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unRAID

Tags:
  • Hard Drives
  • NAS / RAID
  • Do It Yourself
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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December 28, 2006 12:36:48 AM

Anything else out there that is similar to unRAID?

I'm ready to build a DIY NAS with several existing drives ranging from 120GB to 250GB, IDE and SATA and plan to purhase additional 500GB SATA. I would like to utilize most of the combined storage space (i.e., JBOD) with redundancy and ease of expansion. unRAID seems to fit that bill perfectly. Just wanted to know if there are other similar solutions out there before I pluck down $120 for unRAID. Thanks.

More about : unraid

December 28, 2006 5:14:36 PM

What exactly do you want your NAS to do that you couldn't setup yourself? It seems excessive to purchase code that you can ultimately create yourself. Use freenas before you build some scrap drives and see how you like it.
December 29, 2006 12:50:23 AM

I would love to code if I knew how. I'm looking at building my nas within the next couple of weeks so is it realistic for a novice coder like myself to accomplish what unRAID does?

I've already looked at freenas and naslite but they seem to stick to popular RAID technology already on the market that do not behave like unRAID. Another company that is providing similar technology is Infrant's X-RAID. But Infrant's solution is combination of hardware and software/firmware. I already have most of the spare parts to build the hardware and just need the software.

Any more help is appreciated.
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December 29, 2006 11:30:27 AM

I don't know of anyone who has used unRaid so good luck. If you have time post your experience with the product here when you have have it configured.
December 29, 2006 12:18:02 PM

Quote:
I would like to utilize most of the combined storage space (i.e., JBOD) with redundancy and ease of expansion. unRAID seems to fit that bill perfectly.


From what I gather from the website, you'll still lose one drive to parity, so you won't be using all of your storage.

The only comparable product I know of would be Intel's Matrix which would allow multiple RAID levels across drives, but I'm not sure that would suffice either.

All I can say for sure is software RAID is slow, slow, slow.
December 29, 2006 1:49:29 PM

Thanks. I'll check into Matrix raid and see what that's about.

One thing I'm not too crazy about unRAID is they are currently based on linux kernel 2.4 I believe. They seem somewhat restricted on hardware requirements. Fortunately, I believe my spare parts qualify.

Also, they have some beefy hardware requirements for a linux based solution. 2Ghz processor, 512MB - 1GB ram. Maybe they are needed to make up the slowness of software raid. Again, I have all those spare parts already.

They have a forum on their site and performance feedback from users seem promising for a nas. One poster claimed his moderate unRAID rig bested the best nas performance (except for one category, 1GB read I believe) that Tom has posted thus far.

I'll post my findings here if I decide to go with unRAID.
December 29, 2006 2:39:10 PM

Hi. I do have an unRaid box at home. Here are the benefits to unRaid versus other raid solutions I looked into:

1. Data not striped. If you do lose more than one drive, you can still recover the data on the disks that did not go bad. If it was striped, you would lose it all.

2. Can use different sized disks. As long as the Parity drive is the largest drive, any other disk can be used fully. This makes adding drives really easy as you can get the cheap ones that are on sale and don't have to worry so much about the size or mfr.

3. Drives that are not used are spun down. With a 12 drive unRaid array, if you are streaming a movie from it, only one drive is spinning and the rest are not, greatly lowering the heat and energy usage.

Yes, they are on 2.4, but since this will be a dedicated box, the version is not that big of a deal. You won't be using it for anything else. I know he plans on putting the newer kernel in it soon, which will give my AMD unRaid box Cool 'n Quiet. And may make it run on more systems.

I have been quite happy with it, and if you have the parts laying around, give it a try. He has a free version for use with 3 drives (1 partity, 2 data drives). I got the unRaid Server Plus version. That one is supposed to be 6 disk, but it shows I can use 7 (1 parity and 6 data drives). That one is $69. I won't need one bigger than that.

Jeff
December 29, 2006 2:43:52 PM

Thanks for the info, I'd like to test this out too compaired to my NAS.
December 29, 2006 6:02:42 PM

Thanks for the info, especially the bit about upgrading from 2.4 soon. Also, if only data drives count towards the license, does that mean I can have 12 data drives plus 1 parity drive under the Pro license?

I wonder if Tom would benchmark unRAID against other NAS?

Something else I'm pondering...unRAID technology seems to be the main selling point for Lime-Tech. If this raid technology becomes popular, variations of the same technology may be adopted in other nas solutions such as freenas, naslite, openfiler just to name a few. Infrant already has X-RAID that is similar. Once unRAID go up against these less expensive/free alternatives, Lime-tech would have to lower the price, sell more value-adds or shutdown. If the latter happens, it would mean zero support for me if I have their product. I've already seen companies with short-term visions go under in this scenario: get in, make quick money and get out. Thus, my original question for this thread. Is there already something out there similar to unRAID? This technology just seems so straight-forward and fit for most home use that I really forsee it becoming more popular. Please don't take my comments as a negative. I really like their product. Just wondering about their business directions. $120 is not too much for what they offer (for the Pro version), but enough for me to ponder.
December 29, 2006 6:38:01 PM

There is nothing similar that I have found. Sure, its possible that someone will write a free GNU version, or some large company will incorporate all the same features in their product and drive Lime-technology out of business. But the UnRaid product will continue to work as it had. I don't see it like windows, where I constantly need patches to cover newly discovered vunerablilities, or add new features. UnRaid pretty much has all the features I need now, and since it is only a NAS box, if no new features came out, it would still work fine for me. I do see your issues, but even if someone else comes out with a free killer NAS software app in one year and I move to that, then I will still have gotten one years use out of UnRaid.

Since you say you have the hardware, download the free version and give it a try and see if you like it.

Oh, and I think the 12 disk version counts the partity drive, so you get 11 data drives.
December 29, 2006 9:24:10 PM

Do you mind listing your AMD system specs? I also have an outdated AMD system that I can recycle.

Do you happen to know when lime-tech will upgrade to the latest stable kernel (2.6)? Also, any mention of iSCSI support? That is one feature supported by openfiler that I would be very interested in.

Thanks!
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