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hansolo77

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Hello all!  My real name is Aaron.  But you can call me Han, most people do in these types of forums!

 

I didn't really see a proper sub-forum to post this in.  Hopefully "General Support" is accurate enough.  Let me start by saying how impressed I am with the support I've seen in this forum, and various recommendations for it from countless Youtube videos I've watched.  I'm really intrigued here and would like to know more.

 

For a bit of background history, let me explain my past, present, and future plans.  Decades ago (I'm 40 years old) I started accumulating media.  At first it was MP3's downloaded off the internet (don't deny it, we all did (do) it).  I also downloaded a lot of porn (again, we all did it).  I started to realize I had a compulsive behavior and needed to start organizing my stuff better.  So my first venture into the realm of data storage resulted in buying additional hard drive space.  Of course, back then it was a 160mb IDE drive and then a whopping 320mb.  THEN I started to get concerned, as the internet became more prevalent with commercialization and the onset of ads (and viruses).  So I got myself a tape backup drive.  Yeah, it was cool and all, but sucked.  I could backup stuff to tape then erase the data on the drive to give me more space.  Problem was, it took DAYS to restore.  That was then, way back then.  As I grew older, and became more tech savvy, I was able to start building my own computers, with dedicated drives for storage.  One thing led to another and I found myself wanting more.  Windows ME had come out and with it a really cool thing called Media Center.  I was all about that.  I bought tuner cards and hooked into our cable-ready signal, and was recording stuff without a cable box.  It was awesome.  But I wanted more.  Sure, I could record stuff, but I wanted more media, like movies and tv shows.  I had a bunch of stuff on DVDs, and was ripping them.  Soon I found myself once again running out of storage space.  Then HP came out with a cool little NAS device called "HP MediaSmart Server".  When I found out it was essentially a computer running Windows Home Server, I started to build my own using one of my old PC's.  I spent all kinds of money and time building it and upgrading it.  I had upgraded to a case that could hold 8 internal 3.5" drives and 3 external 5.25" drives.  Then I ripped out the 5.25" drives and added a hotswap drive caddy in it's place to give me 5 more 3.5" drives.  Then I hit storage peak and couldn't add anymore.  At the time, I opted for another drive caddy that added 3 more drives but I didn't have anywhere to put it.  So I ran the power and data cables out an empty expansion bay slot and sat it on the top of my computer.  Of course, it lasted all of 6 months before I started having drives fail on me.  Then I learned Windows Home Server was being canned, and I needed to upgrade to a legit server OS called Windows Server 2012.  At that point, I decided that if I was going to continue down the server path, I needed to get true server-grade hardware.  So I got a 24-bay enclosure, real SAS controller and expander cards, a Xeon processor with ECC ram, and started running Windows Server 2012 R2 with Essentials.  Along with that, I'm also running Stablebit's Drivepool and Scanner software.  I paid for it and love it.  But, once again, I'm hitting the peak storage limit.  One reason for this is because of drives failing in the past, I've got Drivepool set up to use 2x duplication on the entire pool.  This is essentially reducing my available storage by half.  I need a way out of it.  I've lived my life in the Microsoft Windows environment and have only here in the last couple of years started dabbling in Linux thanks to the Raspberry Pi and all the fun projects I've done with that (a dedicated Kodi box, a dedicated RetroPie machine, etc).  But I think I've spent enough time with it to be familiar enough to take the plunge and build a new server from scratch.  I just don't know where to begin.  I have an idea in my mind of what I want, but I'm not sure if unRaid can provide what I'm looking for.  Thus, the ultimate reason for this thread.  :)

 

Before going all crazy on build specs with hardware (I mean, I work at a grocery store so any kind of true hardware build will be a long process) I'd like to get a heads up feel of the environment unRaid works in.  Having not exposed myself to this software and technology, I'm a bit lost.  There are terms and things I'm unfamiliar with and I'd like to get some clarification.

 

1 - Docker.  What is this?  It sound like a plugin, or more or less an application.  If unRaid is the OS (windows) then a Docker is essentially a program that you install on it, like Firefox or Photoshop.  But a key thing that makes this different is that whatever you install becomes installed in it's own "box" or dedicated area of the OS.   Is that right?  I feel like a "plugin" would be something specific to unRaid, whereas a "Docker" would be like a 3rd party addition that's not specific to unRaid.  Right?

