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unRAID 5.0 - Full Slackware Installation - Questions !

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Hi Guys,

 

I've started what I consider to be a pretty ambitious project (for me anyhow!) to configure a complete media centre environment on a HP Microserver n40l.

 

I've read a number of threads on these machines and it seems that people have been very successful in using these boxes for unRAID.

 

What I want to do with this machine is along these lines;

 

1. Modify the machine to hold a total of 8 drives.

2. Install unRAID 5.0 on a full Slackware install (hopefully on a USB key - although I'm unclear at this point if I can actually do this?)

3. Install XBMC for Media Centre functionality (will have an nVIDIA card w/HDMI)

4. Install MythTV for PVR functionality

5. Install the "Holy Trinity" (Sick Beard, Couchpotato & SABnzbd)

 


 

So the challenges that I see with this build are currently;

 

Getting 8 drives into the machine

My current intention is to install 2 x 3.5 Drives in an X-Swing in the 5.25 drive bay, as well as 2 x 2.5 drives mounted elsewhere in the case. (One SSD in the space between the drive cage and the 5.25 drive slot - the other, a regular 2.5 drive, in a custom bracket at the back of the case).

 

In theory, this should work. I have found a generic PCIe-1 SATA card that provides 2 additional SATA ports and is reported to work with unRAID. (Link : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/330625570563?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649#ht_4448wt_1247)

 

My intention is to use this for the two 2.5 drives which will be used as the cache drive and the full Slackware drive respectively. This should allow me to get 6 x 3.5 inch 2TB drives into the chassis, providing a parity drive and 10TB of storage (upgradable to 15TB as 3TB drive prices come down).

 

Getting a working copy of Slackware up and running

This is where most of my questions come from at the moment.  I've read the wiki pages on installing a full Slackware distro for unRAID 5.0, but it seems to me that the install is focused on installing it on a separate OS drive.  In an ideal world, I'd like to do a full Slackware install on the USB and have everything in one place - but I'm not even sure this is possible.

 

Compiling MythTV and XBMC

I get the impression that the Myth TV thing is going to be challenging, but think that I should be up to working my way through it all.

 


 

So - my first question - is it possible to do a full Slackware install on the same USB thumb drive that unRAID resides on? (and if so, is there a guide to it anywhere?)

 

If not - my second question - When you have a full Slackware install on a dedicated OS drive - do you still need the USB?  It seems that the unRAID licence is tied to the USB key.  So I'm really unclear on what role the USB plays after Slackware is installed on the dedicated OS drive.  Is it just there for the licence check?  Is it there as a backup boot thing?  Can it be removed entirely?  I'd really like to get a better understanding of this, but I just can't seem to find any material or forum posts that explain it for me.

 

My last question - Are there any really significant issues with the current 5.0 beta?  My read was that it's almost at release candidate stage.  I'm planning to use 5.0 as I want to be able to upgrade to 3TB drives when the cost comes down (without having to do an installation upgrade etc).  Is there anything that I should be conscious of before I start down this road?

 

Thanks in advance for any input.  I expect I'll be asking more as I move through this process.

 

PS - For anyone who might be interested - I'm planning on doing a complete step-by-step guide to this install (both hardware & software builds + configurations) to post on these forums.  A couple of the guys here at my work will be following in my footsteps, so I figured I should contribute my learnings back to the community in the form of a guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For anybody who might be interested, this is the complete spec of the build that I have now purchased;

 

 

Chasis

HP Proliant Microserver ($282.90 Incl Shipping) : http://www.megabuy.com.au/hp-658553-371-proliant-n40l-microserver-p293609.html

 

Components

Graphics Card ($67 Incl Shipping) : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/170751279606?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649#ht_2696wt_1247

 

Confirmed working with UnRAID SATA Card ($10 Incl Shipping) : http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330625570563&ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:AU:1123

 

HDHomeRun Network Tuner ($145 + Shipping) : http://www.itsdirect.com.au/com_products.php?view=detail&category_id=58&sub_category=151&Product_ID=4756

 

4GB Samsung PC3-10600E RAM ($30 Incl Shipping) : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Samsung-4GB-2x2GB-1333Mhz-2Rx8-PC3-10600E-/110749694485?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c9323a15#ht_500wt_1264

 

3 x SATA cables ($2.50) : http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_104&products_id=18093

 

Additional Drive Mount ($35 incl Shipping) : http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8923/hdc-65/Noiseblocker_NB_X-Swing_HDD_Adapter_Noise_Reducer.html

 

Drives

6 x 3.5 2TB drives : http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=210_344&products_id=17282

2 x 2.5 drives : Currently have a 320GB Caviar Black which will be used as cache, SSD for OS still to be decided on.

