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immageek

Switch from FreeNas to unRaid?

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So for the last year and a half I've had a FreeNas box running without issues pretty much running only Plex. FreeNas is horrible for VMs so that's part of my thought train here to move to unRaid. I'm curious as to if it's worthwhile to keep my gear as is and just move over to unRaid or get a new CPU, motherboard and Ram? Specs are below.

 

Supermicro X9SLR-f motherboard

Intel Xeon E5-2650v2 CPU

32GB Samsung DDR3 ECC memory

LSI 9211 controller

Fractal R4 case

6 - 4TB HDST 7200RPm NAS drives

128GB SATA SSD boot drive

 

The NAS stores mostly movies, a mix of 4K and 1080p, and some system backups and just stores files. I'd like to obvioulsy do Plex, VMs, thinking about moving my Blue Iris over to it and a few other things down the road. Would I be alright with this rig or should I look into a Ryzen 5 2600x, which is what I'm considering to buy. I have a Quadro M2000 on hand and might have access to a P2000, but let's not swing this all on that card. 

 

Or would I be best to leave it alone for now. My only other thing is storage expansion SUCKS on FreeNas and I'm nearing that now, so unRaid would be more flexible for me in that regards.

 

Thought?

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Would there be a better subforum than this to get some info, thoughts or suggestions? Would have thought I would have at least one reply by now. lol

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23 minutes ago, immageek said:

Would there be a better subforum than this to get some info, thoughts or suggestions? Would have thought I would have at least one reply by now. lol

Often, some of the more helpful members of this forum are busy addressing issues in forums in which they have already participated because of the notifications they receive.  A new post can get buried when it is not noticed quickly because, as you can tell, these are very active forums. 

 

Generally, the majority here are very helpful and the type of question you have asked comes up often and is usually addressed by those who have had similar experiences.

 

I'll come back in a couple of hours with my thoughts on your original post, but, I am currently still in work-from-home mode with a Zoom conference coming up in a few minutes.

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On 3/21/2020 at 1:25 PM, immageek said:

So for the last year and a half I've had a FreeNas box running without issues pretty much running only Plex. FreeNas is horrible for VMs so that's part of my thought train here to move to unRaid. I'm curious as to if it's worthwhile to keep my gear as is and just move over to unRaid or get a new CPU, motherboard and Ram? Specs are below.

unRAID does do quite well with VMs.  Many users have combined several machines into one unRAID server with VMs.  Whether or not you can get by with your existing hardware or whether you need new hardware will depend a lot on exactly what you need your VMs to do. 

 

You have 8 cores and 16 threads with your current CPU.  You have 6 cores and 12 threads with the Ryzen you are considering although it does run the cores at a higher clock speed.  With VMs that will be constantly running, Blue Iris, for example, you will want to dedicate cores to the VM.  How many VMs you have running and how processor intensive they are will help you determine your processor needs.  If you go crazy with VMs,  8 cores/16 threads won't cut it.

 

Also, you have to consider what additional hardware you may need to pass through to the VMs such as graphics cards, USB controllers, etc.  Your system needs to be able to handle all the hardware your base server + VMs may need and that means PCIe slots and lanes need to be considered.

 

On 3/21/2020 at 1:25 PM, immageek said:

The NAS stores mostly movies, a mix of 4K and 1080p, and some system backups and just stores files. I'd like to obvioulsy do Plex, VMs, thinking about moving my Blue Iris over to it and a few other things down the road. Would I be alright with this rig or should I look into a Ryzen 5 2600x, which is what I'm considering to buy. I have a Quadro M2000 on hand and might have access to a P2000, but let's not swing this all on that card. 

UnRAID is a great Plex or other media server platform.  Frankly, you ought to look into all the Docker containers available in unRAID.  Many of us find that VMs are not necessary and unRAID is a much better Docker host than FreeNAS (based on what other say, I have never used FreeNAS personally).  No Blue Iris docker container, so for that you defintely need a VM. 

 

For Plex/Emby/HandBrake hardware transcoding, the Quadro P2000 seems to be a very popular choice.  You'll need the unRAID Nvidia plugin and associated unRAID build to support that, but, there a good deal of very happy users running that build.  It only supports certain Nvidia GPUs so make sure you check the supported GPU list.

