Thinking of unRAID - currently using DSM 5.2


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  • Hi,
     
    I currently use Diskstation Manager (DSM) 5.2 from Synology on my Xeon 1366 system by using a custom loader.  I won't go in to details of how as that would be inappropriate for this forum.  At any rate, the 'hack' is obviously unsupported and could be stopped at any time or the developers of the 'hack' could abandon it.  As a result, I am looking in to other technologies.
     
    To give some definition around my use, I will provide the current system:
     
    Xeon Westmere 5630 40w lga1366 CPU
    Supermicro X8DTE-F
    2 x LSI 9211-8is
    16GB DDR3 rdimms
    3 x 4in3 Rosewill hotswap sata3 bays
    Rosewill rackmount chassis
    2 x WD Red 3TB
    1 x WD Green 3TB
    1 x WD Blue 1TB
    1 x WD Green 500GB
    1 x Hitachi deskstar 80GB
     
    In DSM, I use SHR-1 which is single parity RAID5 hybrid array using mdadm and LVM2 to create the array.  It is fast and reliable, write speeds are normally around 100MB/s with read speeds saturating my 1GBe network.
     
    The array stores my VM templates and VMs from my vSphere hosts, games, music, videos etc.
     
    So, now if I was to replace this system what could unRAID do for me?
     
    1) DSM has an amazing interface that has a number of great plugins and 'applications'; how does unRAID compare in users opinion?
    2) SHR-1 concatenates the various drives using LVM2 so that it all appears a single, seamless drive and parity is rotated across all the drives.  I appreciate that unRAID doesn't do this, but how  does it deal with stored VMs or items that are bigger than the space on the drive?  Are they capable of spanning across drives, or if they exceed the drive threshold are they moved to the next available drive with space?
    3) Does unRAID have iSCSI?
    4) Can unRAID offload storage operations from vSphere (VAAI)?
    5) What write speeds would I be expecting from the configuration?
    6) Would read speeds be the same as a drive individually as there is no striping?  Presently, if I was running a 10GBe network (or SMB3 with multipathing) I can get around 350MB/s from the array.
     
    Any thoughts on these questions is appreciated.
     
    Chris
     
     

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I can only answer a couple of your questions...

 

1) Check out the Plugins and Docker Containers forums, there are literally dozens of excellent applications available - plus the ability to roll your own VMs.  The Community Applications plugin provides access to them.

2) unRAID user shares also concatenate all drives, subject to your inclusions/exclusions.  You'd want to specify a minimum free space on a share that is at least as large as the largest file you want to store.

5) I get anywhere from 35-70MB/s writing directly to the parity protected array (no cache drive).  Writes to a cache drive are subject only to network and disk speed limitations.  Also, unRAID 6.2 will support much faster writes via Turbo Write mode.

6) Read speeds are limited by disk and network speed (but I don't have experience with 10GBe).

 

Now to the more meaningful unasked question, I think.  I'm going to distinguish between the unRAID storage array and cache pool.  The parity protected storage array is ideal for large volume, low volatility data like movies, TV shows, pictures, etc.  It is not a very effective transactional data store and is not typically used for VM storage.  The cache drive in unRAID 6 has been expanded to support BTRFS redundant pools and is used as an application drive for docker and VM images.  People are typically using one or more SSDs as their cache drive/pool.

 

So, I think there's a little apples and oranges going on based on the way you use your array today and the way unRAID typically works.  As a perk, though - unRAID is actually supported...  ;).

 

Hope that helps.

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  • Hi,
     
    I currently use Diskstation Manager (DSM) 5.2 from Synology on my Xeon 1366 system by using a custom loader.  I won't go in to details of how as that would be inappropriate for this forum.  At any rate, the 'hack' is obviously unsupported and could be stopped at any time or the developers of the 'hack' could abandon it.  As a result, I am looking in to other technologies.
     
    To give some definition around my use, I will provide the current system:
     
    Xeon Westmere 5630 40w lga1366 CPU
    Supermicro X8DTE-F
    2 x LSI 9211-8is
    16GB DDR3 rdimms
    3 x 4in3 Rosewill hotswap sata3 bays
    Rosewill rackmount chassis
    2 x WD Red 3TB
    1 x WD Green 3TB
    1 x WD Blue 1TB
    1 x WD Green 500GB
    1 x Hitachi deskstar 80GB
     
    In DSM, I use SHR-1 which is single parity RAID5 hybrid array using mdadm and LVM2 to create the array.  It is fast and reliable, write speeds are normally around 100MB/s with read speeds saturating my 1GBe network.
     
    The array stores my VM templates and VMs from my vSphere hosts, games, music, videos etc.
     
    So, now if I was to replace this system what could unRAID do for me?
     
    1) DSM has an amazing interface that has a number of great plugins and 'applications'; how does unRAID compare in users opinion?
    2) SHR-1 concatenates the various drives using LVM2 so that it all appears a single, seamless drive and parity is rotated across all the drives.  I appreciate that unRAID doesn't do this, but how  does it deal with stored VMs or items that are bigger than the space on the drive?  Are they capable of spanning across drives, or if they exceed the drive threshold are they moved to the next available drive with space?
    3) Does unRAID have iSCSI?
    4) Can unRAID offload storage operations from vSphere (VAAI)?
    5) What write speeds would I be expecting from the configuration?
    6) Would read speeds be the same as a drive individually as there is no striping?  Presently, if I was running a 10GBe network (or SMB3 with multipathing) I can get around 350MB/s from the array.
     
    Any thoughts on these questions is appreciated.
     
    Chris
     
     

 

1) Unraid supports Docker, probably the largest "app store" around.. You can also just run VM's in it, so even if something would not be available as a docker, you could run it in a VM;

2) Unraid also spans accross disks. Although one file cannot be split over different disks. This is because an unraid disk needs to be also readable as a seperate disk, without beiing in the array, this is a major selling point;

3) No

4) No

5) highly dependent on your hardware.. If you use a cachedrive it will be as fast as your network/drive, without cache drive somewhere around 40mbps with short writes beiing a lot faster because of buffering

6) Yes, there is no penalty on reads, same as single drive performance

 

Elephant in the room: Don't use unraid as a vmware datastore.. It could work if you do it thru ntfs, but its not great.. You could potentially just rid of vmware and only use unraid.. This is what I have done.. But ofcourse that is a different choice.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm going from unraid to DSM... I need something that works with out me having to tinker constantly. TimeMachine never worked reliably, VM's worked good for 2 weeks then would stop booting out of nowhere.

 

I hope DSM is a more professional solution.. I no longer need VM's so im going to DSM cause a small celeron cpu is not capable of decent VMs anyway.

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