unRaid or FlexRaid ? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Excellent post.
It's amazing how uninformed and confused many people are on the many benefits of software based raid arrays for the htpc platform.

+1. It's the very reason why I've avoided any sort of hardware RAID setup. There are just too many ways you can lose data. With unRAID, I've never lost data for any reason that wasn't caused by me. I've had drives go bad and was able to rebuild the data from parity. I love the fact that both unRAID and FlexRAID both allow you to create an array with a variety of disc sizes and types.

Hey, a few quick questions for you FlexRAID users. I've installed FlexRAID on a Windows 7 platform and FlexRAID is supposed to support drives that have existing data on them. What filesystems will FlexRAID recognize? I'm currently using unRAID and the drives are all formatted with the reiserfs filesystem which is not recognized by Windows. Will FlexRAID see these drives as empty or will it see the data they contain?

Will I have to use a drive that's been formatted with NTFS and then transfer the data to the newly formatted drive in order for FlexRAID to see it? Can FlexRAID format the drive to whatever system it uses?
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post #92 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 06:59 AM
 
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I can attast that RAID4 works. I had a WD 2TB HDD die. WD replaced it under warranty, but they obviously did not replace all the movies I had on that HDD. I put the new HDD in the place of the old one and did the needed Windows actions to get the new drive formatted and given the same drive letter as the dead drive. I then restored my data from parity.

If I did not have RAID4 running, I would have also lost all my data. At the time, I was using FlexRAID. I am now using SnapRAID. Both are RAID4 setups and accomplish the same thing.

No backup / safety solution can protect you from yourself...so the "what if you restore to the wrong place" line of thought is simply stupid....might as well say "what if I burn my house down with me inside it".
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post #93 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

+1. It's the very reason why I've avoided any sort of hardware RAID setup. There are just too many ways you can lose data. With unRAID, I've never lost data for any reason that wasn't caused by me. I've had drives go bad and was able to rebuild the data from parity. I love the fact that both unRAID and FlexRAID both allow you to create an array with a variety of disc sizes and types.
Hey, a few quick questions for you FlexRAID users. I've installed FlexRAID on a Windows 7 platform and FlexRAID is supposed to support drives that have existing data on them. What filesystems will FlexRAID recognize? I'm currently using unRAID and the drives are all formatted with the reiserfs filesystem which is not recognized by Windows. Will FlexRAID see these drives as empty or will it see the data they contain?
Will I have to use a drive that's been formatted with NTFS and then transfer the data to the newly formatted drive in order for FlexRAID to see it? Can FlexRAID format the drive to whatever system it uses?

I just moved from unRaid to FlexRaid. I could not find any good solutions to the be able to read the reiserfs formatted drives under windows. I just had both servers running and transferred over the network. It took a few days but I also had to move drives in groups to have the space to transfer.
For formatting drives I just used windows to format them.
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post #94 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by OneFast3 View Post

I just moved from unRaid to FlexRaid. I could not find any good solutions to the be able to read the reiserfs formatted drives under windows. I just had both servers running and transferred over the network. It took a few days but I also had to move drives in groups to have the space to transfer.
For formatting drives I just used windows to format them.

Or you could have used SnapRAID or FlexRAID under linux, which can read reiserfs.
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post #95 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by OneFast3 View Post

I just moved from unRaid to FlexRaid. I could not find any good solutions to the be able to read the reiserfs formatted drives under windows. I just had both servers running and transferred over the network. It took a few days but I also had to move drives in groups to have the space to transfer.
For formatting drives I just used windows to format them.

With FlexRAID, you can create or extend the parity set with any drive with existing data on it, if it is in a format the OS you are using can read. I do recall with unRaid you have to let unRaid format the drive before it can 'join' the parity set.
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post #96 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Hey, a few quick questions for you FlexRAID users. I've installed FlexRAID on a Windows 7 platform and FlexRAID is supposed to support drives that have existing data on them. What filesystems will FlexRAID recognize? I'm currently using unRAID and the drives are all formatted with the reiserfs filesystem which is not recognized by Windows. Will FlexRAID see these drives as empty or will it see the data they contain?

