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Just discovered unRaid

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Hi there, I have only just discovered unRaid and set it up on a spare box which I have lying around.  Somewhat amazed and taking this all in!


I currently have a Synology DS1813+ which is somewhat underpowered but nevertheless does a good job for things such as Surveilance station etc.  It has 2 x DX513 expansions connected to it, as one is mostly empty, would it be possible to connect it to this unRaid box using eSATA and use the 5 x 6TB drives which it houses?  as it's probably a tight squeeze to put them into the spare box I am using.  This would be a great migration option as the DX513 is nice and compact with fans!


I also use a rather out-dated Debian machine which contains various files and development server etc, for safety I use 2 x RAID1 SSD's for the OS and 2 x RAID1 6TB for data.  I guess that I could combine this into the new unRaid box and take advantage of more CPU and RAM etc?


Also I like to tinker with VM's and have an ESXi server with a bunch of HDD's that I rarely use, so ideally I could combine the NAS, Debian and ESXi boxes into one unRaid server!



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Welcome! I have been using Unraid for almost 2 years now and have been amazed with its features and reliability. 


I can't comment on your synology questions, but allow me to touch on the drives. You can add your 2xSSD's as cache. The 6TB drives can be added to the array,  so long as the largest drive is parity.  If you have the 6tb drives, and a bunch of smaller drives, one of the 6tb ones would be dedicated to parity. You can choose not to run parity,  but in my opinion that removes one of Unraid's best features, data protection. 


Keep in mind if you choose to add the 6tb drives or the SSD's, they will most likely need formatting.  Please be sure to transfer all the data off them to be safe first. 


What did you mean about combining the debian server into Unraid exactly? Transferring the CPU and RAM over? That should work just fine if the sockets and memory are compatible. I've upgraded my Server many times, even changing sockets from a dual core to a quad core, and finally to a dual socket Xeon build. Unraid always picked up where it left off at and never complained about the hardware change.


Again, welcome to Unraid and the forums. If you have any other questions don't hesitate to ask. I've found the people here are always willing to help,  and quite a few are very knowledgeable. 

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Thanks for the quick reply David, I wish I had discovered unRaid sooner!


I mean that I could run my Debian box inside a VM.  Would that VM utilise the SSD's?


I will experiment with unRaid on my spare box in the meantime and read some more info.

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You can give a VM a dedicated SSD via passthrough so it can utilize the whole disk. No other VM/docker is able to use it than, also unraid can't use it. This is one option, if you want a VM with a "real" harddrive/ssd. The question is, is a VM working with a OS already installed on that SSD before? For example let me explain my switch to unraid. I'am using a 16core AMD TR4 chip and had a Win10 installed on an NVME drive. After stumblin across Unraid and playin around with it, the first try passing through that NVME to Windows VM workted perfectly fine. Drives recognized and windows booted from it. In an worst case scenario where unraid won't boot up, I still can boot directly from that NVME and have my main system. I never did that with a "real" Linux install, passing that drive to a VM. You might run in some driver issues.


Other option is to have a vdisk sitting on the SSD used by the VM. Doesn't really matter if the SSD is used as a cache drive or a unassigned device, the performance is almost the same as in a real system. Keep in mind if it sits on a cache drive, copying files to unraid and having a VM running at the same time are multiple operations at the same time and can slow down the r/w performance in parallel operations.

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Interesting, thanks bastl, this sounds cool, although I will probably reinstall Debian, but I'll try the different options, to see what works best for me.  I guess that storing the OS on unRaid gives me the benefit of safety, if a drive fails.


So I just plugged in my Synology DX513 5 x 6TB external box with an external SATA cable to the unRaid machine and all drives show up in Array Devices, this is great!

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If you have a mirrored cache with 2 SSDs you will be save if one drive fails. On an unassigned device this isn't the case. There is no option yet to mirror devices in an RAID using unassigned devices. If you only use 1 cache device you also don't have any safety. If the drive fails, your data is gone. Having a VM on the array with a parity of one or 2 drives you won't have the performanceas on a single drive, also to be mentioned, the array doesn't support SSDs. You can use them in an array, but TRIM won't work and the drives will get slow relativly quick if you have lots of r/w operations on it. There are a couple options to backup your VMs. There are scripts available you can use to backup the vdisks and the xml of the VMs on a scheduled plan or you use a BTRFS formatted drive hosting the vdisks and use the BTRFS snapshot feature to "backup" your vdisks.

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