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Seems to me unRAID is NOT cheap.

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I created just that a while back just for that very reason and it was a complete failure. So many opinions it was useless.

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Yes, I think you are right. Unraid is lacking some features and is pretty basic. It's a small operation. but, it did 5 main things that I couldn't find anywhere else.

it doesn't stripe the data yet spans network directories across drives.

It allows more than 4 drives (the limit of most NAS).

It uses standard PC hardware that can be expanded/added as I go.

It is a simple to use web interface.

It allows mixed drive sizes.



Just to touch on the hardware some more.




#18 is a post that lists the parts to build the hardware for a 20 drive "plug-in" server for $750. Unraid only supports 17 drives total right now but still this hardware can support 20 (well there are 22 SATA ports).


This thread also has some good info.




If you want to go cheaper without drive "cages" (ie you have to screw in the drives) then you can build a 6 SATA drive server for about $350 + OS + drives.




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I created just that a while back just for that very reason and it was a complete failure. So many opinions it was useless.


Maybe change it up to something like systems that our members are running, complete with prices, links, specs, and pics.  Almost like the pimp your server thread over in lounge.

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The problem is, a community driven hardware compatibility list is bound to get out of date quickly, especially when it comes to motherboards.


I really think lime tech. is missing the boat by not providing a low cost yet expandable solution for those that want to avoid the typical DIY hassle.


Also, the community augmentation of unraid is another great hidden feature of unraid.  Unfortunately, Lime Tech has also missed the mark here by not adopting a standardized plug-in format.  Something as simple as a web interface allowing you to download and manage (enable or disable) package modules, and the ability to allow that package to interact with the web UI, much like unmenu. Many users don't want to mess around with config files, and while unmenu can get you there, you need to mess around with config files to get to that point.


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I created just that a while back just for that very reason and it was a complete failure. So many opinions it was useless.


LOL, yup, everyone has a favorite.


Try this for parts for a small, cheap build.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128342 - $50

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103188 - $40

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811164004 - $37

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134635 - $23

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820326005 - $4


Boy was I high balling the price. $154 for the hardware to support 6 drives. Of course, you may not trust the power supply to your server and the case may need more fans but the rest is very usable. The 740G based chipset motherboards are very popular here and work well for a budget build.


Hard drives are 1.5T = $130 today, 4 drives = $520

OS = $120


So, $794 for a 4T server with the capability to add 2 more drives in the future (and even more expansion possible with more hardware).




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You left out drive cages.  Replacing, adding drives will require a screwdriver and opening up the case.

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That PSU is making me cringe... At least go with a $50 PC Power & Cooling or Seasonic PSU.



I think by now, you may have noticed that unRAID isn't exactly a turn-key solution at the moment and that most users like it for its flexibility and customizability. The entry point for a pre-built system is pretty steep, but since both high end and entry level is one and the same, well, you get the picture. As for my experience with unRAID, I found the actual installation of unRAID to be very easy. Just download,  extract to flash drive, edit network config files (for manual IP assign) and that was it. The research that went into component selection and building the PC was time consuming, though.


As I recall, smaller systems used to be offered for sale. It's possible lime-tech found it not lucrative enough, hence, they just have the premium system now.

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I created just that a while back just for that very reason and it was a complete failure. So many opinions it was useless.


Maybe change it up to something like systems that our members are running, complete with prices, links, specs, and pics.  Almost like the pimp your server thread over in lounge.


I am of the firm opinion now there is only one system people should buy. The current official MB with as much ram as it takes (currently 4GB) and the official PSU.


IMO  anyone buying kit for unRAID that doesn't get an official MB is writing themselves a ticket to PITA land, or has a need to mess about to the Nth degree.


To that end a complete kit list of the current official build would be good.


Just so theres no dount I have less than zero interest in doing this after the last flame fiasco so someone else can carry the torch should the need take them.

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Hi Guys,


I provided a lot more suggestions to Lime...  than just having a smaller end offering...


I think we've really zoned in on one of my suggestions - that having an entry level off the shelf solution that is price competitive with other offerings would be wonderful.  I want an off the shelf solution...  There's only three things that bring me to unRaid:


1.  Potential Expandability.

2.  Recovery Opportunities (how's that for a friendly way of putting it?  ;)) that don't require near identical drives.

3.  Non-Striping.


The rest doesn't matter to me.  I want a "USER" product... as do most consumers.  They want to drive the car without knowing how to rebuild the transmission or configure an exhaust system.  When you guys talk about "simple config of some setup file" and then there's a posting labeled "It's not just newbies who need assistance in interperting their syslog" (SIC) or something to that effect, my god...  SCARY!


