FreeNAS versus unRAID as the operating-system for a DIY NAS?

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fonzie Offline
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Question  FreeNAS versus unRAID as the operating-system for a DIY NAS?
Post: #1
I currently have a DNS-321 "toaster" style NAS box with two 2TB hard drives totaling in 4TB of storage. I don't have any RAID setup on the DNS-321, instead I have two separate external 2TB USB drives that I use as backup. The main reason I have it setup this way is because I accidentally deleted some files from my NAS once and had no way of recovering them. Having it set up this way means I'd have to delete the file from two sources (External HDD and NAS) in order to completely rid myself of files. On the same token, when adding movies I have to do twice the work (move files to NAS and external HDD).

I have almost filled my second hard drive and am running out of space quick. I have to upgrade, so now it is decision time

Originally, I was going to build myself a simple server with FreeNAS and old computer parts but I've been browsing this forum a lot and have noticed that many people highly recommend using unRaid instead.

I've heard many positive things about unRaid setups so I am seriously considering making the switch but I have a few questions before I do.


--If I have three 2TB hard drives setup in unRaid, how much actual storage am I looking at (not counting redundancy)?

--Is there an easy way to know when a hard drive fails?

--If at some point in the future, I wanted to upgrade from plus to pro is there a way to upgrade and just pay the difference, or would I have to pay full price?

--Can the unRaid box be used to SFTP files?

--How can I protect myself from accidentally deleting movie or tv show files?

--What does unRaid offer that freeNAs does not? Vice versa?



I know that's a lot of questions, but any insight would greatly help in my decision-making process
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acegutta22 Offline
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Post: #2
man i was just about to ask these same questions but i was looking at this set up since I dont really know how to build one:http://lime-technology.com/products/rb-1200-server
can someone please let me know if this is a good deal
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fonzie Offline
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Post: #3
I saw that setup as well. They're currently sold out.

I was trying to piece that setup in Newegg but the motherboard and CPU were discontinued. Can anyone build a comparable system like that for that price or cheaper? I have no qualms building a PC myself (I enjoy it actually).
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markguy Offline
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Post: #4
I'm not an expert, but I have an unRAID box and have set up others for friends and family. You'd likely get better help if you posted on the unRAID forums, also. Very helpful and knowledgeable folks there. Also, considering the Basic license is free and you're almost certainly going to be able to use whatever old hardware you have lying around, I usually just tell folks to try it out. A motherboard that allows you to boot from a USB drive is the only real requirement.

Anyhoo...
1) 4TB, assuming you're using the Basic (free) version. One of the drives would be the parity drive and the other two would be data drives.

2) Other than the screeching noises coming from your case, there's a web interface that tells you the status of your drives. You can easily add unMENU, which will give web access to things like SMART reports, drive temps, etc.

3) There used to be some way to do this, but I can't find it currently, so perhaps I'm hallucinating. If you think you're likely to use a 22 drive single instance, getting the Pro license is the way to go. Actually, getting two licenses is really the way to go, if you can find someone to split the costs with you. I use my second as an insurance policy at the moment.

4) I'm not sure about SFTP. I've never bothered to try and set it up, but again, unRAID forums would get the answer quickly.

5) If you're asking how to recover files, I've never had the need. If you're asking if unRAID can protect files, I think the answer is no. You can (and I highly, highly recommend) set up user shares so whatever is grabbing files has read only access. Basically, I move files onto unRAID box as root and access them as a user.

6) It comes down, as I understand it, to whether you really want a RAID solution. unRAID, as the name suggests, doesn't fit the usual definition of RAID. You'll get a more thorough answer from folks on their respective forums I'm sure, but I can't imagine why unRAID would be a poor choice.
EDIT: To clarify, unRAID looks like RAID 4, without striping. This page better describes the pros of unRAID.

OpenELEC 2.95.5
(This post was last modified: 2010-10-09 03:41 by markguy.)
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markguy Offline
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Post: #5
fonzie Wrote:I saw that setup as well. They're currently sold out.

I was trying to piece that setup in Newegg but the motherboard and CPU were discontinued. Can anyone build a comparable system like that for that price or cheaper? I have no qualms building a PC myself (I enjoy it actually).

There's a couple of sections in the unRAID forums that you should definitely check out before buying any components. The Hardware and Motherboard forums, specifically. There's a list of the motherboards that are known to work with unRAID in the wiki as well (Hardware Compatibility page). Not finding the one you're thinking of buying isn't a terrible thing, but post and see if anyone else has had success before you get something shipped to you.

Oh and avoid any motherboard that enables HPA by default. That can (arguably certain to) cause subtle, infuriating problems with your array. Gigabyte boards are feared and reviled at the moment for this reason.

Also, they're not kidding when they say don't worry about CPU. Even memory doesn't make a huge difference, in my experience. Make sure you've got as many SATA ports as you get with PCI slots for SATA controller cards, assuming you want to get up towards the 22 drive limit. And note that when you have 22 drives stuffed in a case, you pretty much have to become an expert on air flow and cooling. You find more threads discussing SATA backplanes and cases than CPU and memory in the forums...

