Observations after 1 week, keep or leave it??


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Hi everyone,

 

Briefly, I am not a network or computer nerd, however, I understand most of the things and find my way out soon or later in trouble situation with computers. 

 

I installed unRAID basically for 2 reasons;

 

- to check if its easier to use than QNAP, Windows NAS solutions

- to use gaming PC's hardware for NAS and Media Server so I needed a NAS OS

 

 Feedback until now;

 

- For a person who is going to use their PC for Plex Media Server, torrents and File Server, use Windows, easiest of all, huge community out there where you will find the solution faster than anything.

- If you need an all in one solution NAS, buy QNAP or Synology, forget about docker, share, container and paths

- I couldn't believe how hard to access the files from outside of my network. There are not enough videos on youtube, 1 or 2 people explaining it, however, it's so complicated when that route doesn't work, wait for a solution...

- Because the community of unRAID is small IMO, hard to find which program is overall best for a specific purpose. In other platforms, Google lists you several results. 

- 59$ ???? for what? Because of its a customized platform for NAS on an open source free Linux OS? 

 

For people like me, who is looking for headache-free solutions for plex, torrent, file server activities, this isn't the solution. sorry my humble opinion...

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If you call "headache-free" an easier setup, then you're about right, there's will be a handful of solutions out there to satisfy you.

 

IMHO, "headache-free" NAS OS is something that will never exist; or you have some workload in the beginning with a more complicated setup, or you will buy a pre-customized product that will be easier to setup, but may lead to catastrophic loss with the usage of non-friendly SOHO storage system, because RAID5/6/Z are enterprise-focused on data availability and integrity, not on data resilience. Windows, by far, is not suited to the task, I'm afraid.

Maybe LT could make things easier by creating some "wizard" setup that asks where the user want to store it's downloads, it's movies and it's documents, and the docker system request the predefined value instead of letting the user choose every path. But this didn't take the merits of the product itself.

Edited by gfjardim
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1 hour ago, turco said:

Hi everyone,

 

Briefly, I am not a network or computer nerd, however, I understand most of the things and find my way out soon or later in trouble situation with computers. 

 

I installed unRAID basically for 2 reasons;

 

- to check if its easier to use than QNAP, Windows NAS solutions

- to use gaming PC's hardware for NAS and Media Server so I needed a NAS OS

 

 Feedback until now;

 

- For a person who is going to use their PC for Plex Media Server, torrents and File Server, use Windows, easiest of all, huge community out there where you will find the solution faster than anything.

- If you need an all in one solution NAS, buy QNAP or Synology, forget about docker, share, container and paths

- I couldn't believe how hard to access the files from outside of my network. There are not enough videos on youtube, 1 or 2 people explaining it, however, it's so complicated when that route doesn't work, wait for a solution...

- Because the community of unRAID is small IMO, hard to find which program is overall best for a specific purpose. In other platforms, Google lists you several results. 

- 59$ ???? for what? Because of its a customized platform for NAS on an open source free Linux OS? 

 

For people like me, who is looking for headache-free solutions for plex, torrent, file server activities, this isn't the solution. sorry my humble opinion...

 

Obviously no solution is going to meet everyone's needs. But I offer the following points for your consideration:

 

1 - At its heart, unRAID is a NAS server. It will protect an extremely large array (over 300T with unlimited license) from most single (or dual if dual parities are installed) failures. This is real-time protection, which is continuously updated as files are added/changed/deleted. Disks can be of arbitrary / mixed sizes. Many here on the forum found the core NAS features alone (before docker, VM, or dual parity features existed) to be well worth the cost of admission for unRAID. 

 

2 - Opening your server to remote access represents a security exposure. There are VPN solutions available for unRAID to enable this feature, but do require some effort and understanding to get fully enabled. But there are other options that work for most users that do not require VPN. Consider Teamviewer (free for personal use) which provides secure remote access to a Windows box (VM or physical). Once connected, it is like you are sitting at home at that computer and on your network. It is very easy to access the array, and transfer files. Plex (free with Plex license) has a remote access feature that allows media to be accessed remotely. These two remote access features are very easy to configure even for the least technical user, and support the lion's share of use cases for those interested in gaining secure remote access to their server without getting into setting up VPN.