Maybe what I'm wanting doesn't exist...  but here's what I'm thinking would make a sure sale for me:


1.  A case and power supply that will house 15 drives or so...  (These aren't SCSI RAID systems like I'm used to - no hot swap...  so don't bother with removable drive cages...  I'll bolt the bastards in... if everything works as it should, I won't be messing with them more than once a year or so...  no quick remove, no fancy nothing...  doesn't even have to look pretty...  just some decent airflow and a CHEAP price.  Just like the off the shelf RAID products... ever try to touch the drives in one of those???)


2.  Reliable and inexpensive hardware to run the OS (If I don't gain much by additional RAM, I want as close to NONE as I can get - I've got 8GB in my desktop and 4GB in my laptop... they do the work!)


3.  Two keys, loaded on USBs, ready to rock.  (If you want to key them so they only work with one data set, that's fine...  one's just backup)


4.  Hard drive options.


5.  All put together, signed sealed, and ready to rock at a price point commensurate with off the shelf solutions from other vendors.  I should be able to get an unRaid system, with hardware that is decent, and storage equal to the originally proposed offering of a Buffalo Station...  and with "space in the case" to expand, now I've got something FAR BETTER than the off the shelf solution.


Failing any of these four items, it's not really a consumer ready product that can outshine competitive offerings:

1.  If the case will only take four drives - I've not gained anything over off the shelf options.

2.  I'm not using this damn thing to process data - don't make the RAM, fans, etc. cost so much that it's not competitive.

3.  These are key...  literally.

4.  Gotta be able to order it...  "PLUG IN" ready...  Frankly, it should already be configured for DHCP or a known static address like so many other hardware devices.  I just wanna "plug and use" with a nice pretty config through a web browser if one is required at all.

5.  This is the one area where I'm a little flexible...  Buffalo has quite an offering at $729...  If the unRaid solution (with expandable case) provided the same 3TB of usable space for this same price - or just 100-200 bucks more...  and could explain the benefits (not features) unique to their solution...  But wait a minute...  If I have to put the damn thing together... well, that's gonna cost the same 100-200 bucks, since I'm sure to loose some hair over it (no Linux experience or desire to learn it).


So you've got to pick there...  Either you put it together and it may cost a little more than my little Buffalo...  or I put it together and it better not cost a penny more than the Buffalo.


Well, then I'd be a buyer.


Are you guys up to the challenge?  Can you find me such a solution?  (or does the case/fan/drive bay thing just kill the opportunity - through no fault of Lime's?)


Still looking...  and so thrilled with the forum's response.




P.S.  Just got my hands on my new Canon 5D Mark II camera yesterday...  ($2700 for those who doubt I'll spend money even if I see the value)  At 21 MegaPixel, I'm gonna need some unRaid storage to handle this bad boy...  A single photo is about 33MB (Raw+JPG)... and I take THOUSANDS of photographs.

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A budget build in my mind would be a pair of 1.5TB drives, the FREE version of unraid, and an inexpensive MB as already described.


You use one drive for parity, one for data, and for somewhere in the $350. range you can be up and running.  You can expand by one more 1.5TB drive before you need to purchase the OS license from Lime-technology.  At that point you have 3TB protected storage.  Almost any power supply will do for 3 drives.


Now, you may not be the fastest system in the world, but you can sure put a lot of music and movies on 3TB.  When the time comes to upgrade, purchase the license from Lime-technology and add 1 or 1.5TB drives as needed.  You probably still can get away with a 250-350watt supply until you can catch a sale, as most of the newer SATA drives are less power hungry than the older IDE drives. 


And... since it was my subject line that caused you to be frightened, I eventually did find the issue was I was trying to diagnose.  It was intermittent errors, seemingly unrelated to anything I could see in common to anything... 


