What's the best NAS Software for XBMC

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publicENEMY Offline
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Post: #46
poofyhairguy Wrote:Agreed. Unraid not being "free-as-in-beer" does make it less appealing (as does the pro version having a Windows OS price for licensing).

But after tons of research, I don't see how anything else compares. UnRaid gives you:

1. Ability to mix and match drives (FreeNAS and RAID solutions require all the same disks, which ends up costing more than buying "whatever is cheapest at the time").

2. Ability to grow the array (a limitation of RAIDZ from what I understand).

3. Ability to have a single drive provide redundancy for the entire array (both RAID 6 and WHS fail at this).

4. Ability to get the data off the individual drives (unlike RAID solutions).

5. Ability to spin down drives not in use for power saving (unlike RAID solutions).

Nothing else brings this much to the table. The downsides? Lack of stripped read speeds, a write bottleneck, and price. Considering that the first two downsides are pretty much useless with a media array, the cost ends up being the only reason this isn't the obvious solution.

When you research solutions for a media server is obvious that traditional RAID is better served in a business setting where maximum read/write performance is needed, and WHS was designed for regular people who think that 6TB is a lot of space.

If you are going to build a media server, and it is going to have more than 4 drives in it (which is needed- HD media fills 2TB drives like nothing), then the best solution is ponying up for Unraid.

that really sums up the unraid unique features. the thing is, nothing is perfect. everything is only perfect for a very specific use case. for unraid, it is the most reliable and optimal for non critical(home use) media server use case.

nevertheless, over the time, new solution emerges. openfiler, openmediavault, flexraid, snapraid and Liquesce are potentially good unraid alternatives. but, to be honest, i havent use any of them yet. havent received all the parts for my server yet. i just read a lot.
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protocol77 Offline
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Post: #47
i am actually just using windows xp as my home server OS it is easy to use and works well and i just access my shares using SMB (Samba) in xbmc
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GJones Offline
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Post: #48
(2012-02-24 17:57)publicENEMY Wrote:  that really sums up the unraid unique features. the thing is, nothing is perfect. everything is only perfect for a very specific use case. for unraid, it is the most reliable and optimal for non critical(home use) media server use case.

Actually, I would say unraid's best fit is for read-heavy (as opposed to write) large-file situations. Most enterprise RAID solutions assume high numbers of users accessing small files simultaneously. They are optimized to cache small files for writing, assuming there will be lots of updates across many users.

Most home media servers are expected to read much more often than write (write speed is less important than read speed). Files are huge, comparatively (1 GB or greater on average instead of 1 MB on average). Fault tolerance is more important because a separate backup would be prohibitively expensive. I would never use unraid in a corporate file sharing or database environment because it would be a horrible fit. But I would also never use a $20k enterprise raid setup at home (even if it was free) because it would perform horribly.

File servers and media file servers have different goals. Find the one that meets your needs for media. The best file server might be the worst at serving media.

I have been running unraid now for 2 years. I have a 9 drive setup (7 data, 1 cache, 1 parity) storing roughly 12 TB of media (12k episodes and 2k movies). In the time that I have been using unraid, I have not lost a single byte of data. It houses my XBMC mysql databases, runs a custom transcoding system I built and provides excellent media storage. I have tried most of the alternatives and found that they were very good for providing SMB shares but not flexible enough for a growing media library. I just added the latest data drive over the weekend and (aside from preclearing in the background) the process took a total of 10 minutes of my time.

When I add a new storage server (probably early next year) to continue expanding the capabilities, it will be another unraid installation. I cannot think of a better way to show my confidence in it.
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-19 14:38 by GJones.)
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TugboatBill Offline
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Post: #49
I'd like to add something on top of GJones spot on post - the cost of unraid or the imminent for pay model coming to flexraid.

We all like to get a good deal, but ~$120, really?

The free version of unraid supports 1 parity/2 data drives. Assume you use 2TB drives and use full BR Rips. Each BR will use approximately 25GB of space, so you'll get about 150 movies on the array. Let's make the unrealistic assumption that you get every BR disk for $7 - that's >$1000 in movies alone. Add the hardware costs (3 2TB HDD + MB/CPU/memory/Chassis) and that will add another $500 (most likely more). So you're at $1500 and still haven't paid a cent for software.

Buy the unraid pro version at $70 and you can have up to 6 drives. To fill them you'll need 3 more HDDs ($350) and can add another 225 BR rips (>$1500 @ $7 each). So we're now at $3350 in hardware/media and $70 in software.

The high end unraid (21 drive max) is $120 but at that level you're looking at and additional 15 drives and 1100 BR rips which makes the software cost even more inconsequential.

So, $70/120 is too much. really?
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #50
I was planning to use flexRAID and I am sad to see it goes commercial. I like the "no limit" feeling about open source. I can test what ever I want, no evalaution bs, no limits. I can install a desktop but add what ever server stuff I want.

Not sure what road I will take now. If we are going to pay anyway perhaps windows storage space is worth checking out.
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Monkeypox Offline
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Post: #51
It's always sad when people put hundreds of hours into work for free and suddenly would like to recoup some of their costs for the development software.
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #52
suddenly being the key word here. But lets not get off topic, sorry for starting that.
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ashlar Offline
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Post: #53
FlexRAID for me. Having donated in the past I got a free perpetual license. Talk about sudden surprises...

For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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d'Wooluf Offline
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Post: #54
I'm a bit bitter and twisted on the FlexRAID thing. There we all are beta-testing a freeware product. Then when it's almost there we're told that FlexRAID wasn't a product at all but a 'concept'. The product will be commercial.

On topic: The issue now for anyone contemplating FlexRAID (or whatever it's called now) is whether the developer can be trusted to keep his mind on the job and deliver a stable product with documentation, bug-fixes and regular updates. Having followed his various twists and turns for a while, I've got my doubts.
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vikjon0 Offline
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Post: #55
Looks like I will look into snapRAID next and really study the limitations of software RAID.
SnapRAID is GPL3. (I know I have argued that I do not care too much about the difference between free beer etc - sorry I was wrong)
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a5ian300zx Offline
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Post: #56

i have also also added NFS to my main windows 7 PC.

I have a Corsair 800D full tower case which comes with 4 hotswap drives and i have added additional 4 hot swap drives using a istarusa internal caddy so i have 8 hot swap ports but i also have a 8 port hardware raid card in mine Areca 1220 which is connected to the bays and the drives are in Raid 5 and i can added and remove drives using the raid cards interface.

I use Windows software called Allegro to NFS which I can set to to which ever folder i want to share and use my HDI Dune and XMBC to playback ( i can play full 1:1 bluray rips over the network without any issues and even really high bitrate demos i have without any issue).

i lot of users use unraid and one user i know on below forum is using ZFS.

home made NAS


NAS/XBMC: Qnap 869 Pro 3TBx4 Raid 5 PC: 2TBx4 in LSI 9260-8i Raid 5
HTPC/ESXI: Lian Li PCQ08 + Asrock Z77 ITX + Intel 2500T + 16GB Kingston LV 1600Mhz 1.35v + Sapphire 7750 Passive 1GB DDR5 + Seasonsonic X460 PSU + Crucial SSD M4 64GB + 2TB HDD
(This post was last modified: 2012-03-25 10:48 by a5ian300zx.)
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