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Phillips2010

Is Unraid right for me?

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Hello forum,

 

I have been contemplating switching to Unraid for a few years now and I am wondering if now is the time for me to take the jump and invest in an Unraid system. I have previously used Synology, Windows and Mac and for one reason or another I have felt the need to change. Before doing so I wanted to share why I am considering Unraid and what I hope to achieve so I can benefit from the knowledge of others before jumping in.

 

CURRENT SET UP

My current NAS set up is a 2014 Mac Mini with i5 and 4GB RAM. The OS can no longer be updated and the lack of RAM makes it painful to screen share into for administration. Connected to it is 4 x USB raid enclosures.

Raid enclosure 1 - 4 x 6TB drives in Raid5 giving 18TB usable space (8.87TB currently free) - day to day files

Raid enclosure 2 - 4 x 6TB drives in Raid5 giving 18TB usable space (3.92TB currently free) - long term storage
Raid enclosure 3 - 4 x 4TB drives in Raid5 giving 12TB usable space (1.5TB currently free) - plex media library

Raid enclosure 4 - 2 x 3TB drives in Raid0 giving 6TB usable space (3.26TB currently free) - TimeMachine backup

 

It sits next to my desk in its own modified Ikea cabinet hiding a mess of cables (beautiful cable management) behind it. But this is fine because for the most part the mess is out of sight.

 

The Mac Mini is a file server connected to my iMac through a thunderbolt cable and my MacBook through the local network. It also runs a plex media server accessible offsite for myself and my family to access a range of SD and HD content saved as .mp4 files.

 

Plex is hit and miss on whether streams work when you have more than one person trying to watch something or when watched from certain devices. A friend gave me access to their plex media library and when I struggled to stream on my local network from my own set up, I can access theirs remotely without issue and despite tweaking settings I still have issues so putting this down to the Mac Mini.

 

I am also conscious of the scalability of my current storage system to easily add capacity to each storage share without moving all the data off the drives to install new larger drives and transfer the data back. Unraid appears to tick the box of being able to pool all my drives and add new drives of varying capacities as required for the benefit of all storage shares.

 

One of the things I love about my current set up is I have a Backblaze personal account and have every file backed up to the cloud through their service. Unraid running on Linux means I am unable to use Backblaze personal at $5/month, increasing cost to $5/TB/month making this not cost effective. I have looked at Crashplan for small business but their average upload speeds makes this not viable either.

 

THE PLAN

My plan is to buy a SuperMicro CSE-846 as my exclosure providing me with 24 hard drive bays. More bays than I need but will future proof me.

I plan to buy this pre-configured with 2 x E5-2620v2 CPUs, 32GB RAM and HBA card.

I plan to have a single 14TB parity drive with following drives for data:

1 x 12TB

6 x 6TB repurposed from my current set up

 

I will add a single 14TB drive as a parity and 12TB drive for data. I will begin migrating data then add my 6TB drives as I free them of content from my current set up. I am also considering the addition of a 240GB SSD cache drive and a 240GB SSD for plex metadata and VM data.

 

I will gift my 4TB drives to a friend for their own project. I plan to use the 2 left over 6TB drives as direct storage for my iMac with a view of moving some of the files currently stored on raid enclosure 1 to create DAS.

 

Once data migration is completed I plan to move the Unraid box to my workplace where I am allowed to install it in their server rack. They have a fibre connection of 70Mb down and 20Mb up. This will mean the server benefits from redundant power supplies and the company firewall. My server can be placed on its own VLAN to segregate it from the office infrastructure. I also won’t have to worry about system noise levels as it will not be housed next to my desk.

 

Day to day files and my large photos library will be on the DAS for easy access. I will also keep my TimeMachine backup onsite on its existing raid enclosure.

 

I will set up port forwarding for Plex. I am uncertain the best way to migrate my existing database files and metadata to a Plex docker and therefore wonder if setting up Plex in a VM, while adding overhead will make the migration easier.

 

I will install a VM on Unraid with TeamViewer or equivalent set up for me to remotely login to the Unraid system. I am considering the use of ftp to transfer files to Unraid and on the rare occasion I need to, remotely access the files on the system. I will predominately pushing data to Unraid.

 

Backup solution will be an issue but if my most important, irreplaceable data is on the DAS, I can continue to protect this with Backblaze, mitigating some of the risk.

 

QUESTIONS

Please can I have your thoughts on whether this sounds like a good solution.

Do you thing Plex should be in a docker or VM and do you have any guidance on how to migrate this from Mac OS?

Do my system specs sounds powerful enough?

Is my planned method, a safe and effective method for offsite file access? I understand Unraid is not intended to be a cloud storage device.

Does anyone have recommendation on cloud backup solutions for large data sets?

Is there anything I have missed?

Is there a reason you would recommend I don’t switch to Unraid?

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to the forums comments and recommendations. I 

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Posted (edited)

Hi Phillips2010

 

First up I'm no expert. Just a regular home based nerd type :)

 

So I read your whole post and thought there is a simple answer -

 

Basically Unraid just works !

 

I was a long time freenas user, it also works as a NAS storage solution but you can't just add more random drives into a freenas pool.

Once I filled up my drives I started looking at options and I stumbled upon Unraid.

 

Unraid really has been the best decision I made, a re-purposed dual E5-2690 dell server, running 32GB ram and a 1TB ssd for a cache barely gets warm running multiple dockers, a few vms, a media server with associated downloading, re-encoding and processing and all whilst dealing with storage for a small business, Access Control for users is straight forward and also works as expected.

 

Managing Shares, Users and Vm's is all pretty straightforward too.

 

I am unsure about Backblaze rules and definitions, but there is a possibility that a pc/mac VM with access to any shares you wanted backed up could allow you to still run the personal backup service?

 

 

The excelent Community Applications plugin provides access to a large number of functioning docker containers, set up and execution of these is simple for even the less experienced nerds amoungst us.

Also no need for teamviewer as within the excelent Community Applications (CA) plugin there exists a fully functional Wireguard app, although you will need to open a port in your Work firewall if thats where the server resides.

 

To help with your decision making I highly recomend you check out the tutorials by Spaceinvader One -

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZDfnUn74N0WeAPvMqTOrtA

you will see these excelent tutorials refered to time and time again throughout the forums which by the way are friendly, helpful and full of posters far more knowledgable than me!

 

Not a very technical answer but to refocus on my opening statement -

 

Basically Unraid just works.

 

Oh and Docker all the way, I did a search on importing media to plex docker from plex vm and found this article https://support.plex.tv/articles/201370363-move-an-install-to-another-system/

 

Also Spaceinvader One who I mentioned earlier did a video specific to Unraid although he was moving from one docker container to another docker container you can see it here -

 

 

 

 

Edited by dgs2001
added info

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Thank you for your reply. Great to hear from a fellow home user like myself. Thank you for giving your view on dockers and giving an alternative to TeamViewer. I will watch the videos this evening and educate myself what to do. As you said it is not a technical response but the words “it just works” made me smile.

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