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rory68

Re-newed Unraid User Support

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I originally purchased some server hardware and the Unraid software in 2011, but never put it online. Years ago I did some programming in Unix, but basically have no Linux experience.

 

I now want to install this server hardware in my residence and use it for multiple PC backups and media file storage. I am much more comfortable with a "graphical" GUI interface than a command line. I am not 100% sure, but I believe my existing Unraid is 3.0.35.

 

1) Does the lastest Unraid (6.xx ?) version have a graphical interface ?

2) Can I upgrade ?

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I joined the forum and built my first unRAID system in 2011. The current version at that time was 4.7 (and had been for quite a while), so I assume you are mistaken about that detail.

 

1) unRAID since at least 4.7 has always had a web interface.

2) If you purchased a license for unRAID, then there is a .key file which is associated with the GUID of a specific flash drive. You would have used the GUID from your flash drive to purchase your license. There were (and still are) a few different levels of license, depending on how many drives you intend to use. Your license is still good for the latest version of unRAID, but unless you still have the flash drive and its .key file you will have to contact Limetech and give them whatever information they need to verify you purchased a license. Or you could just buy a new license, they aren't really all that expensive.

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I am basing my information from the USB key data. A colleague recommended this solution as a good, robust server solution so I pursued the recommendations and as I recalled spoke to physical support resources at the time. Due to personal and work tasks at the time, I had to table the project without ever putting it into use.

 

I have attached a view of the USB key contents below for reference. The readme file appears to state Unraid Server 5.0-rc5 ( I had not noticed this previously). The USB file contents are dated June 2012, so this is when I last used this hardware / software until yesterday.

 

I would estimate my expectations are not aligning with the available resources. I am not locating a simple PDF guide on how to get started from the Linux root command line which the USB boot appears to execute. I imagine for a experienced user this seems elementary, but this is where I am stuck at.

 

I have attempted to search my personal email accounts for prior Lime or Unraid communications but I do not appear to have any. I do have a Unraid account dated August 2012 but there does not appear to be any useful account information.

 

It would appear I need to first determine how to "start" the Unraid application and verify the network interface. Next I would presume I should consider upgrading to the latest stable version.

 

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated, for at this time I am not seeing the "forest through the trees".

 

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Take a copy of the content of the config directory - it should contain your *.key file (assuming that you did install the key file before ending your project). The name of the key file will differ, depending on the size of the license.

 

With a copy of the config directory, you should then be able to follow the current documentation how to download and install a fresh unRAID to the thumb drive. Then you can restore the key file and you should have a thumb drive that boots a fresh unRAID.

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Have you tried to boot with what you already have? If so, are you just confused because the console gives you a login prompt and a command line? It's not required to do anything at the command line with a standard installation, either on your old version or on any later versions.

 

If you are able to boot, you can get to the webUI of unRAID simply by directing your web browser to the IP address of your server. Or even simpler, assuming your server still has the default servername, just go to http://tower

 

 

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Also, there is a lot of information on the Limetech website about getting started that should get you going. Just click on the Limetech logo at the top of any forum page.

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You will also have to (post upgrade) run Tools - New Permissions, as the permission requirements on files changed from pre 4.7 -> 5.x+

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I really appreciate all of the great feedback and your time to reply, but I am still unclear on my path forward based on my expectations.

 

The lack of not being able to communicate with Unraid support resources is leaving too many unanswered questions. I will attempt to clarify my thoughts.

 

  1. As I have stated previously, I obtained the files / USB from Unraid, but never had the opportunity to put the server into "operation".
  2. I have what I understand to be all of the correct files on the appropriate USB drive (please see below), but the system does not Boot to a GUI when started.
  3. I am not aware of the correct PDF document which steps me thru what I might be missing.
  4. One or more of the replies have mentioned a "Key" file, which does not appear to be on my USB ??????
  5. If I obtained the USB and files in 2012, why is it not configured to boot correctly ? Why do I not have the appropriate "Key" file ??
  6. My Unraid account login doesn't appear to have any useful information to help answer these questions.
  7. I recall speaking with Unraid resources in 2012 to obtain the USB and files, where are those resources now ?
  8. One of the replies mentioned using a browser (from a remote PC ?) and accessing the IP address of the Server hardware. I am not sure I follow this. There is certainly no browser applications running on the Server hardware. It simply boots to a Linux command prompt.