 

3 - If you look at the cost of a QNAP or Synology solution to support 30 disks, you will be spending a lot of money if it is even possible. I just looked at a server that supports only 8 3.5" disks at a cost of $1200. It includes a low power CPU inadequate for anything processing intensive. These are all-in-one hardware/software solutions, so license is embedded in the cost. It is part of the purchase price of a server upgrade. An unRAID server can be built very economically. All it takes is a basic computer, a $50 controller card, a couple of drive cages, and an unRAID license to have a robust setup for 10 drives. An unRAID server of the size and power of the $1200 unit mentioned could be set up for 1/3 of that cost, or even less. A $1200 unRAID server would be a very powerful unRAID server, or come populated with drives.

 

4 - The unRAID license is a one time cost, and easily moved to an upgraded server as storage needs and/or more horsepower are needed. The licenses are also upgradable to higher capacity without repurchase. No unRAID user has ever had to pay for an upgrade to gain access to new features - even with the adding of Docker, VM, dual parity, and disk counts increasing (for full license, the max disks have increased from 12 to 30 since I have owned). And when you consider the cost of the license against the hardware and drive costs in setting up a server, the cost is a very very small percentage. The ability to protect against drive failures at the cost of a single drive, means the most economical redundancy available.

 

5 - With the inclusion of VMs, many users are able to virtualize their workstation(s), gaming rig, media player and other physical machines to all run as VMs on their unRAID server. This is a very attractive feature for many, myself included. I am typing this into my Windows VM running on my 12 core i9 unRAID server with KVM hardware passthrough. And this is also supporting Plex which can transcode (even processing intensive 10 bit/4k HEVC video in software), with only about 30% load. Oh - and this is running on my unRAID full license that I bought in 2007 and have never needed to upgrade through 3 major server rebuilds and countless upgrades.

 

Certainly there are other NAS options in the marketplace, but I consider unRAID to be the most compelling platform available today. It provides parity protection, low entry cost, wide hardware compatibility, mixed drive sizes, perpetual license, and access to an expanding set of Docker apps for most every purpose under the sun. VM feature is robust and easy to access for folding multiple physical machines into VMs running on the server. You may find lower learning curves on the all-in-one solutions, but the training wheels come at a high price and are very limiting.

 

One final comments on the forum support. A conscientious set of very knowledgeable users, virtually all volunteers except the 3 LimeTech employees who rarely engage in day to day issues unless an email is sent to LimeTech directly, provide a high level of support to users with questions or problems. Complaints like yours are exceedingly rare and quickly rectified if someone is getting frustrated and posts in the forums.

 

You are certainly welcome to go elsewhere - but hope this helps explain the unRAID value prop as compared to other offerings.

 

Best of luck!

 

(@ssdindex - UnRaid vs QNAP / Synology?)

  • Like 2
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5 hours ago, turco said:

Hi everyone,

 

Briefly, I am not a network or computer nerd, however, I understand most of the things and find my way out soon or later in trouble situation with computers. 

 

I installed unRAID basically for 2 reasons;

 

- to check if its easier to use than QNAP, Windows NAS solutions

- to use gaming PC's hardware for NAS and Media Server so I needed a NAS OS

 

 Feedback until now;

 

- For a person who is going to use their PC for Plex Media Server, torrents and File Server, use Windows, easiest of all, huge community out there where you will find the solution faster than anything.

- If you need an all in one solution NAS, buy QNAP or Synology, forget about docker, share, container and paths

- I couldn't believe how hard to access the files from outside of my network. There are not enough videos on youtube, 1 or 2 people explaining it, however, it's so complicated when that route doesn't work, wait for a solution...

- Because the community of unRAID is small IMO, hard to find which program is overall best for a specific purpose. In other platforms, Google lists you several results. 

- 59$ ???? for what? Because of its a customized platform for NAS on an open source free Linux OS? 

 

For people like me, who is looking for headache-free solutions for plex, torrent, file server activities, this isn't the solution. sorry my humble opinion...

