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Pre-Purchase Questions

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I am putting together a storage server and someone suggested that I consider Unraid. So that's it... I downloaded Unraid and I'm considering Unraid. 

I'm trying to build Unraid on an ESXi VM so I can poke around and look under the hood a bit. Installing Unraid as a test VM will allow me to better understand Unraid so I can come back asking more specific pre-purchase questions. 

Question #1: What version and flavor of *nix is Unraid? 64-bit Debian? Kernel? 

Question #2: Do users have full terminal/shell access to the OS? 


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Thanks trurl. 

I'm trying to get a better understanding of unRAID so that I can make an informed decision. I understand that the OS is a NAS OS and not a general Linux desktop OS (or something with a desktop GUI). I have two needs: One is our home and personal data and the second is data that I use for work. They have slightly (very) different performance needs so I am trying to learn enough about unRAID to understand what OS I would be trusting data with and understand how I can get it back (recover it) if something breaks.


I have previously used most major brands of consumer and rack/enterprise storage solutions. Everything from D-Link, Synology, Drobo, Qnap to the usual open-source suspects: the BSD-based flavors, OpenFiler and also some more specific infiniband solutions with vSAN and other DAS setups. The vast majority of my storage experience (including some with slackware and squashfs) was a long time ago, in the days of ddr2 and PCIx64 cards. 


I'm just looking for a nas and quite honestly I'm a little confused about unRAID (is that how it is written "unRAID"?) with regards to the whole docker-kvm-nas OS combo thing. I just need a storage solution. I have an ESXi environment for VMs and I am trying to downsize to 2-3 hosts therefore something like vSAN would not be appropriate. 


I bought two Fractal Node 804 cases and that's as far as I've gotten. I can't pick a motherboard until I pick an OS because sata connectivity, hba's, onboard controllers, memory requirements, cpu, etc. I want something that is somewhat "set and forget" that will do typical home NAS stuff: Apple phone/laptop backups, typical file sharing, etc. The "home NAS" side of things is very typical, has low performance requirements and high safety/redundancy requirements. Everything I have is 3-2-1 data (3 copies, 2 local, 1 offsite). The data I use for work is why I think I will need/want two storage solutions. That has a lot of high-availability, fast-access demands (gpu work, cuda, compression and decompression, high-bandwidth streaming UDP data). At this point I'm just trying to understand the operating systems and how they interact with data, cache and disks so I can make an educated decision. 


The USB boot thing was giving me trouble so I installed it on a bare metal machine. I'll poke around and check it out. Any chance unRAID supports eMMC storage, satadom or pxe boot? I'll try later tonight but I guess I'll ask first: Can I create multiple cache pools? Can I create one SSD cache pool for certain data and one cache pool from ramdisk for other data? 




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The parity array has the redundancy of 1 or 2 parity disks, but Unraid IS NOT RAID. Each data disk in the array is an independent filesystem. Read speed is at the speed of the single disk containing a file, write speed is somewhat slower due to realtime parity updates. The array is usually HDD, and at least one data disk in the array is required to start the array and other services, but parity is not required.


For faster storage, you can have multiple pools. Older versions only supported one pool named cache, but 6.9+ allows you to create multiple pools named and used however you want. SSDs are usually used in the pools, and each pool can have multiple drives if they use btrfs filesystem.


While it is possible to work with paths in RAM, those can't participate in User Shares and won't be accessible over the network (except maybe by tweaking SMB). People often do this for plex transcodes, for example.


The Unraid license is tied to the GUID of the flash drive used for boot, so there is no way to boot any other way. There are people virtualizing Unraid but that isn't officially supported. There is a subforum for users that want to do that.



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