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Rate my migration plan: windows server to unraid

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Hey fellas,


the holidays are upon us and that means some free time at home. Perfect for some scheduled downtime and maintenance!

I've been wanting to migrate off of my old Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials platform for many years now and I think I'm finally ready. I'm putting my plan here to solicit advice as well as list out all the steps so it's not just all stuck in my head.


The box (headless HP ML310e Gen8 Server) runs WS2012R2 Essentials. Basically it runs:


  • Stablebit Drivepool + Scanner for NAS (8-9 HDDs, 4 SSDs)
  • VMware Workstation VMs for: homebridge, pihole, pivpn, torrent client (transmission installed on a windows VM with a VPN client)
  • Plex Media Server installed on windows
  • Sonarr installed on windows
  • iTunes installed on windows


The main reason I'm moving to unraid is to get full parity protection on my data with a wide array of different sized HDDs (currently only have redundancy on a small fraction of my data), and to containerize a lot of the services so I'm not manually admin'ing everything. Unraid seemed to me the "easiest" way to achieve this. HOWEVER, if you're reading this and think "this guy is stupid and a solution that made sense 5 years ago", PLEASE don't hold back. I'm very curious if I can achieve this via newer technologies.


So I've broken this down into 2 main phases:


Data Migration: Migrating the data I have from NTFS volumes onto the unraid parity backed array.

  1. Luckily I have enough freespace on my drives that I can free up 2 drives to add into unraid right away.
    1. One will be parity, and one will be the array.
  2. I've figured out a way to boot unraid as a VM and will actually run unraid concurrently with windows at first
  3. With both servers running, I will copy over the network, all my "critical" data that's currently duplicated. This is all my personal photos, movies, documents, & music library.
  4. I turn off duplication on the drivepool for that data. Hopefully it should clean up the files and dedup in the process.
  5. when all the drivepool duplication is disabled, I will remove as many drives from the drive pool as I can to "consolidate" the data onto the rest of the drive pool drives. HOPEFULLY this should net me another entire spare drive or two that I can add into unraid's array right away.
  6. When drivepool is done moving files, I will shutdown the server and boot into unraid baremetal
  7. This causes unraid to lose track of it's array drives but because I had them mounted as raw vmdks, I can add the parity and the data drive back into the array (via new config) without having to recalc parity or formatting drives. I can also add in the newly freed up drives to the array (though i will probably have to recalc parity after adding those drives. I think there's a preclear script I can run so that parity recalc can be skipped). Will need to look into that process exactly.  I see there's a unassigned devices preclear plugin?
  8. Now it's just a matter of mounting each drive one at a time as unassigned devices and copying the data into the unraid array, then unmounting, preclearing, and adding it to the unraid array.
  9. repeat on each drive until all data is moved
  10. when it comes time to dealing with the SSDs, I will add one of them as a cache to the array, and the rest as an application pool for the VMs and Docker Apps to reside on. Still kinda fuzzy on how to configure that.


Service Migration: Migrating the services I run from Windows and VMs onto unraid containers.

  • Plex Media Server is easily replaced with the plex docker app in unraid. I'll need to recreate the libraries but HOPEFULLY that won't be too much of a pain. My PMS and library has a lot of legacy tweaks since I've been running it for almost a decade now so it'll be nice to just start fresh with a fresh config.
  • Sonarr I will also restart fresh and using the sonarr docker app. I'm planning to backup just by just taking a manual list of the TV shows in sonarr and then letting it scan through my TV shows share and i'll manually fill in the missing shows.
  • Pihole will be replaced by pihole docker app. I just need to repopulate my gravity lists and my custom local DNS name lookups. Does pihole have a backup feature? oh, just looked. yes, there's a teleporter feature. I will use that.
  • pivpn will be replaced by whatever docker VPN server app I can find. I think unraid has a built in one? Not too fussed about having to manually reconfigure this
  • Torrent client will be replaced by the Transmission + VPN docker app. I'm not too concerned about migrating my seeded files. happy to start fresh here.
  • Homebridge: this is my main concern. I was originally going to migrate the VM (ubuntu, self admin'd) to KVM on unraid. I tested it out and actually got it working after some issues with network and converting the VMDK. But then I read that I can just backup my config via homebridge-ui-x and restore it on the docker homebridge app which seems much simpler and easier. Any advice here? is it that easy?
  • itunes: I will spin up a windows 10 VM to install itunes and just leave it running there. or I might take my old 2009 mac mini out of mothballs and set that up as a dedicated itunes library server.


so that should basically be it.... what'd y'all think?


TLDR: looking for advice and sanity check on migrating my windows home nas to unraid.

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