 

I'm not so sure if you would feel it's headache-free to fix regular SMART scan and mailing of health information in Windows.

 

When googling Windows, you shouldn't google how to share files. You should google how to recover files when the shit has hit the fan. The storage pools in Windows aren't really as easy to use as most information on the net indicates. The majority of the information is the "happy path" information.

 

If accessing your files from outside the network, you need security. Windows will not come with that security unless you invest time. Similar amounts of time as if you do it with unRAID. In the end, it's similar problems to solve - make sure the machine isn't available to hack from Internet. The best way to save time whatever type of NAS you select is to buy a router with a good VPN. Any other solution means you need to install one. And even with videos showing how to install, the #1 problem is still that you need to understand how a VPN works to understand enough that you don't make a huge mistake and leave the barn doors open without knowing about it.

 

When it comes to amount of information, it's often better information available here than for generic Windows installations. The reason is that all information you find if you use Google and limit the searches to this forum is specific to unRAID installations. And most of the information is relating to the most current version of unRAID - a huge amount of information about Windows are for WinXP, Win7, Win8 possibly with or without a service pack that revamps some important subsystem covered in the instructions.

 

You need to realize that the majority of owners of unRAID system already have Windows or Linux machines besides their unRAID machines. So we didn't select unRAID because we don't know what can be done with a Windows machine.

 

unRAID has lots of Docker containers easily available - including containers with Plex etc. You might think Docker is complicated and bad. But Microsoft figured that they want to support Docker on Windows. They didn't arbitrarily made that decision.

 

The cost? $59 is like the price of a decent CPU HSF. So a rather small cost compared to the cost of a complete machine.

 

In the end, it can be quite good to sometimes move outside of the personal comfort zone - even if it means you have to spend some additional time to learn some new concepts. It's not until after you have learned the new concepts that you will have the knowledge level needed to actually be able to compare different systems and be able to understand the advantages/disadvantages of doing things in different ways.

 

You must obviously make the decision what to use. But I don't really think you would get a better total "cost of ownership" by going your "headache-free" route.

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Bro, do you even computer?

 

Your feedback is not new, nor novel. It is typically expressed by those who can't comprehend the basic concepts of unRaid. It's not plug and play. It's essentially like learning to drive with a manual gear box in a car. If you've only ever driven automatic transmissions, then sure, it's not "easy." But if you take the time to learn how it works, then there are huge benefits. (If I can figure it out, most computer literate people should be able to do it.)

 

I left synology for unRaid and haven't looked back since. Best change ever. Not for everybody, but not that difficult either for basic functions. Maybe you would feel more comfortable with an unRaid kid mode with fewer options? Less overwhelming.

 

 

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As someone who owns a few Synology's and QNap's as well as has four active unRAID servers, I'll give you my perspective.

 

It really comes down to what you want in terms of your solution, everything offers something, the question is, is it what you want? If your goal is to run Plex so users outside your network can stream your content, then you better look into Plex requirements and figure out if your little QNap or Synology has enough CPU horsepower for more than one or two 720p streams. Also Plex has some complexities and while it's very straightforward to install on Windows, is Windows the right home for it? Maybe for you it is, but installing Plex on a docker in unRAID is very easy and simple.  Another consideration is expansion, will your current data grow? How much? How fast? What do you do when you run out of 26 drive letters in Windows?  You might get a RAID controller and dabble in that, but unRAID makes it a heck of a lot simpler. Getting back to your QNap or your Synology, how many bays does it have? What happens when you fill up the drives and have no more physical bays left? Sure, you can upsize your drives, but the rebuild can take a day or more, trust me I know, I've been there. If getting to your data from outside your network is a deal breaker, then stick your stuff in the cloud. As people have mentioned, it's a security risk to poke holes in your router to allow outside access. At the end of the day, if you really feel unRAID is not for you, hey that's fine, it's not for everyone. But do yourself a favour and really think about all the things you can do with unRAID and how you can grow with it beyond a four or six or even 12 bay QNap or Synology, I think you'll find unRAID scales better.

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1 hour ago, ashman70 said:

What do you do when you run out of 26 drive letters in Windows?