OpenELEC 2.95.5
(This post was last modified: 2010-10-09 04:00 by markguy.)
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Harry Muscle Offline
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Post: #6
I personally have a FreeNAS box setup, using the same case as the RB-1200 with 6 drives in it right now. Like you I'm primarily concerned about the safety of my data, so a simple RAID config didn't do it form me since it doesn't save me from accidental deletes, only drive failures. What I setup is 3 drives hold the data and then I run a script I wrote (http://sourceforge.net/apps/phpbb/freena...=12&t=2976) to do weekly copies of data from the 3 drives onto the other three drives. The script is setup to keep 1 year of data (using hard links so it doesn't use that much space in reality). This way I'm protected against drive failures and accidental deletes. Worst case scenario I loose 1 week of stuff, but the script can be configured to backup stuff more often if one so desires. I looked into unRAID before and I didn't like it since I still needed a backup solution of some sorts. I like the setup I got, no problems what so ever.

Harry
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darkscout Offline
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Post: #7
You might also give NexentaStor a look. It's what I'm looking at moving to since OpenSolaris is dead.

http://www.nexenta.com/corp/nexentastor-...r-versions
Free up to 12TB.

ZFS really is a great file system, NexentaMan has a pretty nice walkthrough.
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markguy Offline
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Post: #8
I'm not criticizing your NAS choices, just curious. How often do accidental deletes happen to you? This honestly never occurred to me to base a NAS choice around. If it's just a level of paranoia for you, I'm completely on board. Paranoia and your wife's enormous music library and scanned in family photos go well together! Smile

unRAID uses reiserfs, which means there's no undelete built in, although there are ways to recover files, apparently. I've never had to try it, thankfully.

Nexenta looks interesting and ZFS may have some advantages, but it looks like a solution you'd have to manage a great deal more than unRAID. Key word there is "looks"... I have no history with Nexenta.

OpenELEC 2.95.5
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darkscout Offline
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Post: #9
It's more or less set it and forget it, unless you have a need to constantly fiddle with stuff. Automatic snapshots for your critical stuff. Set a schedule for how often it should check the integrity of the ZFS.

Grab a copy of VirtualBox and compare all the solutions for yourself. I usually create 5 or so 2GB virtual disks and then go from there. If you do bridged networking it will show up as just another device on your network.
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Mallet21 Offline
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Post: #10
fonzie Wrote:I saw that setup as well. They're currently sold out.

I was trying to piece that setup in Newegg but the motherboard and CPU were discontinued. Can anyone build a comparable system like that for that price or cheaper? I have no qualms building a PC myself (I enjoy it actually).

I'm sure you could.

You could also go with an AMD Sempron processor ($32) and a 740G motherboard that has 6 onboard SATA connections ($50). Then you would just need the case, PSU, 1 stick of RAM and the Unraid license. Could always add the PCI cards for add'l SATA connections at a later date.
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gabbott Online
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Post: #11
For unRAID have a look at the budget box build, its basically what I built. I was able to build it for less than $400 without the drives.

http://lime-technology.com/wiki/index.ph...ded_Builds
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Dullie Offline
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Post: #12
I use Windows Home Server.. But from my reading here and there I think unRAID is good but slow especially when writting big files compared to FlexRAID which happens to be free and can even work on WHS..

So think of FlexRAID which is supposed to be a lot faster than unRAID..
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weldon Offline
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Post: #13
Dullie Wrote:I use Windows Home Server.. But from my reading here and there I think unRAID is good but slow especially when writting big files compared to FlexRAID which happens to be free and can even work on WHS..

So think of FlexRAID which is supposed to be a lot faster than unRAID..

I also use WHS, and It has proved very good so far. I initally had unRAID, but after a frustrating install process, at the end it felt very limited. The users on the forum are helpful, but very technical; combined with an outdated wiki, it is very hard to find information.

I switched to WHS, and it's been great. The built in backup of my computers daily has been very helpful, used it a few times already.

The WHS console is a 'pretty' all-in-one solution that supports many addons.

You can scan your computers for viruses, wake them up, easily configure permissions, UPS support during power outages, convert videos on-the-fly, install a VPN to access your network from home, schedule your server to turn itself on/off, etc.

While with enough know-how and tweaking you can probably accomplish most of this in unRAID, for a box you're going to put in your garage and try 'set and forget,' why make it so complicated?

I currently have 8 drives totalling 12TB, and its been working great.
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PANiCnz Offline
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Post: #14
fonzie Wrote:--What does unRaid offer that freeNAs does not? Vice versa?

ZFS!

Seriously once you understand all the goodness of ZFS unRaid won't even be an option.

I can't understand how people even consider unRaid, ZFS is use in commercial data centers everywhere, doubt you'll find unRaid there. The cost arguement doesn't work because both FreeNAS and Nexenta can be had for free, and with a simple RAIDZ1 setup you only lose one drive to partiy.

On a side note, I've been looking into Nexenta a bit lately and from a performance persepective it seems to have an advantage over FreeNAS. You do lose some of the SOHO features (torrent client etc) but for the added performance i think it a valid trade.
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hazeh Offline
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Post: #15
PANiCnz Wrote:On a side note, I've been looking into Nexenta a bit lately and from a performance persepective it seems to have an advantage over FreeNAS. You do lose some of the SOHO features (torrent client etc) but for the added performance i think it a valid trade.

I've seen reports of people getting 110MB/s read/write with SMB on a raidz1 array with freenas - not really going to get faster than that Smile

I haven't tried nexentastor. freenas has been working brilliantly for me for years and I'm very excited watching the 0.8 development.
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