I can appreciate these questions appear strange, but I am simply trying to get a basic residential server up and running. I appear to already have the Unraid Server application files, so I would prefer to use then or at least evaluate the product correctly before I decide to find another solution.

 

I look forward to any additional ideas or suggestions which might be available. I think you can determine by my posts, I am not 100% clear if I actually have all of the correct components / software to meet my present expectations. Perhaps I obtained the wrong product for my expectations ?? Without having any success in getting the Unraid operational and no known visual idea / emulator / PDF users guide I am totally in the dark. 

 

 

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The system does not boot to a GUI. What you need to do is go to another computer on your network, open a web browser, and go to http://tower. unRAID has a web interface, which will allow you to do most things without ever needing to see the command line. In fact, you don't even need a keyboard and monitor attached to your server. It is a NAS (network attached storage) and like most NAS it was designed to be used and managed from other computers on your network.

 

Your .key file is inside the config folder on your flash drive.

 

 

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47 minutes ago, trurl said:

Your .key file is inside the config folder on your flash drive.

 

The previous post does show the contents of the config directory. No key file.

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I suspect that the USB drive you were sent in 2012 contained the unRaid system and the key file was sent separately by email with instructions to copy it onto the USB drive.

 

This would allow them to mass produce the USB drives and then process the distribution of the key file just like any other order.

 

if you do not have the key file then you will have to contact Limetech support and provide enough details so they can resend it to you.

 

 

You say that the unRaid system does not boot to a GUI .... this is expected for an unRaid system from 2012.    It is only more recent versions which support a GUI login on the unRaid console.

 

As you have mentioned that you get a login prompt then the system has actually loaded.    As has been mentioned by others, you must administrate the system using a web browser from another system ... connecting to it using the URL http;//tower

 

 

Personally I would find another USB drive, install the latest evaluation unRaid version on it (which will have a GUI login on the console if you select that boot option) ... you then have 4 weeks to get everything working and a copy of your original key file from Limetech.    If you place the original key file onto this drive in the config directory then when you boot you will be prompted to transfer the license key to this drive.

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29 minutes ago, pwm said:

 

The previous post does show the contents of the config directory. No key file.

 

I think that old version of unRAID had a free "license" that would allow a few disks without a key, so maybe you never had one.

 

Have you tried to access the server with a web browser on another computer?

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I again want to thanks each of you who took the time to share your knowledge and help guide me through my Unraid efforts. Due to your replies I have started to make some forward progress. I have also sent an email to Lime Technologies for some additional clarification.

 

I have managed to upgrade to 6.5 and have accessed the webpage. I am now attempting to understand all of the correct "next steps" and determine how best to add additional drive units to expand the storage size. I presently only have two 2 TB drives and no Parity disk.

 

What is the purpose of the Parity Disk and what would be an idea size ? I have several dozen 3.5 and 2.5 HHDs laying around and just curious if they are worth using in the server.

 

Thanks again for all of the great replies, they were all helpful in some manner.

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5 minutes ago, rory68 said:

What is the purpose of the Parity Disk and what would be an idea size ?

 

It provides data redundancy to give a degree of protection against disk failure. The parity disk can not be smaller than your largest data disk.

 

See this wiki page: https://lime-technology.com/wiki/Parity

 

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20 minutes ago, rory68 said:

I again want to thanks each of you who took the time to share your knowledge and help guide me through my Unraid efforts. Due to your replies I have started to make some forward progress. I have also sent an email to Lime Technologies for some additional clarification.

 

I have managed to upgrade to 6.5 and have accessed the webpage. I am now attempting to understand all of the correct "next steps" and determine how best to add additional drive units to expand the storage size. I presently only have two 2 TB drives and no Parity disk.

 

What is the purpose of the Parity Disk and what would be an idea size ? I have several dozen 3.5 and 2.5 HHDs laying around and just curious if they are worth using in the server.

 

Thanks again for all of the great replies, they were all helpful in some manner.

 

The Parity disk must be equal to or larger in size than the largest data disk;  Otherwise, you are wasting space on data disk as anything over the size the parity drive will not be used.

 

The Parity disk(s) - you can have zero, one, or two parity disks - protects against the simultaneous failure of data disk(s). If you have zero parity disks and a data disk fails, you will lose all of the data on that disk.  If you have one parity disk and a data disk fails, you can replace the failed disk and the data will be rebuilt by using the parity data + the data on all remaining disks. If you have two parity drive, two data disks can fail simultaneously and their contents will be able to be rebuilt.

