UnRaid vs. Proxmox vs. XCP-ng Impressions

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I wanted to post this because I have been testing these various solutions as of late and there are not many of these discussions online that are easily found. 


I am really close to buying an UnRaid License at the moment but I wanted to share why I am hesitant(hint: nothing to do with it being paid) and why I was trying these other solutions and why I am not going to go that direction. 


So as I am sure many on here can relate, I don't have much time to play games anymore. I run 2 businesses of my own out of the house, my wife runs her business out of the garage, and in between we are taking care of a 4 year old doing distance learning and a 2 year old. Playing games and working on my computer is my main hobby as I cut out several others because there simply isnt time anymore. Plus, computers and games are probably one of the cheapest hobbies you can have if you really look at what you can do with them. 


This is why I have been hesitant to buy an UnRaid license. I am a tinkerer and I really like trying new things, reformatting things and trying different operating systems. However, at the same time, the more time I do this the less time I have to play a game. 


I had a Windows 10 Gaming VM workin on my system when I was booting via UnRaid and it worked great. I was really happy with it and could easily build a system on that further. 


Being the tinkerer that I am I wanted to go ahead and try a few other things before I clicked "buy". 


So First is XCP-ng:


Keep in mind that I do not have a degree in computer science and that I just like my toys. 


I got XCP-ng working and I really liked what I saw. However, it became apparent really quickly that this solution is definitely designed for Enterprise environments and it really wants you to have a full system of drives ready to go and to setup with the file system.


The main reason that I didnt look at this further past initial setup is because Nvidia GPU Passthrough is more difficult here and I would pretty much be having to figure things out on my own. If I knew how to code more this would be a good option but that just isn't the case. 



Same situation as above as it seems like it really wants you to have quite a few disks ready to spin up. Plus the RAM requirement seems quite high and not something I am looking to tackle. 


I had a real issue getting this to work as well. For some reason I had a really hard time getting into the Web GUI to get things started and it put a really sour taste in my mouth. 


It definietly seems pretty resource heavy once you start getting VMs going. 


Honestly, after trying out the hypervisors my first impression is that the way they handle file systems isn't really geared for home users unless you are someone that already has the resources to have it setup the proper way from the start as compared to UnRaid where you can just grow your system as you need. 


For the record I plan to use my system to run dockers for Pi-hole, Unifi, UNMS, Home security, Sonarr, Radarr. The other main function and probably biggest is that I want to be running several gaming VMs on this system. 1 for me, 1 for my wife, and 1 for the kids that for the time being I want to be mainly emulators streaming to my Nvidia Shield TV. 


Now, there is only one thing left that I want to try and that is to try and setup a Linux Distro with Cockpit for WebGUI as my server and maybe SnapRAID as the file system. Maybe BTRFS is better but I don't know, filesystems is something that I am still learning. 


The number 1 limitation with building my own with a linux distro is having to do GPU passthrough with CLI which I know a small amount about but not much. I have been toying with Fedora and Pop!_OS for years on and off and I like the fact that doing something like this gives me more flexibility than XCP and Proxmox at least seem to out of the box. 


Feel free to provide any input but I can honestly say at this point that I cant imagine that UnRaid is a bad choice for anyone and something that I am really strongly considering....just after I tinker a bit more. 

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I was really let down by Proxmox. XCP had much more polish even though the open source version(at least to my understanding) is quite a bit newer. I would spend more time with XCP if I could do a couple things. 1: Install individual drives with or without a Cache like UnRaid, which might be possible but out of my skill set...and 2. If I didn't have to build XOA on my own unless I wanted to pay a pretty high monthly price for it when I have no interest in doing. 


So I am going to be reinstalling Pop!_OS later today and toying with setting up Cockpit and doing GPU Passthrough there for a VM. If Parsec allowed Game Hosting from Linux I would probably setup Linux as the Host and not even bother with Windows VMs but just not possible at the moment. 


Therefore, I will run my Dockers/Containers on Pop, try to then also setup VMs, Heimdall, Sonarr, Radarr, and the like and see what I think. 


Also, Pop is not designed to be run Headless but there is no reason I can't, I just will have to get better with CLI as compared to UnRaid. Even then, I still may coming back to UnRaid....I was that impressed with it. 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Nice to have stomped upon this post as I’m in the pretty much same. 

I had tried proxmox and I don’t like it either. Underneath proxmox is kvm, which would be the same as unraid is using, I don’t mind doing it using the cli as I have tried that in proxmox earlier, but the steps is in fact the same. I still need the vbios, blacklist the device etc. but I don’t see a point here as this is basically same with unraid with some clustering feature added on. Xcp ng on the other hand is interesting as it uses the Xen to virtulise vms. But it would require conversion of vdisk and some additional steps to make the vm work,

reformatting drive and install new os takes a long time and with the limited amount of time. We all have to think about more efficient ways. What I did is I passed a ssd using unassigned devices to a vm, and install xcp ng directly into that ssd. Therefore if anything goes wrong, I can easily go back to unraid. I really like xcpng but my current problem is to convert my vms(windows,truenas) to a vdisk format that xcpng uses. Looking at xcpng documentation suggest I have a use a tool called Dracut and do something with the image file, but I’m kinda struck here. Or I could just convert using qemu-Img to convert and see what happens. But again, lack of time here.


my current setup now is I have a truenas vm set up and I put all my spinning drives into that vm. Then I’ve set up iscsi from truenas for be used for windows vm. the performance is great and zfs is just a hack of a file system. Unraid no longer manges my hard drive except for some nvme ssd and sata ssd for vm. I don’t have many hdds but it seems to be the biggest problem is that unraid reads data from the array one disk at a time and it’s kinda slow. Also I don’t like the parity checking which takes 7 hours for me. I can maybe secdule the parity check less often but I kinda wanna the assurance that my data is safe.


and with the rising energy price I have to think about the what I need to use my server for as well. As it doesn’t make sense to have an file server with some docker containers on24/7. So I used a raspberry pi4 and installed open media vault and portainer on it. Which I migrated all my docker containers over, I have a donwloder, pi hole, adgarud home, UniFi controller, unbound dns, home assistant working with a 1tb usb drive for temporary storage and its amazing how well it runs and how little power it uses. I hope my setup could give you some ideas about what you want to do with you server.

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