My problem turned out to be two of the "Y" power splitters in my case.  They both had the same poor quality "crimps" and failed intermittently to make good contact when the server was heavily used.  I had just started using some of the slots on the lower part of my case... That is where one of the splitters had been used.  Apparently vibration caused one or more disks to lose power.  The next time they were accessed, they failed.  Most of the time it failed when I was trying to spin up all the drives, or re-scan them all for their status.


The reason I'm mentioning this in the budget build thread is that no matter who you are, or who assembles your server, or how long it is in service, at some point in time it will need some service.  (I've had my unRAID server for over 3 years)  I posted my syslog in case there was something I was overlooking...  In other words, I wanted another set of eyes to look at the symptoms I was seeing. The online community here helps everyone, and does offer guidance and assistance to beginners AND seasoned users.  I was consoled with a response of "I don't see anything specific in the syslog"


Most likely if you have a problem a problem will be with a disk and very apparent.  Occasionally, a problem will be less apparent. (and my syslog had nothing to see of any consequence...)  Now that the power splitters are replaced the server is back working perfectly.  The new ones are of very high quality, and cost all of $2.99 each... well within the "budget build" category.


I fully agree with you that the unRAID product is currently much easier for a more technical user than an appliance operator.  But there are many who use it who are appliance operators...


If you saw the very first version of unRAID you will understand how much improved the user-interface has become.  Initially it was only sold as pre-assembled systems, because the management page had no provision for assigning drives to slots.  It was all in config files, and very complicated.  We are gradually make it easier for the non-technical user by writing an improved interface to many of those files and applications on the server.  You are correct, we need a more specific API to the management program.  Fortunately, because unRAID is built on Slackware Linux, it is easy for us to make the server into more than what it once was.


It is very tough for Tom to compete selling hardware, as Newegg, mWave, Frys, and others sell the same equipment he would at no markup.

It is equally difficult for him to compete with off-the-shelf mass-produced NAS solutions made in China where labor costs are minimal.


I agree, a fully assembled system is worth the extra cost, and that is exactly what I originally purchased from Tom over 3 years ago... with 2 "huge" 500Gig disks. (As big as they were back then... and at over $300 each too)  Tom sold them barely over his cost... just to help sell systems.  I know he did not make a lot of money on my sale... but hopefully over time his product has grown to where it can.


Joe L.

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If you don't want a drive cage for swapping drives, then this is the best one out there:




Cool temps, and a QUIET fan.  Some people don't like the mounting, but I do as it is shock resistant.


Saves you $100.


You also have to realize what and who is on this forum.  Probably only 1 out of 100 people who buy unRAID ever bother to post here.  And a large number of people going to the forum are likely driven here by a problem they are having.  So don't judge unRAID's appeal/stability/ease-of-use from the posts here.


It wouldn't take much to put together some HTML/PHP to handle e-mail notification and some other extra features, roll them into a custom build, with on-line updating, etc.  Basically some newbie idiot-proof HTML forms for data needed for various scripts that already exist.  I was planning to add that to BubbaRaid any way.   If you want to have fixed array sizes (4TB for example) and no adding/deleting drives, the unRAID interface could be greatly simplified (and made safer).  Go to a Sempron, 512MB RAM, mobo with fewer features such as no video card.  


You could build a better box than the BS.


The only piece I am missing is a small cube-style case with three 5.25 drive bays for the 4-in-3 cage.

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I realize forums are usually die-hards and those needing help...  I was purely suggesting a friendlier forum area for newbies and "appliance buyers" sure might be appropriate.  Joe, thanks for clarifying your posting...  Again, just suggesting that some of us - even capable among us - don't want to learn the details.


My resume includes years of C#, ColdFusion programming, Advanced Command Language programming of Robotic systems, hardware repair of such robotics units, CNC Milling/Lathe work and repair of those units, PLCs, motor control, CIM Systems, etc.  I've built dozens of computers from nothing...  It's just that I don't want to do that part anymore...  In my off hours, I want to pursue my photography (congrats to me - $1,300 in sales this week! - not bad for a hobby!)...  and not worry about my storage.


All that said...  I'm now taking the leap into UnRaid...  See this thread for the hardware I'm thinking of slapping together:  http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=2917.0


So, gentlemen...  what about the other ideas I had for the Lime team:


1.  You're focusing too much on features - and not benefits.  The main page explains you can use different size drives...  but doesn't explain the benefit:  Here I am with my Buffalo Terastation, drive failure... now I've gotta find damn near exactly the same drive that was in it (three years old)...  YIKES!  Another example: explain the BENEFIT of not striping...  don't simply say the technical part: "we don't stripe."  More than the power benefit Erik gave, striping also means when you loose two drives you haven't lost EVERYTHING.  (Of course a hot spare would be a welcome addition too!)