 

That's actually a trivial problem - Windows supports mounting of disks as directories just as Linux. So you can have c:\mnt\disk1, c:\mnt\disk2, ...

 

 

By the way - back to the OP. I currently run one RAID with Synology. Not bad. But not really good either. So I keep it as a backup station. It's good for a number of additional spindles.

 

I did look earlier at QNAP. But they are very expensive for 8 or more bays. And I earlier bought a quite expensive QNAP premium media player NMP-1000P. It stuttered for some movies, while my other players did not stutter for the same movies. After having waited for over a year and updated several times, I retired the unit and selected a competitor product. And at the same time retired any interest in other QNAP products since a company that can't supply working firmware for one brand new product within the first year of release can't be relied on to supply working firmware for other products that might be a couple of years old and no longer at the head of the priority queue.

 

One interesting thing with lots of the products on the market is that they are always described as very shiny and premium in the marketing material. And lots of the review sites also posts quite positive feedback - in part because they want to receive more products to review at a later time.

 

Best way to evaluate a product is to locate the support forum and follow it for a week - do the customers get help? Do the helpers seem to know what they are doing? Are they reasonably friendly? Don't forget to jump around on the forum to look for the boiling frustration that hasn't fully reached the level where moderators "magically" remove posts because they don't too explicit negative critique. For many manufacturers, there are often other forum where you will find out if the official forum censors critique.

 

Another thing to look for in forum, when evaluating a product - is there a way to suggest new/improved functionality? Is there any indications that the manufacturer listens?

 

If you wonder - this is a forum where people normally get good help. Most people who don't get help either posts extremely narrow questions - or refuses to supply enough information that anyone can actually even start to help. And the moderators do not have orders to erase critique - you don't find lots of posts with "what happened with my post???". And if you check the release history compared to the feature request thread you can see that lots of feature requests has resulted in new functionality having been added. Try that with Microsoft...

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  • 4 years later...

I've got say, I've just spent a frustrating week of vacation with the thought that I'd settle in and set up a proxy manager and Cloudflare tunnel on my Unraid box. I've spent literally hours trying to get connected through a Cloudflare tunnel with the thought that NextCloud, a website or a wiki might be a useful way to leverage my new Unraid server I built over winter. No joy. Am I bitter? Maybe a little. Just to say I hear what turco is saying.

 

I have PLEX and Syncthing migrated from my Windows PC/QNap and working well. The other stuff? ... really complicated ... perhaps too complicated. Like the origin poster, I'm no network guy or a nerd but I usually accomplish most of my own tech support. Is Unraid good for a newbie? Not really, if the intention is to move beyond the basics. I wish it hadn't taken so much of my time before I realized that some things I will just not accomplish. Who knows, maybe some day? In the past I've invested in a couple of QNap NAS's -- I get tiffed that they go out of date, firmware upgrades stop and they're so under powered, retirement is their only career path.

 

For now, I think I'll turf the dreams of Cloudflare tunnel through to Unraid and the many neat options that could open up. Do I "need" these things? Probably not. However, I would certainly appreciate some tutorials/videos/howtos that took the time to explain how these "easy" implementations in Unraid, marketed as a home server option, might be accomplished without a CS degree. or extensive programming experience 🙂 With the right guide, maybe dumbed down just a little for the rest of us, it shouldn't be that difficult?

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I've got say, I've just spent a frustrating week of vacation with the thought that I'd settle in and set up a proxy manager and Cloudflare tunnel on my Unraid box. I've spent literally hours trying to get connected through a Cloudflare tunnel with the thought that NextCloud, a website or a wiki might be a useful way to leverage my new Unraid server I built over winter. No joy. Am I bitter? Maybe a little. Just to say I hear what turco is saying.
 
I have PLEX and Syncthing migrated from my Windows PC/QNap and working well. The other stuff? ... really complicated ... perhaps too complicated. Like the origin poster, I'm no network guy or a nerd but I usually accomplish most of my own tech support. Is Unraid good for a newbie? Not really, if the intention is to move beyond the basics. I wish it hadn't taken so much of my time before I realized that some things I will just not accomplish. Who knows, maybe some day? In the past I've invested in a couple of QNap NAS's -- I get tiffed that they go out of date, firmware upgrades stop and they're so under powered, retirement is their only career path.
 