 

On 3/21/2020 at 1:25 PM, immageek said:

Or would I be best to leave it alone for now. My only other thing is storage expansion SUCKS on FreeNas and I'm nearing that now, so unRaid would be more flexible for me in that regards.

Your existing hardware will run unRAID, dockers, NAS functions and a VM very nicely.  If I were you, I would just use what you have to get familiar with unRAID and see what you have.  Then you can decide if you need different hardware after you understand better your needs and the capabilities of unRAID.

 

Motherboard/CPU/RAM hardware swaps are very easy with unRAID.  VMs may be a bit more complicated depending on hardware pass through needs, but, it is still not too bad to deal with.  The unRAID license is associated with the USB flash drive from which unRAID boots rather than any hardware configuration. Swap most hardware to your heart's content.

 

As you know, adding and swapping hard drives in unRAID is very easy; much more so than with FreeNAS.  UnRAID, as it's name says, is not RAID yet affords some measure of protection against hard drive failure via the Parity drive(s).

 

 

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Thanks for the reply and information. It's good to hear that what I have can work. The only thought on going the Ryzen route would be to hopefully consume less power draw compared to my Xeon rig. Seeing as I currently don't have a Plex Pass any trancoding is done by the CPU and so far hasn't effected anything, granted it's usually just 1 stream, since I didn't realize until it's too late that the Apple TV 4K doesn't direct play MKVs so Plex has to transcode those, hopefully I'll get around to converting them to MP4, once in a blue moon a remote stream. 

 

As for VMs, it would probably be just one Windows 10 VM running fully time with BI, that is if I even decide to move it over from the dedicated box it's on now. But the one I'm really thinking about moving over is my firewall, so that I can retire that box. It's currently untangle, but I might switch it over to opensense, so a single core will run that no problem.

 

With 6 drives, would it be fine to have just 1 parity drive? Right now 2 of them are parity as that's why they suggest. I have a 7th 4TB drive that I would use for parity and the other 6 would be for storage. At what line do you consider a second parity drive with unRaid?

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7 minutes ago, immageek said:

With 6 drives, would it be fine to have just 1 parity drive? Right now 2 of them are parity as that's why they suggest. I have a 7th 4TB drive that I would use for parity and the other 6 would be for storage. At what line do you consider a second parity drive with unRaid?

Based on Backblaze HDD failure stats, I would say you won't need dual parity until you have 8+ data drives.

That is assuming you stress test (e.g. run a preclear cycle) EVERY drive before adding to the array (including any existing drive you think is good - just because it has been working doesn't mean it isn't dying).

Another thing to note is that HDD fails in probabilistic patterns so if you can afford it, have fewer 8+TB drives instead of more lower capacity drives. The more drives you have, the more likely you will have a failed drive.

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40 minutes ago, immageek said:

With 6 drives, would it be fine to have just 1 parity drive?

The advice from @testdasi is spot on based on the experience of many unRAID users.  You should be fine with a single parity drive with only six data drives. 

 

There is no exact line at which two parity drives are needed.  It all comes down to your tolerance level for drive failures.  Single parity protects against a single drive failure; dual parity protects against the simultaneous failure of two drives.  As the number of drives increases, the possibility of two failing simultaneously increases.  Eight plus is a good number at which to consider dual parity.

 

One of the best things about unRAID vs. FreeNAS, or other RAID based solutions, is that if more than the number of drives protected by parity fail, you only lose the data on the "extra" drives.  For example, if you have dual parity and three drives fail, you only lose the data on the third drive.  With RAID, you lose ALL the data on ALL drives in this scenario. Parity is not data backup, so make sure your important data is backed up to protect against data loss due to a number of factors and not just multiple drive failure.

 

Of course, you want to use the drives you currently have, but, as you begin to replace drives, you definitely want to go with 8TB and larger drives.  Fewer larger drives is better than more smaller drives,  Just keep in mind that your parity drive(s) need to be at least as large as the largest data drive.  You can't replace a 4TB data drive with a 10TB drive unless the parity drive is first upgraded to at least a 10TB drive.

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