2.  ALREADY DISCUSSED, BUT STILL OPEN CONVERSATION:  You should consider offering a "lite" version of your hardware solutions (I think you used to - but not very small - and not complete)...  For those without "trial equipment lying around" it's a big bite to drop $1,400 plus drives just to get in the game.  (Can you offer hardware you'd be comfortable with, drives, license and all, and compete at the same price point as off-the-shelf RAID solutions?)


3.  Lots of prospects may have ZERO interest in going through the work to download, configure, install, etc.  just to try it out.  I'm not willing to do all of that.  The price point and the inability to trial it without a lot of work has been my primary deterrent.  A video showing how the software works, how easy it us, how you'll never need to touch Linux, etc. would be wonderful.  At the very least, some screen captures and explanation.  Then I'd go through the work, if I thought ODDS WERE GOOD that this would be a solution for me - but it may be difficult to get prospects to commit time, work, and the purchase of new hardware to "test drive" this solution.


4.  A professional, for-charge service who can assist in recovery procedures would serve the community well.  Frankly...  I don't want to be responsible for jack-diddly.  I just want it to work.  If I have a drive fail, I want someone on the phone to coach me through how to change the drive out and rebuild the array.  And YES, I'll PAY for that help.  Of course send away service could be an expansion on this offering.  (I STILL CAN'T FIND ANYONE ACTIVELY OFFERING THIS SERVICE.)


5.  Perhaps a "non-techie" forum would be good for general consumers...  Maybe the market hasn't reached that level yet - but all the technical talk would sure scare off the casual guy who just wants reliable data storage.


6.  A discussion of the upgrade paths is warranted.  Do I buy once and get upgrades for life?  How do I apply upgrades as a "know nothing user?"  If hot features are guaranteed to be coming (more than 16+cache drives, acceptance of drives exceeding the 1.5TB size available now) be sure you broadcast that message!


7.  For those that take a deeper look, it seems that this is pretty close to a one man show...  What is the legacy left behind should he disappear and retire for the rest of his existence because he got rich at his "real job"?


8.  It may be interesting to offer users the ability to "RENT" out space on their machines - and have the software in place to make it possible.  I'd sure be interested in teaming up with someone - We'd both have a pair of unRaid servers - and both house one of ours and one of theirs - providing offsite storage to each other - quite possibly as a simple no payment exchange.  At other times, I've had a couple of TB of storage I'm not using (but still powering) that I could share out for a price.


Are any of these ideas worthy of change?  What other ideas would really make this product exceptional and more competitive?





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This is not the marketing arm of Lime Inc.  Lime will do with unRAID what it wants to do.  No offense, but your ideas have been floated and sunk before.. and will be floated and sunk some more in the future.


Everybody wants to sit in the driver's seat, but no one wants to pay for gas, or be on the hook for overhead and capx.  If it is such a good idea, you are more than free to build the systems yourself, and sell them.  Monetizing OSS is a bit of a trick.... good luck.  Selling hardware is a cut-throat low-margin business with a lot of risk.  

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I want to comment on the "Lite Hardware".


Unraid is meant to be another option to the 4-drive NAS devices but not on the same level. You can't say it's a different market, Unraid and the NAS boxes are both targeted towards people wanting storage. Both are just different ways to achieve the same thing with advantages to each solution.


Those 4-bay NAS boxes are mass produced about as cheap as possible and it's very hard to put together some standard PC hardware and compete with their pricing if only supporting 4 drives. Now, Tom has probably found over the years there are people willing to spend the $1400 for a pre-built server ready to run. He has also probably found that the ones looking to do Unraid cheap want to build the server themselves. So, the "lite" hardware just never sold enough to keep continuing.



I'll just comment on this too in case anyone is still following this thread.


You left out drive cages.  Replacing, adding drives will require a screwdriver and opening up the case.


I did that on purpose. I was listing the cheapest hardware possible to run Unraid with 6 drives and you can screw 6 drives into that case. I know there are better ways, the Coolermaster 4into3 cage you listed is one and it will help keep the drives cool.