 

Software

UnRAID 5.0 (Beta 14a) ($69) - http://lime-technology.com/products/registration-keys

 

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Not many are running full installs. If you search the forum and wiki you'll find instructions.

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Thanks for the reply dgaschk.

 

Alothough the reason that I am asking if that I have looked through the Wiki and Forums and have not really found the answers to the questions I have (perhaps my Search-Fu is lacking  :-\ ).

 

Hopefully a few bumps might cause someone with the appropriate knowledge to chime in.

 

But thanks for the response !

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I'm by far not the right person; but find your ambition intriguing (as if I had the time wouldn't mind trying what you want to do)... but here is my opinion.

 

If you want Slackware on a USB, i'm sure you can just direct the install to a USB drive when you start (most distro's can install to USB as far as I know).

 

As for UnRAID usb, I would guess you need a second USB for UnRAID to check config files and license information.

 

Only way to find out is to start trying :)

 

Please do keep us posted on your progress!

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You just need the USB for the key file to allow the paid versions of unRAID to work. If you try to install all to the USB then I'd consider using one of those USB to SD card adapters. There's a thread here somewhere about one that works. That way, the adapter gives the GUID and the SD card can be changed at will.

 

Also note that unRAID isn't really installed to the USB. A RAM filesystem is created and then the OS is unpacked into RAM.

 

Ever consider running virtualization? I'm not even sure that would work but it would allow unRAID to be left as is and another OS to be run as well. I actually doubt that CPU could handle it, but more $$$ in hardware could make your desires much easier.

 

Peter

 

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Thanks guys - really appreciate the input !

 

In a worst case scenario, I will put the full slackware install on one of the 2.5 inch drives and use the USB key as what effectively amounts to a "hardware dongle", but in an ideal world I'd have the full slackware install on the USB key, use one of the 2.5 inch drives as the recording location for MythTV and the second 2.5 as the cache drive.

 

I've got all the components pretty much delivered now.  So I just want to do a trial run of doing a full slackware install and getting myth up and running before I do a clean install (my experience is that when you are new to something, you tend to modify a thousand things to get it to work - so I like to do a clean install when I know what I am doing).

 

If there is anyone out there who is running a full slack install and might be able to assist me as I go through this process, I'd really appreciate knowing who you are!

 

I'll be writing up a full guide to what I've done - so everyone will have the opportunity to look in on / improve on what I do.

 

Please chime in if you have any idea about how to get a full slack + unRAID on a USB, or if you are running a full slack distro.

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You do realize that you can do the full Slackware install to the same hard drive (different partition) that you also make your cache drive.

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Hi BubbaQ !

 

Yes - I realise that it's possible, it just feels "unclean" for me.  I'd like to have my OS install completely separate from the cache drive, which is simply there for the purpose of caching things temporarily.

 

Thanks for the comment though - have you done a slackware install yourself?

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There will likely be others with far more experience in this regard. I can only speak from my recent experience (detailed here).

 

I take it you want to keep the full slackware install on a drive that is not connected via SATA as you'd like to maximise the amount of drives connected to the array. Also I take it the proliant box has 6x SATA inputs & with the added card will add another 2.

 

An option might be to get a portable hdd - might be better to use another 2.5 sata hdd & put it in an external case. You'd need to check to ensure the proliant can boot off it. Or run with 2x USB flash disks - one for the full install & the other as the 'dongle' so to speak. The 'OS' flash disk would appear as a /dev/sdX entry anyway so I don't imagine there'd be much difference in the slackware installation of it. So long as the slack installer can see it to install it.

 

The biggest risk with any sort of setup like this (ie full slackware install) is it introduces more points of failure.

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You just need the USB for the key file to allow the paid versions of unRAID to work. If you try to install all to the USB then I'd consider using one of those USB to SD card adapters. There's a thread here somewhere about one that works. That way, the adapter gives the GUID and the SD card can be changed at will.

 

Also note that unRAID isn't really installed to the USB. A RAM filesystem is created and then the OS is unpacked into RAM.

 

Ever consider running virtualization? I'm not even sure that would work but it would allow unRAID to be left as is and another OS to be run as well. I actually doubt that CPU could handle it, but more $$$ in hardware could make your desires much easier.

 

Peter

 

Virtualiztion is quite a bit easier. I tried the full slackware install and ran into a few problems. I ended up installing virtualbox following the instructions in this thread http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=10978.0. The advantage is that after a reboot you have basically a stock unraid installation.

