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Unraid vs. Raid 5 Drive Letter Counts

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Fellow Forum Members,

I have a RAID 5 setup with 10 drives in my home network. All 10 drives appear as a single drive letter in my Windows 10 ThisPC window.  Is  the same possible with an UNRAID setup made up of 10 hard drives? In other words, will I see 10 separate hard drive letters with a UNRAID network setup? Or is there a way to make all 10 UNRAID hard drives appear as a single volume in my home network connection in my Windows 10 ThisPC window?  Any post that will clarify this matter for me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

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Typically, instead of sharing individual disks on the network, you will have "User Shares". Each user share is a "folder" that can span disks. Each user share has settings that control how the user share is managed.

 

While you could have a single user share that contained all the files on all disks, people usually create separate user shares for different purposes, so they can be managed separately.

 

https://wiki.unraid.net/UnRAID_6/Overview#User_Shares

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Fellow Forum Members, I have a RAID 5 setup with 10 drives in my home network. All 10 drives appear as a single drive letter in my Windows 10 ThisPC window.  Is  the same possible with an UNRAID setup made up of 10 hard drives? In other words, will I see 10 separate hard drive letters with a UNRAID network setup? Or is there a way to make all 10 UNRAID hard drives appear as a single volume in my home network connection in my Windows 10 ThisPC window?  Any post that will clarify this matter for me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.    

 

UnRAID does not work with the concept of drive letters per disk or partition as Windows does. It uses user shares. Each share (top level directories) can span 1, 2, 3 ... up to all the disks in the array. The share names show up in Windows, Mac, etc. not drive letters. You can also export individual disks if you wish (not recommended).   

You decide which shares are limited to a single disk or span multiple disks per your needs.

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Posted (edited)

Have  a look here for a better picture of how Unraid manages data:

 

      https://wiki.unraid.net/index.php/UnRAID_Manual_6#User_Shares

 

Each file is stored using a standard Linux format on a single disk.    This means that if something were to happen that were to happen to the server hardware, any disk that survives can can have its data easily recovered unlike a normal RAID setup.  

 

EDIT:  Another thing that can easily be done on Windows computers is to 'Map' a single User Share to a drive letter.  If you have allowed that User Share to span your entire Unraid array (of data disks), that single drive letter could access many tens of TB's of data. 

Edited by Frank1940

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Thank you to everybody for their postings. I have the following analogy as a followup question. Let's say I have an empty shoebox and it fills up with 100% of my baseball card collection. Nevertheless, I keep on buying baseball cards and to properly store them I need to acquire a second empty shoebox. If the first shoebox represents an UnRaid User Share I named "baseball card collection" and it resides on a 1TB hard drive, does adding a second shoebox (second 1TB hard drive) require I make a new UnRaid User Share called "baseball card collection Part 2"?  Or will UnRaid allow me to add a second 1TB hard drive under the original "baseball card collection" User Share? I'm just basically trying to understand how UnRaid handles spill over data when you run out of hard drive space and need to add a new hard drive. Can the original "baseball card collection" User Share be indefinitely expanded with new hard drives additions to it?  If the answer is yes, that will be cool. Because I can keep my User Shares to minimum amount.  Thanks to all again for your postings  and I plan to hit some of the Unraid learning material this weekend.   

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1 hour ago, binar said:

Thank you to everybody for their postings. I have the following analogy as a followup question. Let's say I have an empty shoebox and it fills up with 100% of my baseball card collection. Nevertheless, I keep on buying baseball cards and to properly store them I need to acquire a second empty shoebox. If the first shoebox represents an UnRaid User Share I named "baseball card collection" and it resides on a 1TB hard drive, does adding a second shoebox (second 1TB hard drive) require I make a new UnRaid User Share called "baseball card collection Part 2"?  Or will UnRaid allow me to add a second 1TB hard drive under the original "baseball card collection" User Share? I'm just basically trying to understand how UnRaid handles spill over data when you run out of hard drive space and need to add a new hard drive. Can the original "baseball card collection" User Share be indefinitely expanded with new hard drives additions to it?  If the answer is yes, that will be cool. Because I can keep my User Shares to minimum amount.  Thanks to all again for your postings  and I plan to hit some of the Unraid learning material this weekend.   

 

Taking your analogy a bit further, you can also determine on a share-by-share basis how it will fill up you shoeboxes.  This is called the "allocation method."

 

Say you have four shoeboxes to begin with.  You can tell the Photos share that it only knows about shoeboxes #3 and #4 and you want it to fill up shoebox #3 before it starts putting photos in shoebox #4.  At the same time, you could have a Movies share that knows about all four shoeboxes, but, you tell it to put movies in a shoebox until it is half full.  When it is half full, you want movies stored in another shoebox until it is half full, then, movies get stored in yet another shoebox until it is half full, and so on.  Remember that in shoe box #3 and #4, photos are also being stored there, so that storage is also being counted toward the "half full" count as well.  When all four shoeboxes are half full (50%), movies will go back to being stored in the first shoebox until its remaining storage is then half full (now the disk is 75% full).  Movies will then be stored on the next disk until it is 75% full and so on.

 

With Photos and Movies working this way, you could also have another share called Documents that is told to look for the shoebox with the most free space and to put documents there.

 

In addition, you have another setting called split level that determines how much data (by directory levels) has to be in the same shoebox.  Allocation method and split level work together to determine how your shoboxes are used, but split level may force force more things into a particular shoebox beyond the allocation method thresholds.

 

As was already mentioned, at any time you can add more shoeboxes and for those shares told to use all shoeboxes (or to exclude only certain shoeboxes already in the array), additional shoeboxes will begin to be used automatically depending upon share allocation methods.  For shares told to use specific shoeboxes only, you would need to tell the share it can use the new shoeboxes.

 

Bottom line:  There is a ton of flexibility in how shares store data in your "shoeboxes!"

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10 hours ago, binar said:

I'm just basically trying to understand how UnRaid handles spill over data when you run out of hard drive space and need to add a new hard drive. Can the original "baseball card collection" User Share be indefinitely expanded with new hard drives additions to it?  If the answer is yes, that will be cool.

LEt me give you an example.  I have a User Share on my Media server named  'Media'.  This User Share spans all six of my data drives.  Below is how that data is dispersed across those six drives:

 

image.thumb.png.45fd31c2dae0a9a92cdcbe801be34a9c.png

 

Let me further state that my original Media server had only three 1TB data drives (and a 1TB parity drive) installed.  It now has six 3TB data drives (with a 6TB parity so that the next data drive replacement can be a 6TB drive) and this was done by either (1) adding an additional data drive or (2) replace a 1TB drive with a 3TB drive and allowing the data on that old 1TB drive to be rebuilt onto the new 3TB drive. 

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Thank you to all for contributing to this post. In hindsight five years ago I should have decided on setting up an Unraid system over a RAID 5 system.  It would have been a smarter move because now I have a lot of work ahead me in building a new Unraid system from scratch. 

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