 

The more data disks you have, the more likely it is that you can benefit from dual parity.

 

EDIT: By the way, and this is very important, parity is not a backup plan.  You should still backup all critical data outside of the array.  Many of us have two or more backup copies of our data in different locations.

Edited by Hoopster

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23 minutes ago, Hoopster said:

The Parity disk(s) - you can have zero, one, or two parity disks - protects against the simultaneous failure of data disk(s). If you have zero parity disks and a data disk fails, you will lose all of the data on that disk.  If you have one parity disk and a data disk fails, you can replace the failed disk and the data will be rebuilt by using the parity data + the data on all remaining disks. If you have two parity drive, two data disks can fail simultaneously and their contents will be able to be rebuilt.

 

With n parity disks, unRAID can support the loss of n arbitrary disks. So having two parity disks, unRAID can recover from:

- two lost data disks

- one lost data disk and one lost parity disk

- two losts parity disks

 

Any other failure combination means you lose the content of all data disks that was part of the failure. So for a three-disk failure, the best alternative is if two of the three lost disks are the two parity disks. Because then only one disk with data is lost.

 

With a single parity disk, unRAID can recover from

- one lost data disk

- one lost parity disk

 

With zero parity disks, any every disk failure means one data disk that can't be rebuilt.

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3 minutes ago, pwm said:

 

With n parity disks, unRAID can support the loss of n arbitrary disks. So having two parity disks, unRAID can recover from:

- two lost data disks

- one lost data disk and one lost parity disk

- two losts parity disks

 

Any other failure combination means you lose the content of all data disks that was part of the failure. So for a three-disk failure, the best alternative is if two of the three lost disks are the two parity disks. Because then only one disk with data is lost.

 

With a single parity disk, unRAID can recover from

- one lost data disk

- one lost parity disk

 

With zero parity disks, any every disk failure means one data disk that can't be rebuilt.

 

Correct.  I was just trying to keep it simple in general terms for the OP.  The Parity wiki linked by John_M is a much more comprehensive explanation of parity. Most users think in terms of data disk failures and protecting against data loss, although parity disk failures are perhaps no less likely than data disk failures.

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1 hour ago, Hoopster said:

The Parity disk must be equal to or larger in size than the largest data disk;  Otherwise, you are wasting space on data disk as anything over the size the parity drive will not be used.

 

Not sure exactly what you were trying to say here. It's not a case of wasting space on a disk that is larger than parity. You simply cannot do it. unRAID won't let you start the array if it thinks parity is smaller than any data disk.

 

(Except I do remember seeing some discussion years ago of "short-stroking" a disk, which requires some special preparation, to make unRAID think it is not bigger than parity, but I don't know much about that and don't see the point since we have the parity swap procedure.)

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27 minutes ago, Hoopster said:

although parity disk failures are perhaps no less likely than data disk failures.

 

A parity disk failure is most often the failure we prefer, since there are no data disk down and emulated while we recover from the broken parity drive. The only reason for not wanting it to be the parity drive that has failed is that they are often larger - and so more expensive.

 

28 minutes ago, Hoopster said:

I was just trying to keep it simple in general terms for the OP.

 

A number of users likes to think the number of parity drives specifically decides the number of lost data drives. So if they start with two parity drives, they sometimes think they can get away with losing two data disks and at the same time one parity disk, and not suffer any data loss.

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8 minutes ago, trurl said:

 

Not sure exactly what you were trying to say here. It's not a case of wasting space on a disk that is larger than parity. You simply cannot do it. unRAID won't let you start the array if it thinks parity is smaller than any data disk.

 

(Except I do remember seeing some discussion years ago of "short-stroking" a disk, which requires some special preparation, to make unRAID think it is not bigger than parity, but I don't know much about that and don't see the point since we have the parity swap procedure.) 

 

I haven't done it myself, but, I only mentioned this because I recall that at one time (perhaps I am mistaken) you could use a disk that was larger than parity but "fool" unRAID into thinking it was a smaller disk.  Again, perhaps that is an erroneous recollection. But, really, what is the point in doing that?  Just use the larger disk as parity.

Edited by Hoopster

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Gentlemen, very good feedback and exactly what I needed !

 

Okay, that prompts me to ask the next question(s). Based on economics and no real idea of how much storage space I will need, especially for media files (family pictures, home movies, etc), what would be some good recommendations for Parity and Data disks ?