That PSU is making me cringe... At least go with a $50 PC Power & Cooling or Seasonic PSU.


Yup, me too. If I was going as cheap as possible this would be the one place I would still splurge and spend the extra $50.




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When you guys talk about "simple config of some setup file" and then there's a posting labeled "It's not just newbies who need assistance in interperting their syslog" (SIC) or something to that effect, my god...  SCARY!


I wanted to manually assign an IP address to my unRAID server, hence the edit. By default, unRAID is configured for DHCP so it should work without the need for that specific tweak. As for the syslog, yeah, sure, it's pretty complicated and interpreting it is likely beyond the scope of a newbie. However, unless you're having problems with your unRAID server (be it hard drive, controller, etc), there's really no reason you'd have to look into the nitty and gritty of your syslog. The web interface is enough to control and monitor the unRAID server for the most part.

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Hi Bubba,


Without getting into my personal business, I assure you that I know EXACTLY what it takes to run a small business (12 employees +/-)...  You're welcome to PM me to talk about my experiences if you wish...  If I wasn't already on the hook for three other businesses I own (or co-own), I'd certainly be curious to give a swing at this one.


As such, I also know what it takes to bring new products to market... and how difficult it is.


Most of my suggestions are not costly improvements on the product itself, but rather, more effective and fairly inexpensive ways to better market and sell the product:  :P


1.  Talk about BENEFITS - get off the features list.  I've already eluded to many of the BENEFITS that are NOT described clearly and plainly on the main page.  Those who know the product far better than I will surely have additional suggestions.  Keep it simple - three to five things that are HUGE BENEFITS over other products.  Damn, now you've got me going...  Here's a quick snapshot of the current LIME main page:


+++ Free software... cool    (once they click, yikes, I've gotta do what to get this going?  Server?  What server?  --- You haven't explained to me WHY I should try this!  Once they click free software, there should be a whole page of benefits justifying the download, setup, etc necessary to USE/Evaluate the free software)


+++ Hardware options direct from the vendor...  great    (once they get there --- the selection is terrible)


--- Who cares that it's designed to run off USB Flash drive...  No benefit, no care.


+++ Hey, I can get some benefits explained --- but the link to it called "unique RAID technology" sounds like a "Geek Link"...  Take the best parts of these benefits and list them on the main page!


---  The bullet list is all about features - mixing drives, spin downs, rebuild a failed drive...  First of all these aren't benefits (they are features). 


---  Second of all, the last two features aren't even UNIQUE to UnRaid...  You've left the value of your "special sauce" off the main page.


+++ True Incremental Storage...  Now we're talking...  ---But we're in total geek speak...  How about "Add As You Go Storage!" as the header?  Even a kid knows what that means!


+++ Better Fault Tolerance...  ---Geek Speak should be:  "Virtually Impossible to loose Everything!"... and then explain it, in Layman's terms...  If you can relate it to common items everyone is familiar with, you're so much better off...  This should be a VERY well researched correlation, but off the cuff, you could explain RAID kinda like company...  This company has divisions:  Management, Marketing, and Production - and then a Collaboration/Operations department which allows the other three areas to share ideas.  The company is broken up into Four Buildings... each with Four Floors. 


Building 1                                        Building 2                                        Building 3                                        Building 4

Collaboration/Operations                  Collaboration/Operations                    Collaboration/Operations                  Collaboration/Operations

Management                                  Management                                    Management                                  Management

Marketing                                      Marketing                                        Marketing                                        Marketing

Production                                      Production                                      Production                                      Production


Each of these buildings provides 25% of the work the company needs done to survive and has some empty space for expansion, up to 34% of the work the company needs done.  If one building were to burn down, those employees would simply shuffle to the vacancies in the other buildings and cover 100% of the output the company requires.  If a second building were to burn down, the whole company would fall into chaos and loose EVERYTHING.  This IS TRADITIONAL RAID.


