 56GB RAM, 8x 450GB 15k RAID6, 25x 2TB SATA RAID6 with hot spare and a bunch of random SATA drives because I ran out of space on Windows 2012 server with a 10Gb network with a pair of LSI 8888 1st gen SAS controllers and 1st gen SAS expanders. While I love being able to move 10+GB files at over 300MB/s the reality is my bulk storage rarely changes after it's uploaded, is infrequently accessed and a 4 digit electric bill really sucks.

    My thoughts are a 1U Supermicro 5018A-AR12L, 8GB RAM, 12x 6TB or 8x 8TB SATA (if I can find them), 256GB SSD cache drive and a 10Gb NIC. This would be just for bulk storage. Expansion is about 10TB/year with 42TB of existing data.

    My concerns are not being able to test all unRaid features without buying it. Mainly the write speed with a cache drive, and active directory integration. What are some of your experiences with unRaid? Does anyone have any other recommendations for software.
     
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  2. Patrick

    Patrick Administrator
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    The 8TB drives are not out just yet.

    Your reasoning for going to fewer drives is sound. I switched the lab to Synology/ Xpenology and ZFS + napp-it at this point after migrating off of the 1.5TB - 2TB array.

    For what you are doing, there are plenty of free options.
     
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  3. HellDiverUK

    HellDiverUK Active Member

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    I could never get UnRAID to run stable. I tried it on various known-good machines, and things just kept crapping out. Also the fact it's using ReiserFS is a bit....crap, really. I have the Pro version.

    There's a lot better solutions available for free, or less.
     
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  4. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    +1.

    For bulk media storage at home, I personally love SnapRAID. I currently have a little over 30TB of usable storage space with 2 parity disks. I like that each disk has it's own filesystem, it supports checksumming, can have up to 6 parity disks, has very low system requirements, not all disks need to spin up to perform a read, and is Opensource.

    I have a tutorial in my signature if you are interested. For my home data, the ability to add a disk at a time, while also supporting more than 1 parity disk (UnRAID only allows 1 parity disk), and being free, makes SnapRAID a no brainer for me. If you have any questions, I'm happy to try to answer them.
     
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  5. JimPhreak

    JimPhreak Active Member

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    I considered SnapRAID before deciding on UnRAID because I liked that it was it's own OS and I didn't have to install it on top of another OS. My experience is pretty much with Windows only and didn't want to have to learn an new OS just to install a storage platform that I'd also have to learn since there is no native GUI.

    For my needs UnRAID works out well. Yes there is only one parity drive but my entire UnRAID server is backed up to another one off-site so it's not really a concern. On top of that my irreplaceable data is also backed up to the cloud. For a home bulk media storage solution, I don't really think redundancy should be the main concern if you have proper backups (any solution whether it be UnRAID, SnapRAID, FlexRAID, ZFS, etc. is not a backup solution no matter how many parity drives you have).
     
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  6. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    UnRAID runs on Slackware Linux, so it is still Linux underneath. I'm surprised if you are already a Windows guy that you didn't just buy FlexRAID. It's cheaper than UnRAID and supports more parity devices, and has a nice management frontend.

    Having more parity to me is a big bonus. If I don't have to restore from backups I would like to avoid it. The other big difference you forgot to mention is SnapRAID's ability to checksum your files to prevent bitrot. UnRAID does not have this feature and bad data can easily be propagated to your backups without you even knowing.

    That being said, if UnRAID works for you that is great. I just didn't want to pay for something that I could do for free in SnapRAID (plus a better feature set with the flexibility of a "real" Linux distro).
     
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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
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  7. TuxDude

    TuxDude Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a huge fan of UnRAID either, for a variety of reasons. If you don't want to learn a new OS, I would recommend either running Snapraid on Windows, or OpenMediaVault which has the option to use Snapraid through its web GUI.
     
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  8. MiniKnight

    MiniKnight Well-Known Member

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    I'm not a fan either. Other options are out there today which are better to me.
     
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  9. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    So, flexraid has a gui, but not snapraid (unless using openmediavault as the frontend)? Any other differences between those two that are worth mentioning?
     
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  10. NeverDie

    NeverDie Active Member

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    Such as?
     
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  11. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    Here's a good look at most comparable software RAID competitors.

    SnapRAID
     
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  12. tjk

    tjk Active Member

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    Which do you prefer?
     
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  13. JimPhreak

    JimPhreak Active Member

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    I took a hard look at FlexRAID as well. When I chose UnRAID it was between that, FlexRAID and SnapRAID. I explained why I didn't go with SnapRAID (command line). And when you add on the cost of Windows licensing, FlexRAID is actually more expensive than UnRAID. Also when I compared UnRAID to FlexRAID, the support community seemed much better on the UnRAID side which is important to me when learning a whole new system. The other consideration for me was the ability to run the OS off a flash drive as I did not want to buy an additional HD to run a storage OS (I know I could run FlexRAID off Linux but if I was going to go with FlexRAID it was going to be due to my familiarity with Windows, not to learn Linux as well)

    I totally understand the desire to checksum and to have more than one parity. Which is why I'd never sway someone to go with UnRAID. However for me, since all I keep on UnRAID is non-essential data (Media) that will not affect anything if it's down, 1 parity drive works fine for my home needs. I feel like with all the different options out there, it's really a personal choice and there are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. Really just need to find the one that works for your particular situation.
     
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  14. rubylaser

    rubylaser Active Member

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    Very good points and it makes sense to me. I thought you might already have Windows licenses. If you don't you are correct, FlexRAID is more expensive by a long shot. And, you are correct in saying there are A LOT of options out there to choose from (that's a good thing) and each person does need to weigh the pros/cons of each as well as looking at the underlying OS and their familiarity with it as you have done.
     
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