 

  1. I presently have only two 2TB (non-NAS ?) drives installed which I have now configured as 1 Parity & 1 Data as a starting configuration.
  2. When I add more drives, I will configure the two 2TB units as Data drives.
  3. With an understanding on the need for Parity drives (2), adequate storage space and slight (6 ~ 10 USD) increase for NAS vs non-NAS drives. What is the recommendation for size, type (NAS / non-NAS / other ??) & RPM of drives to add to the server ?
  4. I am not overly interested in pinching pennies as I am in learning how to make the best choices. I am curious if the normal practice is to use 5400 rpm for Parity drives and 7200 rpm for Data drives or based on the minimal savings use all 7200 rpm (or higher $$).
  5. I presently have 4 SATA III and 4 SATA II ports total (two used). I have plenty of PCIe ports available to add additional SATA controller cards.

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6 minutes ago, rory68 said:

Gentlemen, very good feedback and exactly what I needed !

 

Okay, that prompts me to ask the next question(s). Based on economics and no real idea of how much storage space I will need, especially for media files (family pictures, home movies, etc), what would be some good recommendations for Parity and Data disks ?

 

  1. I presently have only two 2TB (non-NAS ?) drives installed which I have now configured as 1 Parity & 1 Data as a starting configuration.
  2. When I add more drives, I will configure the two 2TB units as Data drives.
  3. With an understanding on the need for Parity drives (2), adequate storage space and slight (6 ~ 10 USD) increase for NAS vs non-NAS drives. What is the recommendation for size, type (NAS / non-NAS / other ??) & RPM of drives to add to the server ?
  4. I am not overly interested in pinching pennies as I am in learning how to make the best choices. I am curious if the normal practice is to use 5400 rpm for Parity drives and 7200 rpm for Data drives or based on the minimal savings use all 7200 rpm (or higher $$).
  5. I presently have 4 SATA III and 4 SATA II ports total (two used). I have plenty of PCIe ports available to add additional SATA controller cards.

 

These are my opinions based on my preferences only:

 

1- I prefer fewer larger sized drives over more smaller sized drives for the simple reason that the fewer the drives, the less likely it is that more than one will fail at any given moment. With only three 8TB data drives in my main server, I am comfortable with a single parity drive.  The more drives you have, the more appealing dual parity is as the odds of more than one failing increase as the drive count increases.  There are many users in these forums with 30-drive systems and, until recently, when dual parity became an option, they were running these systems with a single parity drive.  Personally, If my system ever got above 6-7 data drives, I would be inclined to consider dual parity.  But, that is just my personal choice and some opt to have a dual-parity system with only 3-4 data drives. 

 

2- 8TB drives seem to be the "sweet spot" right now for price per TB.  Very good deals can frequently be found on 8TB drives.  Certainly, larger ones (10TB and 12TB) are available and 14TB and 16TB drives are not too far down the road, but, they currently cost much more per TB.  Last week I got another 8TB drive from Best Buy (combined with an eBay 15% off coupon) for US $127.50. When buying new drives, I personally do not see a reason to buy a drive smaller than 8TB.  Even though you may have only 2TB drives now, think of the future.  You are limited by the size of your parity drive(s).  If you think you might be adding more larger drives in the future, you might want to put in 6TB or 8TB parity drive(s) now so you do not have to swap out parity drive(s) as you add more larger-sized data drives.  Of course, larger parity drive(s) means longer parity checks.

 

3 - Your parity checks will go a little faster if you have a 7200 rpm drive as parity vs. a 5400 rpm drive.  My parity drives in both my servers are 7200 rpm and my data drives are 5400 rpm WD Red NAS drives.  NAS drives are not a requirement for unRAID, but, some prefer them. There are several threads in these forums that discuss 7200 vs. 5400 rpm drives as parity or data drives in an unRAID server with detailed discussions of read/write speeds.  I just personally settled on 7200 rpm for parity and 5400 rpm for data.

 

4 - It is generally considered a very good idea to stay away from disk controllers/HBAs based on Marvell chipsets.  They tend to drop drives with later version of unRAID.  When considering what HBA to add to increase available SATA ports, avoid Marvell-based controllers

 

You have a few choices to make, but nothing you do now in selecting drive sizes, speeds, etc. cannot be changed in the future as your needs change,

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