General thoughts on the future of UnRaid


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I've been using unraid since the 4.5 days, and while over the years i've played with other storage solutions, I've remained loyal to unraid for one great reason; the product is rock solid.

 

With the latest releases of unraid 6.0.x, 6.1.x, a lot of non storage related functionality has been added to unraid. Plugins, docker containers and virtual machine support (kvm) are those features.

Like many others I too have switched from ESXi for my virtualizing platform to UnRaid mainly due to it's seamless GPU passthrough and simplicity of VM management.

While I welcome all these features and they are well integrated into the way the system works, I sometimes feels awkward to have to spin up the array to be able to start up docker containers, or a VM or even to issue a shutdown command to the system.

 

Also, while I understand why the VMs and docker containers need to shut down when the array goes offline (all the VM and dockers live on the array), it bothers me that I have to do that.

Can we not have a great NAS and a great virtualization, but don't couple the two together so tightly.

Maybe having a dedicated drive for VMs and docker containers would get around this along with an option that allows the VM or docker to run without the array being online.

 

 

Maybe version 7.x will be a complete re-think on the user interface and how the software runs. Since I can only see all these awesome virtualization features getting better over time, maybe it's time to consider that in the future, UnRAID will not be a NAS with ability to add plugins, but rather a software virtualization platform with awesome built in NAS capabilities.

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The ability to run VMs without the array started has been requested a number of times and has been acknowledged by LimeTech as a valid Use Case.  Dockers have been less requested but they also seem a valid Use Case.  Limetech pointed out that it is not that simple if they are going to sensibly handle cases where a docker or VM might be configured to use space on the array.

 

Coupled to this is the option to avoid unmounting the cache drive when stopping the array.  Also requested is having the docker service and libvirt left running on independently of array status.  It seems to me that it would not be that hard to make them start on system startup and stop on system shutdown.  In fact personally that would be sufficient for me as I could then run my VMs and dockers from a disk outside unRAID control and be independent of the cache disk.

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I don't know that it would take a fundamental change to allow unRaid to keep Dockers and VMs running across array restarts. The issue is that unRaid unmounts all drives when the array is brought down. I have: suggested that the cache drive should be able to remain mounted, must as the flash drive stays mounted regardless of the array status. If this were the case, an option to configure the VMs and Dockers that don't require the array to be online could be added.

 

Like you, I think this is a good idea and direction, but have to put it at low priority, at least for me. My array is up some huge percentage of the time, running for months without a shutdown. In other words, the times this would add convenience are rare for me.

 

(itimpi beat me to it. Sorry for some duplication with his post)

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I still run my Esxi environment and as much as I love UnRaid and also run a windows 10 vm on it, at this point I would not move my Esxi environment over to UnRaid at this point for the very reasons you mention. Its difficult to compare, Esxi which is an enterprise solution used by companies all over the world to run their virtualized environments whereas UnRaid is a home-enthusiast platform. I realize many of us run Esxi at home, but nevertheless until UnRaid matures or KVM matures to the point where I can backup my VM's and have networking features similar to Esxi, I won't be moving my vm's over to UnRaid anytime soon. I mean no offence to the Lime-tech team by my comments btw, just how I see things.

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A suggestion (probably made before) - add an Apps drive/pool, exactly like the current Cache drive/pool so it uses the same code and design.  The only difference is that the Cache drive(s) start and stop with the array, and the Apps drive(s) start and stop with the system.

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  • 5 months later...

A suggestion (probably made before) - add an Apps drive/pool, exactly like the current Cache drive/pool so it uses the same code and design.  The only difference is that the Cache drive(s) start and stop with the array, and the Apps drive(s) start and stop with the system.

 

This is such a good idea!

Currently all my VMs are on a dedicated out-of-any-array SSD... Theoretically for me it does not play any role if the unraid array is started or not, the VMDatastore path (/dev/sdh/VMDatastore) would be accessible if the array would be unavailable. I would appreciate it to give this input a real chance!

 

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Lobsi, I though the sd* could change between boots.  How did you manage to ensure that the drive with your VMs always gets allocated dev/sdh?

 

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Lobsi, I though the sd* could change between boots.  How did you manage to ensure that the drive with your VMs always gets allocated dev/sdh?

 

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk

 

@CHBMB, I am auto-mounting this ssd with unassigned devices, if i dont change my setup it is keeping on /dev/sdh.

This is also surviveing reboots so far... its working for me, for my purposes, but it could be done much easier and out of the box.

 

regards

 

Lobsi

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Lobsi, I though the sd* could change between boots.  How did you manage to ensure that the drive with your VMs always gets allocated dev/sdh?

 

Sent from my LG-H815 using Tapatalk

 

@CHBMB, I am auto-mounting this ssd with unassigned devices, if i dont change my setup it is keeping on /dev/sdh.

This is also surviveing reboots so far... its working for me, for my purposes, but it could be done much easier and out of the box.

 

regards

 

Lobsi

 

It's not guaranteed to work at each reboot, you're just lucky....

 

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=50570.msg485725#msg485725

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