Make sure these images are very good illustrations, showing the vacancies in the buildings before the fire... then the building on fire and the people running to fill the other buildings...  Get the message across.  :)


UnRaid works a little differently...  Their company is sorted like this, with the same vacancies:


Building 1 - MANAGEMENT                Building 2 - MARKETING                    Building 3 - PRODUCTION                  Building 4 - COLLABORATION/OPERATIONS

Top Management                            Global Marketing                              Distribution                                    Management Representatives

Upper Management                          National Marketing                            Quality Control                                Marketing Representatives

Middle Management                          Regional Marketing                            Manufacturing                                Production Representatives

Sales Team                                      Ad Writers                                      Prototyping                                    Additional Collaboration Staff


If the Marketing building burns down, those employees will simply shuffle around to the other buildings and continue their work.  If the Collaboration building also burns down, the entire Marketing division of the company falls into chaos and that division of the business is lost...  But Production and Management can continue their operations and their efforts are not lost.


With unRaid, you couldn't possibly loose everything - unless every single drive in your system fails.  (THIS IS A HUGE BENEFIT!)  [be careful how you word this: from a technical standpoint, if you loose every drive but your Parity drive, I think you still loose everything.]


Back to the main page:

--- Network Attached Storage - Mention the different systems it works with (Windows 98, XP, etc... whatever, Mac?  Linux?)  Don't get into mentioning the drive shares and blah blah...  Everyone expects it to be a single share that they can create folders within to isolate data as they choose.  This would be like talking about how great the tires are on a new car...  Everyone expects a new car to come with nice tires.

--- USB Storage - again, no benefit, no care.  Actually, this could be a negative...  Kids are always running off with these things from idle computers.

+++ Supports Multiple Hardware Platforms..  Good...  ---  But explain the benefit!  The benefit is that if you own this thing and run it for four years and some component craps out on you, someone can replace it without much trouble (perhaps a service company) and get you operational with relatively low cost and trouble.


2.  SHOW the product - What do the menus look like?  How easy is it?  Give me a video of the bad situation...  I've got a drive failure, how do I replace it and rebuild?


3.  Provide some kind of path for "Appliance Buyers" be it "off the shelf hardware options" or "a spec'd list of hardware to buy and the fifteen steps necessary to put it together" (yes, I'm literally talking about a PDF file explaining how to install your spec'd motherboard in your spec'd case, how to connect the power cables, etc.) or an "Appliance Buyer Forum" (probably not the best use of words in describing it... as many won't know they're "appliance buyers" and may consider the term condescending).


4.  Team up with a professional service and co-market your offerings.  You sell their recovery service through your site...  So those who don't want to touch it when there is trouble - can still come to Lime for Help...  You want to be the "go to company" specifically in the "home/small business user, safe large data stores" segment.  (Which by the way, is exactly where Buffalo and other NAS products are typically targeted - You must take them on.)  Adding to this, if your name came up as a suggested product by a few of the honest and reputable Recovery Professionals as a reliable system and they linked to your site as a suggested product, it works both ways.  I assure you, no one's looking for an UnRaid type system (with all of it's benefits) more than a guy who just crashed two drives on his RAID 5 Array!!


5.  Part of your marketing needs to answer the questions:  What is the long term upgrade path and viability of this product?  (If Tom leaves, is my boat sunk?)  This part can be quiet and in the corner, but the question needs to be answered.  (If I were your competitor, that's one way I'd target you.)


Presuming that your product development costs well exceed the cost of developing these small sales tools, I'd really encourage you to float some of these around.  You've got such a loyal customer base that some may even be willing to write and develop these sales tools for you.


Not to be too hard on you...  ;D  But....    :-X


What are your valid excuses for not doing these simple things?  :o



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Most of my suggestions are not costly improvements on the product itself, but rather, more effective and fairly inexpensive ways to better market and sell the product.


Ain't my job... ain't your job....


You made your suggestions, which is fine and dandy ... now you are just making noise.  It all amounts to nothing but making excuses as to why someone else should do something you want them to do, all at no cost to you.


I apologize to the rest of the forum for indulging a troll. 



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I certainly don't think this is trolling.  It's simple suggestions to Lime Tech.  At worst, it may be in the wrong place, since Tom may not read this.


That said, improvements to unRaid marketing that could increase the user base is of interest to all unraid users.  The better unraid does, the more likely the product is to improve.


Nothing wrong with a little constructive criticism.


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I'm sorry you took such personal offense to my posting...  I am simply interested in making this product more pervasive than it currently is.  Additional users would benefit all unRaid fans, the least of which would be Tom...  Who has clearly invested his heart and soul in a phenomenal product...


