Why I like unRAID


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Back about ten years ago, I decided I had a storage space problem. 

So I looked around to see what was available. I don't remember what was around at the time but I came across the unRAID product. 

So you load something on an USB and then boot to it and it then sees all the attached drives.  Create shares, add data and you're good. It has data recovery as well in case of drive failure. Sounded pretty much agnostic as far as motherboard hardware was concerned. 

Interesting concept. And an online community with all kinds of info. 

Like any IT guy with 20+ years of hardware experience I had accumulated assorted old/unused small drives and out of date motherboards. 

Let me slap together something as a proof of concept thing real quick and see what happens. 

This was just as SATA was coming out. But my old boards only had IDE Master/Slave stuff. It was just stuff I had laying around. 

Got four assorted drives of unknown heritage from the junk box and stuffed them into an old case. Made the bootable USB and fired the whole mess up. 

Got the web console up and poked around. Yea, all the drives were listed. OK, biggest drive will be parity and the assorted leftovers will be drive space. I liked that idea because you could use what you had on hand, they didn't need to be the same size.  Probably had a total of less than one TB of drive space scattered across the entire box. 

UnRAID got done prepping all the space and I set up some shares and copied test files to them. That was pretty straight forward. 

So I let it run a few days as I went on to other stuff in life. 

I brought the console up a few days later and saw that I had a drive failure. The drives did come from the junk box so that was sorta expected. 

Ok, let's see how this data protection things works. The shares were still there and so was the data. The parity drive was doing it's job. Nice. 

That's working as advertised.

Almost got me sold at this point.

 

Back to the online community and the assorted FAQ's. How do you recover the drive/data? 

Shut down, pull bad drive and insert another drive of same or larger size. 

Click a few buttons and the system kicks in and the data recovery begins and then new drive is repopulated with data. 

Only downtime was swapping out hardware. From the user point of view I couldn't tell anything was going on in the background as the data was being recovered. 

 

Ok, I'm sold. Take my money now. 

 

Bought a couple keys and a pair of USB drives in September of 2011. Don't remember for sure but I think they had a sale or something going at the time.

I'm on my second specially built production server now. 

 

Got the second USB on the test box. it's just just an old desktop stuffed with the smaller drives I have pulled from the production box as I upsize it. 

 

23 TB scattered across 8 drives with Plex running on the SSD. 

 

Yes, I'm happy with the product.  

 

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I started in February 2011.  Same as you - I put together a lash-up comprising a random mini-ITX board (probably a 32bit VIA CPU at that time) and three or four random drives.  I specifically did this to see for myself how the missing disk scenario would be handled.  It was just so easy to get it working, pull a drive and still have the data available, and to rebuild as needed.  That was Unraid version 4.7 I think.  I now have four licenses, three servers (main, backup  and my daughter's). I am also very happy with the software.     

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I tried the "competition" Proxmox and I thought the GUI was garbage. Lots of errors and then the task would complete anyway. So back to unraid. I guess those whose first programming language is linux dont mind doing just about everything from a shell but I much prefer an intuitive gui

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58 minutes ago, AntaresUK said:

I tried the "competition" Proxmox and I thought the GUI was garbage. Lots of errors and then the task would complete anyway. So back to unraid. I guess those whose first programming language is linux dont mind doing just about everything from a shell but I much prefer an intuitive gui

 

I do prefer the mixture of the both. I code up a bunch and drop all that into User.Scripts so I can click a button and it does its things. 

 

There's a lot to be said about a nice interface and knowing how things work in the background. I've always been intrigued with how things work in the background and it cracks me up watching people search for that "button". However, you are totally right you can win or loose a user if the interface is to complicated or simply not there. 

 

unraid has come a long way for me since 2009 when I started using it the interface was very limited, but it worked very well. Along came some really smart people both internally to limetech and community members who continue to add their spins and polish. 

 

Do yourselves some favors. If you come up with any ideas no matter how wacky make sure you submit ideas for requests in the forums. Docker/Plugin creators do look there as well as members of limetech. You never know what ideas they might implement. ;)

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I'm not an IT Guy; Don't work in a computer related field ... Guess you could say I'm a Prosumer who tends to dream bigger than my current needs.

 

I've quickly become a home lab junkie, having dabbled in ESXI, FreeNas, Proxmox, stand alone proprietary NAS units, and the like. With Unraid I finally feel like I have landed at a place where most of my current (and future) needs should be met. I planned my current NAS (Nerve Centre) around using Unraid and so far have not been disappointed. I will continue to use some of the other "stuff" but I can see Unraid taking care of 90% of my needs for the foreseeable future!

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