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It's been a while (trip to Thailand diverted my attention) but I'm back on the case. I've now built the machine out, have all the drives connected and I've installed a copy of SlaXBMC to one of the 2.5 drives (I ended up using a 60Gb SSD for the OS).

 

So I now have a very nice (minimalist) Slackware + XBMC install, and have compiled everything from source. I'm really quite impressed with the interface and playback speed of XBMC.  It cuts through 1080p and BluRay rips like a hot knife cuts through butter. I guess that's the advantage of having everything compiled for your specific machine  8)

 

I'm going to have a crack at installing MythTV today.  When that's done, I'll attempt to follow the guide for migrating UnRAID to my Slackware Distro.

 

With any luck, I should have my "Ultimate Media Centre" configured with PVR, Live TV, video and music streaming and 10Tb of protected storage by the end of the week.

 

I've kept a photo and video journal of the hardware and software mods and will do an end-to-end install guide when I'm done.

 

Can anyone suggest the most appropriate place for the guide on these forums?

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Can anyone suggest the most appropriate place for the guide on these forums?

In the wiki. 

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Thanks Joe - but is the wiki really the place for a customized hardware and software build?

 

If so, can you point me to where in the wiki you feel it would be most appropriate?

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Thanks Joe - but is the wiki really the place for a customized hardware and software build?

 

If so, can you point me to where in the wiki you feel it would be most appropriate?

for a guide... it is as good as any.  It can be pointed to be a post in a dedicated thread.

As far as where in the wiki...

how about in this area:

http://lime-technology.com/wiki/index.php/Methods_of_user_customization

 

It is pointed to from here:

http://lime-technology.com/wiki/index.php/Unofficial_Documentation

and the description there is:

Methods of user customization - Advanced topics such as custom kernels, adding packages, VMware, etc

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Thanks again Joe.

 

Question for the others out there - who is running unRaid on full slackware installs?

 

The guides have to have been written by someone - so I know you exist  ;)

 

I'm on the last leg and preparing to install unRaid on a full 64bit Slackware.  I'm not brilliant with Linux, but I know enough to make my way around. I just installed MythTV and XBMC and their dependency trees from source. It would be great to have others to talk to if I run into problems.

 

On a side note - the dependency tree for myth is an absolute nightmare, I'm sure that other distros make it easier but on Slackware? OMG.  I never want to do that again.

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I'm having issues myself, I've gotten everything compiled and booting, until I put unRAID usb in, (for the final part of install) it kernel panics.. because the USB is stealing the /dev/sda designation instead of going to SDB..

 

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One major piece of advice, do not use LILO for your boot manager. Use GRUB instead. Lilo will write bytes to all drives' MBRs. In the latest 5.x series of unRAID that can mess with the drive signature detection and require manual steps to reinstate the proper MBR using 'mkmbr'.

 

Using GRUB should also solve your /dev/sd# requirement for booting.

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BRiT are you using grub or grub2?

 

My only issue is the only package of grub I could find for the 13-37 release was for slackware not slackware64, also did you install grub to root or mbr?

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I'm using grub 0.97. I have it installed to the MBR of my dedicated OS/Cache drive [/dev/sda most of the time]. I grabbed the grub-0.97-i486-9 package and installed that. It doesn't much matter if it's 32bit or 64bit since the non-boot-time items don't need to be 64bit and it already needs to have multilib 32bit compatible steps completed for unRAID support.

 

 

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Yea I got up to the point where it panics when usb was in, I decided to give up, and just wait for 5.0 final before tinkering again, my dedicated cache is still partitioned and has the OS installed just not booted to it, so I guess I'll try again one day. :] tanks for the info will help in the near future.

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I'm running unRAID on full slackware.  500GB drive for the Slackware install, 2TB parity, 2TB data, 500GB cache.  Has been running great for the last few months.  Read speeds are kinda slow (15MB/s) though (GB Nic's). 

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Thanks for chiming in guys.  Great to know there are others out there doing the same thing.

 

BRiT - I'm particulary interested in your setup as it closely aligns with mine.

 

I've got a 60Gb SSD for the OS, but I want to split the cache drive into two partitions, one for cache, the other as temp space for downloads.

 

I might need a hand getting GRUB configured if you have the time to help.

 

This little machine is going to be a beast  8)

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Anyone else out there running full slack installs?

 

I'm quite keen to nderstand the best way to get GRUB installed and grab some advice on partitioning.

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