He's even grown raving fans of the product, which is a challenge unto itself...  More revenue coming his way would certainly benefit the feature set and make the product better...


I assure you that I spent well over an hour writing that post...  From which, I hoped, someone might see some benefit.


So yes, while it wouldn't cost me anything to implement these concepts, It's not something that I specifically want, and being an "Appliance User," I'd hardly benefit.  I can buy a solution from ANYONE.


It surely didn't benefit me....  I couldn't give a <darned> less if none of my suggestions are adopted and the product fails...


I surely shouldn't have wasted my time to know that I'd be wasting yours.



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bubbaQ no need to call the guy a troll for having an opinion other than yours. He is neither "intentionally provoking other users into an emotional response" or trying to "generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion" and I for one welcome someone wanting to put in the effort to make their point.





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I'm a brand new unRAID user, running unRAID Pro on a Asus P5K Deluxe + E6600 (both became "spare parts" for me a while back) + CoolerMaster 690 + 8GB of Kingston DDR2-800 RAM ($68 shipped direct from Kingston and ironically they even threw in a free 2GB USB key, even though I already had my USB key for unRAID  :-\).  Set up quickly and easily.


The 1.8 cents (adjusted for potential deflation) I'd like to add and hopefully in the spirit of the original thread as well:


1. With regards to the recent comments of "if it were a money making idea, people would do it...", I think people ARE doing it... not as unRAID, but as Windows Home Server.  HP, Dell, et al are selling low cost, easy to plug-in WHS machines because they see the potential market, and only they have the resources and buying power to compete in that segment.  I would presume that Lime Tech is well aware of this; if my suspicions are correct (having worked for small tech companies in the past myself), it's more a matter of internal resources than desire or inspiration, and with limited resources Lime Tech the company may have chosen a strategy of just fulfilling the niche market it currently fulfills.


2. With regards to choosing a solution based on cost- and cost to me is TCO... not just initial hardware but also time/labor + maintenance after setup ... I evaluated WHS, running a RAID-5 or RAID-6 array on a Windows Server machine, Solaris ZFS, and unRAID, as well as NAS type solutions like Drobo, as potential solutions to my needs.  My requirements were the ability to store large amounts of data, mostly media (pictures, music, video) for primarily read-access with user-level security, preferably integrable with Active Directory.  The solution needed to be extensible, survive a single disk failure with no loss of data (preferably two), and of course, using my own subjective opinions, maximize value (increased functionality while minimizing cost from a TCO perspective).

  • I ruled out WHS because the only redundancy it provided was mirroring for shares that the admin specifies, and I want everything on the array to be protected.  Although as a Microsoft Partner I have access to WHS licenses for no additional cost, I felt this made the solution more expensive longer term from a HW perspective since that's basically the same as RAID-1.
  • I ruled out Solaris ZFS basically because I didn't want to become a Solaris sysadmin to get the system up and running.  Online you can find people telling you "how easy it is to setup ZFS to protect your data... just run commands like 'zpool create pool mirror /dev/rdsk/c1d0p2 /dev/rdsk/c2d0p2' ".  Uh, yeah.  Seriously, I have years of UNIX experience and even studied the UNIX kernel back in college, but that doesn't mean I want to spend a lot of hours of my diminishing remaining lifespan figuring this stuff out just because I can.  If I do dedicate extra hours to this, it would hopefully be to extend the product (e.g. build a new UI, add scripts, etc. like others have done for unRAID), rather than just to get it working.
  • I ruled out the NAS solutions because, as others have pointed out, when you fill them, they're done.  Excluding RAID features, I don't actually see the difference between that and, say, a single really big hard drive (even if they currently don't have hard drives as big as a NAS).  A NAS a few years ago might have been 500GB in size; today I can stick a 1.5GB in my workstation machine and share it.  I want to be at the point where, when I run out of storage, I can delete files or just add another hard drive, not just the former... which I consider part of TCO (i.e. spending time trying to figure out what to keep and delete).
  • I ruled out running RAID-5 or RAID-6 on a Windows Server machine as I didn't want to implement it in software nor pay upwards of $1K just for a dedicated controller (e.g. 3Ware or Areca) and write performance was not that critical.  Additionally, I wouldn't have wanted to run it on my domain controller (for security), which meant implementing another server anyway.  I also don't like the idea of losing all your data (due to striping) if the requisite number of hard drives failed as well as basically being fixed into a specific make/model/size of hard drive.  I've run RAID 0+1 arrays before without too many issues, but that also meant, after some time, I had 250GB IDE drives still in use when I was buying 750GB SATA drives to put elsewhere.  If a drive failed on the array, at that point was I really going to hunt down another 250GB IDE of the exact make/model?