For now, I think I'll turf the dreams of Cloudflare tunnel through to Unraid and the many neat options that could open up. Do I "need" these things? Probably not. However, I would certainly appreciate some tutorials/videos/howtos that took the time to explain how these "easy" implementations in Unraid, marketed as a home server option, might be accomplished without a CS degree. or extensive programming experience With the right guide, maybe dumbed down just a little for the rest of us, it shouldn't be that difficult?

This is not a direct solution to your problem but three times in the last month and a half I have been on vacation and accessed my sever remotely through WireGuard. Plex is setup for remote access and we have watched many movies from the Plex server at home.

I am obviously not using reverse proxy and Cloudflare but Wireguard is very secure and easy to use as it is built into UnRAID.


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I've fiddled with WireGuard a bit too. I think I have it set up but no idea how to make it a reliable way in or out of Unraid. Not much help found other than, "it's all built in" ... not exactly? Throw me an up to date link or two for that!  As I said, I'm no expert. Just looking for info. It seems it's hard to find, even on this forum. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate it all!

 

I guess I find it difficult to believe that somebody using Unraid hasn't encountered the difficulties I face with some relatively basic setup. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm just stubborn? But I have spent a lot of time reading posts and watching videos that don't seem to ever get me to "joy."  😞 It seems often there's an unspoken assumption that this all should be easy ... since it "worked for me" and explained with no shortage of jargon and anachronisms. For the average joe, frankly it can be exhausting. Are there some step by step guides that actually end up with what the titles suggest? Seems the blind might be leading the blind (Me!).  I'm not entirely useless ... just need the info to get it done.

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I'll need to return to it after being on the Cloudflare tunnel / proxy manager merry-go-round for the last six days! My recollection is that while I could see evidence that I was connected remotely, I couldn't access my home network while connected. Thanks for the link.

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On 8/5/2022 at 8:19 PM, gmhall said:

while I could see evidence that I was connected remotely, I couldn't access my home network while connected.

You might need a static route defined in your router (I needed this) to access other devices on the home LAN (including docker containers on a VLAN). This is covered in the Complex Networks section in the link trurl provided.

 

I have WireGuard working like a champ for remote access to my unRAID server, docker VLAN,  and other devices on the LAN. I have access from two iPhones and two laptop computers running Windows.

 

Prior to WireGuard built into unRAID, I was using OpenVPN.  WireGuard is much simpler and a "lighter" protocol. 

Edited by Hoopster
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On 6/18/2018 at 7:27 AM, turco said:

Hi everyone,

 

Briefly, I am not a network or computer nerd, however, I understand most of the things and find my way out soon or later in trouble situation with computers. 

 

I installed unRAID basically for 2 reasons;

 

- to check if its easier to use than QNAP, Windows NAS solutions

- to use gaming PC's hardware for NAS and Media Server so I needed a NAS OS

 

 Feedback until now;

 

- For a person who is going to use their PC for Plex Media Server, torrents and File Server, use Windows, easiest of all, huge community out there where you will find the solution faster than anything.

- If you need an all in one solution NAS, buy QNAP or Synology, forget about docker, share, container and paths

- I couldn't believe how hard to access the files from outside of my network. There are not enough videos on youtube, 1 or 2 people explaining it, however, it's so complicated when that route doesn't work, wait for a solution...

- Because the community of unRAID is small IMO, hard to find which program is overall best for a specific purpose. In other platforms, Google lists you several results. 

- 59$ ???? for what? Because of its a customized platform for NAS on an open source free Linux OS? 

 

For people like me, who is looking for headache-free solutions for plex, torrent, file server activities, this isn't the solution. sorry my humble opinion...

 

I am not sure if you are being serious or you are trolling us. This community is pretty large in fact you have a lot of technical folks who are willing to give away their knowledge helping the community members even if the questions are very trivial and can be easily searched via "Search" button on the forum.