 

2 - VM's.  I know what these are to a point.  I played around with a program called "VirtualBox" which created virtual machines on my server.  I had originally set up a VM as a test bed to see if I could do it.  Then I created one for the purpose of checking out the "dark web" because I was curious.  I didn't keep it installed though, wasn't too appealing.  But the idea of VM's in a home is something I think I might need.  Specifically, I need something that I can use to backup my various computers.  I forgot to mention that part in my history.  It's the other BIG reason I built a server, so I could have a nightly backup of my computers.  WS2012R2 has been doing that great, but I don't know if I can do that with unRaid.  I would imagine not directly, but possibly through a VM.  But, without experience, I don't know if that's freezable.  Can you run a VM like Windows Server just to get the backup functionality and then have it still be able to use the hardware (I actually just use a dedicated drive right now that's not part of the pool, so I would probably just install the VM to use that drive)?  If backing up via Windows Server (VM) isn't really necessary, how else can I accomplish cross-platform backups?

 

3 - Sleeping.  I've not really seen any mention of this.  My server right now doesn't run 24x7.  It's actually in a closet in my bedroom and gets pretty hot.  To help alleviate this, I've got it set to go to sleep when it's not in use and I wake it up when I want to use it.  At a hardware level, I can see how unRaid wouldn't have any say in the matter.  But on the software side, does unRaid support sleeping?  With the way arrays work, and parity drives, etc, it's all new to me.  I'm just not sure and would really hope it can, or I probably can't do it.

 

4 - Downloading.  I used to rip all my stuff locally and feed them into an Emby server, which I then watched through my Raspberry Pi running Kodi.  My brother has at his house a Plex server and I've decided to migrate to that.  One nice thing about it is that it works with my TV automatically, as well as my 4k Firestick.  I've started doing a lot more seedbox downloading.  This is one possible limitation I see though using unRaid.  On my server currently, I use an SFTP program to download everything to a temporary "download" drive, and then I migrate it into my Plex server.  Again, I'm familiar with Windows and not Linux in this regard.  I imaging I'd have to either use a Docker program that allows me to download and store directly to the unRaid array, or use a VM.  Does something like this exist?  I suppose I can still use my primary computer to download then transfer files over the network INTO the array, but it seems like that's a waste of time if I can just download directly from the computer it's going to be stored in.

 

5 - Trial.  I know currently my hardware specs are in the works, but I also know my plan is to have a large collection of drives.  Currently my server holds 24 drives, and I plan on having at least that many in my new server.  I see the prices for unRaid and it's seems a bit steep to find out I don't like the software or can't use it as intended.  Yes, there is a trial, but seeing as how my income will not be providing a fast disposable income for building, I fear that the 30-day plus 2x15-day trial won't be enough.  Even for starters, I thought about running the system in a VM on my current server to play around with it before everything, but I'm not even sure that's possible.  Is there like a truly free "demo" OS I can use to familiarize myself with the new environment while I build my new server?

 

I think that's about it.  Sorry if I seem long winded.  I like to be descriptive in my posts.  Throughout my personal history with forums, I've always found it helpful when I set out to do something "again" to have something to fall back on.  When I built my first RetroPie, it took me a LONG time, because I didn't know anything about Linux or the system and whatnot.  Then when I built my brother's RetroPie, it was a cinch because I had detailed forum posts during the build process.  I don't plan on using this thread for that.  I do know I plan on giving my old (current) server to my brother when I build the new one, and I'm hoping to fall back on my posts here as a guideline for him, if unRaid works out great.  Anyway, I mostly just wanted to introduce myself to the community and see what kind of feedback I can get on my concerns.  Thanks for your time, and I'm looking forward to sharing this new adventure with you all!

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1 hour ago, hansolo77 said:

Hello all!  My real name is Aaron.  But you can call me Han, most people do in these types of forums!

 

I didn't really see a proper sub-forum to post this in.  Hopefully "General Support" is accurate enough.  Let me start by saying how impressed I am with the support I've seen in this forum, and various recommendations for it from countless Youtube videos I've watched.  I'm really intrigued here and would like to know more.