unRAID is not perfect, but it covered the most requirements, and the few that it didn't (e.g. no integration with AD), I can live with.  I did want to execute workstation backups (typically done with Acronis True Image) to whatever file server I did use, but because unRAID's write performance is slow and even with a cache drive I think frequent backups that get added and deleted will increase fragmentation over time, I will probably execute backups to an share on my Windows Server (not WHS) machine.


IMO, to make unRAID sufficiently mass marketable user friendly would take significant technical effort.  Even though it seems like "it's so close... all you need to do is provide a better front end GUI to hide all the technical stuff in the backend", unRAID is hardly a cell phone.  (Side note: I would like to see an abstraction layer placed in so that technical users like those in these forums could build their own management UIs to work to that API.)


If a user (like my mom) came to me today and was looking for a basic solution to quantity archive/backup, I'd recommend WHS because I think that would be cheapest for her (and me supporting it if it's my mom ;) ) over time.  If a technical user came to me today (e.g. co-workers with IT or engineering experience), I'd recommend unRAID, telling them what benefits they'd gain and how unRAID is at it's best when you are looking to provide the foundation for considerable amounts of storage going forward.


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Wow!  What a great thread.  At time of writing this reply I have just "skimmed" all the postings, but I will sit down and go through it completely in detail as soon as the relatives leave  ;)


I can share a bit of insight regarding design decisions & server pricing.


Personally, my background is in enterprise storage.  I've worked for Sun and several startups in the past.  My 'hobby' is home theater consisting of a 50" Pioneer Kuro plasma, Yamaha RX-V1800, HD Comcrap cable box, in-wall Sonance speaker system, Vista PC, and of course an unRAID Server.


I created the first 'unraid' system several years ago in order to store video.  The primary goals at that time were:

- redundancy: able to withstand a drive failure

- ability to mix drives of any size/type (IDE was only cheap drive type available then but also wanted to be able to support SATA as they got cheaper).

- ability to spin down all the drives when not in use in order to save power, wear & tear.

- ability to have system in standby mode most of the time - still working on this one  :'(

- dirt simple to administer.  Original goal was to have no admin necessary at all - just plug in drives.


Anyway as things have evolved, the biggest challenge is keeping things simple.  Back in my days writing software for enterprise RAID systems, we were always fighting "creeping featurism" which would delay releases and introduce instability.  Also, the #1 rule in enterprise storage is, "don't lose the customer's data".  This is also our philosophy at LimeTech - some might say with mixed results  ::)


As for server pricing, it's actually quite simple: we try to stay at or below $100/hard drive slot for base system.  If you look at most of the consumer level NAS boxes, etc., divide their cost by number of hard drives they can support, you will find that our products are very cost competitive.


As for entry level h/w.  Well we have several designs for smaller h/w.  But the problem is that in order to compete in this space, you pretty much have to have everything built in Taiwan/China, with massive order quantities.  This requires a great deal of infrastructure and capital to get off the ground & to be honest, I've dealt enough with VC and Angels & I'm not sure I really want to have to answer to them.... so... LimeTech for the immediate future anyway, will continue to self-fund & introduce products as we are able to.


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Thanks for taking a read - and some interest in this thread...


In another thread I started in Hardware, I have been able (with lots of advice from your fans) to build an UnRaid "TeraStation Killer" (Tera offered 3TB usable for $749 / I've got an UnRaid with 3TB usable built for about $950 - with good parts - keeping in mind that this solution is VERY expandable.... and confident that I can bring the array back up should a drive fail (a challenge with the Buffalo unit I already own).  (Benefits - not features!)


But I don't want you to focus so much on the hardware....


I just want to point out that many of my suggestions are not expensive overhauls of the technology - just some alternative ways to market and sell it.  Keep in mind that you have potentially two types of buyers - technical and non/pseudo-technical...  So far, you've only addressed the first.


Thanks again for looking,



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