 

Lots of constructive responses in this thread specifically and if you noticed that people got defensive, this community is based on creating solutions especially for newer problems that might rise. We have high regards for the development team that tries to strike the balance of convenience, functionality and security ensuring newer joiners have a good experience adapting and adopting this solution for their homes. 

 

I will also re-post my comments regarding a recent sale on "PRO" upgrades:

 

Quote

Whoever needs to hear this:

1. unRAID is a rock solid solution intended for users who want to "set it and forget it".
2. This is mostly a "turnkey" solution for:
a. Redundant storage - supports up to two parity drives
NOTE: Parity drives need to match the biggest drive in the array
b. Can use mixed drive sizes
d. Multiple cache drive setups
e. Supports "pass-through" hardware for VMs and Dockers (hardware acceleration for Plex for example)
f. Plugin support - MASSIVE community repo
g. Docker support
h. VM support (KVM/QEMU)
3. User-friendly GUI

Let's refrain from attacking the points above with questions such as "Why don't you just use free open source and assemble this for free yourself" and then spend next 5 years questioning the purpose of life when every patch breaks your custom orchestration. Not everyone wants to tinker all of their life, sometimes we actually want to enjoy time with our family and friends.

This is intended for home users that just want stuff to work without spending weekends figuring sh*t out why it broke all of a sudden. Keeping things simple and stable brings most value, therefore this is a rock solid solution for that.

 

Edited by ezhik
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Just remember everybody this is his perspective on unraid. Everybody is entitled to their opinion even if we don't agree with it. ;)

 

Every time I purchase something I have high expectations too. If it doesn't deliver I either have to find a work around or return it. Luckily for everybody here we have a HUGE database of peoples knowledge to pull from. 

 

Unraid from its conception we've always said do not expose it to the outside world because you are taking a chance in loosing data or being hacked. People still want to expose it and as you can tell sometimes its just plain difficult because proper security is important. Luckily we have some options, but sometimes they are not the easiest. SAFETY of your DATA has always been the MOST IMPORTTANT deliverable from unraid. 

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2 hours ago, kizer said:

Just remember everybody this is his perspective on unraid.

Thank you kizer. I honestly don't intend to troll or to cause grief to the Unraid community. I also don't wish to create a bells and whistles campaign defending Unraid. I've had some frustration with access from outside. Several suggest this to be "easy." Following several guides (appreciated) to the letter, it's not easy, at least I haven't had success. I accept that Unraid may not have been designed with my use case in mind. although I don't think my expectations are unreasonable. Cloudflare tunnels haven't worked for me as described. Wireguard kills my internet on outside Windows clients.

 

My initial comments were only intended to suggest turco's experience may not be unique. I'll give Unraid some time and watch for solutions but I too long for the "set it and forget it" if I can reach the set it stage. 🙂

 

Thanks all.

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22 minutes ago, gmhall said:

Thank you kizer. I honestly don't intend to troll or to cause grief to the Unraid community. I also don't wish to create a bells and whistles campaign defending Unraid. I've had some frustration with access from outside. Several suggest this to be "easy." Following several guides (appreciated) to the letter, it's not easy, at least I haven't had success. I accept that Unraid may not have been designed with my use case in mind. although I don't think my expectations are unreasonable. Cloudflare tunnels haven't worked for me as described. Wireguard kills my internet on outside Windows clients.

 

My initial comments were only intended to suggest turco's experience may not be unique. I'll give Unraid some time and watch for solutions but I too long for the "set it and forget it" if I can reach the set it stage. 🙂

 

Thanks all.

 

Totally understand and all of us do too. Just a lot of proud users defending their favorite OS because its been a long run. Unraid has come leaps and bounds from when I started using it in 2009. There was no App Store, Dockers heck I don't even recall Dockers at all then. The level of simplicity that has been added is mind blowing because of users creating things or simply figuring things out and contributing to the Community. 

 

When some of the Veterans say "its not that hard",  keep in mind a lot of us came from the old system and have had time to tweak on things for years and share tips and tricks along the way. We have all learned a lot over the years and our work flows depend a lot on unraid and the things it does. I can tell you its made my life a lot easier, but I don't use a lot of remote connections. Plex and a few other things other wise my system is an iron box and I want to keep others out of it. ;)

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