 

For a bit of background history, let me explain my past, present, and future plans.  Decades ago (I'm 40 years old) I started accumulating media.  At first it was MP3's downloaded off the internet (don't deny it, we all did (do) it).  I also downloaded a lot of porn (again, we all did it).  I started to realize I had a compulsive behavior and needed to start organizing my stuff better.  So my first venture into the realm of data storage resulted in buying additional hard drive space.  Of course, back then it was a 160mb IDE drive and then a whopping 320mb.  THEN I started to get concerned, as the internet became more prevalent with commercialization and the onset of ads (and viruses).  So I got myself a tape backup drive.  Yeah, it was cool and all, but sucked.  I could backup stuff to tape then erase the data on the drive to give me more space.  Problem was, it took DAYS to restore.  That was then, way back then.  As I grew older, and became more tech savvy, I was able to start building my own computers, with dedicated drives for storage.  One thing led to another and I found myself wanting more.  Windows ME had come out and with it a really cool thing called Media Center.  I was all about that.  I bought tuner cards and hooked into our cable-ready signal, and was recording stuff without a cable box.  It was awesome.  But I wanted more.  Sure, I could record stuff, but I wanted more media, like movies and tv shows.  I had a bunch of stuff on DVDs, and was ripping them.  Soon I found myself once again running out of storage space.  Then HP came out with a cool little NAS device called "HP MediaSmart Server".  When I found out it was essentially a computer running Windows Home Server, I started to build my own using one of my old PC's.  I spent all kinds of money and time building it and upgrading it.  I had upgraded to a case that could hold 8 internal 3.5" drives and 3 external 5.25" drives.  Then I ripped out the 5.25" drives and added a hotswap drive caddy in it's place to give me 5 more 3.5" drives.  Then I hit storage peak and couldn't add anymore.  At the time, I opted for another drive caddy that added 3 more drives but I didn't have anywhere to put it.  So I ran the power and data cables out an empty expansion bay slot and sat it on the top of my computer.  Of course, it lasted all of 6 months before I started having drives fail on me.  Then I learned Windows Home Server was being canned, and I needed to upgrade to a legit server OS called Windows Server 2012.  At that point, I decided that if I was going to continue down the server path, I needed to get true server-grade hardware.  So I got a 24-bay enclosure, real SAS controller and expander cards, a Xeon processor with ECC ram, and started running Windows Server 2012 R2 with Essentials.  Along with that, I'm also running Stablebit's Drivepool and Scanner software.  I paid for it and love it.  But, once again, I'm hitting the peak storage limit.  One reason for this is because of drives failing in the past, I've got Drivepool set up to use 2x duplication on the entire pool.  This is essentially reducing my available storage by half.  I need a way out of it.  I've lived my life in the Microsoft Windows environment and have only here in the last couple of years started dabbling in Linux thanks to the Raspberry Pi and all the fun projects I've done with that (a dedicated Kodi box, a dedicated RetroPie machine, etc).  But I think I've spent enough time with it to be familiar enough to take the plunge and build a new server from scratch.  I just don't know where to begin.  I have an idea in my mind of what I want, but I'm not sure if unRaid can provide what I'm looking for.  Thus, the ultimate reason for this thread.  :)

 

Before going all crazy on build specs with hardware (I mean, I work at a grocery store so any kind of true hardware build will be a long process) I'd like to get a heads up feel of the environment unRaid works in.  Having not exposed myself to this software and technology, I'm a bit lost.  There are terms and things I'm unfamiliar with and I'd like to get some clarification.

 

1 - Docker.  What is this?  It sound like a plugin, or more or less an application.  If unRaid is the OS (windows) then a Docker is essentially a program that you install on it, like Firefox or Photoshop.  But a key thing that makes this different is that whatever you install becomes installed in it's own "box" or dedicated area of the OS.   Is that right?  I feel like a "plugin" would be something specific to unRaid, whereas a "Docker" would be like a 3rd party addition that's not specific to unRaid.  Right?

 

2 - VM's.  I know what these are to a point.  I played around with a program called "VirtualBox" which created virtual machines on my server.  I had originally set up a VM as a test bed to see if I could do it.  Then I created one for the purpose of checking out the "dark web" because I was curious.  I didn't keep it installed though, wasn't too appealing.  But the idea of VM's in a home is something I think I might need.  Specifically, I need something that I can use to backup my various computers.  I forgot to mention that part in my history.  It's the other BIG reason I built a server, so I could have a nightly backup of my computers.  WS2012R2 has been doing that great, but I don't know if I can do that with unRaid.  I would imagine not directly, but possibly through a VM.  But, without experience, I don't know if that's freezable.  Can you run a VM like Windows Server just to get the backup functionality and then have it still be able to use the hardware (I actually just use a dedicated drive right now that's not part of the pool, so I would probably just install the VM to use that drive)?  If backing up via Windows Server (VM) isn't really necessary, how else can I accomplish cross-platform backups?

 

3 - Sleeping.  I've not really seen any mention of this.  My server right now doesn't run 24x7.  It's actually in a closet in my bedroom and gets pretty hot.  To help alleviate this, I've got it set to go to sleep when it's not in use and I wake it up when I want to use it.  At a hardware level, I can see how unRaid wouldn't have any say in the matter.  But on the software side, does unRaid support sleeping?  With the way arrays work, and parity drives, etc, it's all new to me.  I'm just not sure and would really hope it can, or I probably can't do it.

 

4 - Downloading.  I used to rip all my stuff locally and feed them into an Emby server, which I then watched through my Raspberry Pi running Kodi.  My brother has at his house a Plex server and I've decided to migrate to that.  One nice thing about it is that it works with my TV automatically, as well as my 4k Firestick.  I've started doing a lot more seedbox downloading.  This is one possible limitation I see though using unRaid.  On my server currently, I use an SFTP program to download everything to a temporary "download" drive, and then I migrate it into my Plex server.  Again, I'm familiar with Windows and not Linux in this regard.  I imaging I'd have to either use a Docker program that allows me to download and store directly to the unRaid array, or use a VM.  Does something like this exist?  I suppose I can still use my primary computer to download then transfer files over the network INTO the array, but it seems like that's a waste of time if I can just download directly from the computer it's going to be stored in.

 

5 - Trial.  I know currently my hardware specs are in the works, but I also know my plan is to have a large collection of drives.  Currently my server holds 24 drives, and I plan on having at least that many in my new server.  I see the prices for unRaid and it's seems a bit steep to find out I don't like the software or can't use it as intended.  Yes, there is a trial, but seeing as how my income will not be providing a fast disposable income for building, I fear that the 30-day plus 2x15-day trial won't be enough.  Even for starters, I thought about running the system in a VM on my current server to play around with it before everything, but I'm not even sure that's possible.  Is there like a truly free "demo" OS I can use to familiarize myself with the new environment while I build my new server?

 

I think that's about it.  Sorry if I seem long winded.  I like to be descriptive in my posts.  Throughout my personal history with forums, I've always found it helpful when I set out to do something "again" to have something to fall back on.  When I built my first RetroPie, it took me a LONG time, because I didn't know anything about Linux or the system and whatnot.  Then when I built my brother's RetroPie, it was a cinch because I had detailed forum posts during the build process.  I don't plan on using this thread for that.  I do know I plan on giving my old (current) server to my brother when I build the new one, and I'm hoping to fall back on my posts here as a guideline for him, if unRaid works out great.  Anyway, I mostly just wanted to introduce myself to the community and see what kind of feedback I can get on my concerns.  Thanks for your time, and I'm looking forward to sharing this new adventure with you all!

Given I dont have the time to go into alot of detail... I will try to be brief...

 

1. Docker is it's on OS if you will... think of it like this... you can have many dockers that all "share" the same OS files... but each run in their own "sandbox"... where as a plugin would have access(can modify) the host OS of unraid

 

2. cant really help you with this subject... but i believe that unraid is using "Zen" as their VM engine... 

 

3. I dont know of unraid "sleeping" but the times that cause heat mostly are the HDDs and the CPU... if nothing is accessing the HDDs... they will spin down when not in use... and the CPU wont have a load on it at the time...

 

4. there are dockers that might be able to help with downloading these things... there are dockers for everything it seems... one or two of them might be a fit for you... also you can have unraid mapped to your computer like a local HDD so when downloading something it could go directly to it vs your computer then unraid.

 

5. Trial... while I havent seen someone do it... I would expect that you could... Try using a rasberrypi to give unraid a spin... just use a few external HDDs Or just one external HDD to poke around with... 

 

You talk about having a 24bay enclosure... that's alot of hdds... might I ask why... that type of system would require a Large PCU and a SAS controller... many people here have a wide verity of disks in their array... but at some point it's cheaper to upgrade a 500gig hdd to an 8tb vs adding many more hdds... 

 

 

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It sounds like you will primarily be using your server to store, download and organize media.  Do a search on youtube for "spaceinvader one".  He has a video for everything you want to do. 

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Thanks guys.  And yes, you are pretty much correct on the idea of using my server as a media storage.  I really do want to have a way to do computer backups though.  When it comes to the drives, I guess I don't really need 24 like you say.  That's just what my current server's enclosure uses.  Like I said, I have a limited income and it just made more sense at the time to buy an enclosure that could hold all the drives I had, rather than rip out smaller ones for bigger ones.  But since I'm at the point now where I'm doing that already, I might not need a full 24-bay with unRaid.  With Drivepool and their 2x duplication, I've only got about 111tb total and it's sitting at 90% full.  But with unRaid, and 1 drive as parity and the rest as free storage, I might already have plenty of storage available.

 

I know that unRaid requires the Parity drive to be the largest drive in the pool.  For 2 parity drives, do they both need to be the same size?  I just bought 2 12tb drives, and if I rebuild in a new enclosure, would they both be used for parity, or can I have a smaller drive for the 2nd?

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1 hour ago, hansolo77 said:

 I really do want to have a way to do computer backups though. 

When I migrated from Windows Home Server to Unraid, I just moved the WHS box into a VM. It still hums along backing up my local machines and managing my WMC storage.

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2 hours ago, hansolo77 said:

For 2 parity drives, do they both need to be the same size?

No, but no data drive may be larger than either parity drive.

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Awesome thanks guys!  It sounds like I was right on the money with using Windows Home Server as a VM.  And with no need for same size parity drive, that means I can use the other 12tb as a true storage.  That's great news!

 

Still no thoughts about sleep mode though?  Hopefully unRaid will allow it.  I mean, I get the idea of a 24/7 always on machine.  But with my current living conditions, the options are have the server IN room with all the noise and heat, or hide it in the closet and run partially with the door open.  The 2nd option has worked great for me so far, but if unRaid doesn't support sleep or hibernate I might not be able to do it.

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6 hours ago, hansolo77 said:

Awesome thanks guys!  It sounds like I was right on the money with using Windows Home Server as a VM.  And with no need for same size parity drive, that means I can use the other 12tb as a true storage.  That's great news!

 

 

 

8 hours ago, jonathanm said:

No, but no data drive may be larger than either parity drive.

no... BOTH CACHE drives need to be = or larger then any data drive... so one 12tb and a 10tb parity with a 12tb data drive... that 12tb data drive will be limited to 10tb...(or not work at all... Iv never done this... so I dont know what will happen) 

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I might be misreading that...  Do you mean both PARITY drives?  I thought cache drives were there just to help with transitioning files into the array.  I've seen Youtube videos with people using smaller 120-250gb SSD's as cache and their Parities are TB's..  Could be wrong I guess, still learning.

 

But still, it sounds like you're saying that if I have a 12tb drive and use it for parity, and then use one of my 8tb drives as a 2nd parity, the most I'll be able to get out of any future drives like 10tb or another 12tb will result in only 8tb of those drives being available because that's the size of my smallest parity drive.  That sounds backwards to me.  If anything, I think the 2nd parity drive would be required to be equal or less than the first, but my data drives still can't exceed the size of the largest parity drive.  Meaning, I can't have a 12tb and an 8tb as parities and then in the future have a 14tb data drive (I'd have to use that as a parity drive) but I can still get 12tb drives and use them as data.

 

Then again, like I said... I'm still new and I could be wrong.  That's why I'm talking about it instead of complaining when I try to do it because it's not working.  :)

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If you have one 12TB parity and another 8TB parity your data drives would be limited to 8TB maximum each - data drives cannot be larger than either parity drive. You would need to upgrade the 8TB parity drive before adding larger data drives.

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8 hours ago, hansolo77 said:

if I have a 12tb drive and use it for parity, and then use one of my 8tb drives as a 2nd parity, the most I'll be able to get out of any future drives like 10tb or another 12tb will result in only 8tb of those drives being available because that's the size of my smallest parity drive.

If you have an 8TB in either parity slot, you will not be able to assign a larger drive to a data slot.

17 hours ago, jonathanm said:

No, but no data drive may be larger than either parity drive.

 

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Ah ok.  Now I understand.  So I should probably use both 12tb drives as parity then.  I'm trying to remember in my current server history if I've ever had 2 drives fail together.  It's really hard for me to remember such a thing happening since moving into my current chassis.  I think I might have had 2 fail when I had my drive caddy sitting on top of the case a long time ago.  Maybe I don't need two parity drives.  I guess I can always add another one in the future.

 

I think I want to start playing around with it a little bit.  Is it possible to install unRaid in a VM?  I was thinking I could do that and maybe start migrating my drives into a temporary array in the VM, then when the time comes I could just transfer everything over OUT of the VM.  Or does that sound stupid?

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32 minutes ago, hansolo77 said:

Is it possible to install unRaid in a VM? 

Yes, but it's not as easy as bare metal.

SpaceInvader One has a video on youtube covering that, I'm pretty sure. I recommend spending some time watching his videos.

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