I'm not a FlexRAID user (I use SnapRAID), but I know how the snapshot RAID programs work. You need to understand that they operate above the filesystem. They make standard filesystem calls to read the data. So if your OS does not support a particular filesystem, then neither does FlexRAID.

There is a kludgey program that will allow Windows to read reiserfs, you can google it. But why not just use SnapRAID or FlexRAID under linux? Most linux kernels ship with reiserfs support.
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post #97 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

You're just making illogical excuses about variables you can't predict. what if?.... well what if you get ran over before you can retrieve your backed-up data? what if your house burns down? you have a heart attack? What if your backup hard drive is defective? what if...?

That's what insurance is for. Warranties, fire insurance, service plans, health insurance, etc. Unraid & Flexraid are just another form of the the same basic concept.

And you very much can predict these variables. You use actuarial tables or failure studies and statistical analysis. You crunch numbers instead of just blindly saying "FlexRAID is safer than not using raid, or using a stripped raid, or not backing up.". You compare insurance plans. You do the homework and do the math instead of reading bullet points from the Flexraid website.

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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

1) FlexRAID doesn't change your drives data.

http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1144.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1035.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,780.0.html
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,408.0.html

If, under the hood, the software actually worked the way you think it works, these bugs would not exist.

Flexraid has a device driver that hooks filesystem syscalls. No matter how many times anyone says it's not designed to be a data management layer, that doesn't change the fact that at a nuts & bolts level, it is implemented as a data management layer and inherits all the liabilities of one.
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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

In flexraid, if you lose 1 data drive you can rebuild the array. If you lose the parity drive, you can rebuild a new parity drive. If you lost 1 data drive and 1 parity drive, you just lose the data on the 1 data drive. If 2 data drives go, you at least have 1 drive w/ data you

That's the theory, sure...and there is no way to do any of that without changing the contents of a drive. You just need to hope the rebuild proceeds according to theory.

The primary difference between restoring from backup and rebuilding a degraded array is simultaneously writing to and reading from the same datastore. If a backup restoration goes bad, you can restart the process from scratch. There is a drastically reduced chance of overwriting your backup. If a rebuild fails, you usually don't get a second chance. If you chose to use a raid or raid-derivative in lieu of a backup solution, you are hosed.
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post #98 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Correction --- with hardware Raid you are in danger of losing everything.
This is absolutely not the case with some of the software raid options which is just one of the many reasons they are much better for a HTPC server.

By "hardware RAID", do you mean the use of on-board RAID, or card-based RAID (or both)? I can understand on-board RAID since if the board goes, so goes your data, but I've been using 4 1-terabyte drives in a RAID-5 array for years now without issues. The array is on a highpoint RAID card. My server has suffered one blown motherboard and one complete upgrade (board, processor and memory) and the array has come right back up each time.

I rely on my WHS 2011 box to provide live TV, movies & music to all of my home theater machines, and I suppose there is a risk that the highpoint card could go, and that's why I have a separate 2 Tb drive for backups (And the OS is on a sixth drive), but It's proven to be quite reliable for a long time now. Isn't it still true that you take a performance hit with software RAID? Maybe things have improved since the last time I've looked at it.
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post #99 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by EricN View Post

That's what insurance is for. Warranties, fire insurance, service plans, health insurance, etc. Unraid & Flexraid are just another form of the the same basic concept.
And you very much can predict these variables. You use actuarial tables or failure studies and statistical analysis. You crunch numbers instead of just blindly saying "FlexRAID is safer than not using raid, or using a stripped raid, or not backing up.". You compare insurance plans. You do the homework and do the math instead of reading bullet points from the Flexraid website.

Apples to oranges comparison. None of the options you mentioned has any chance to get your data back.
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Originally Posted by EricN View Post

http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1144.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1035.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,780.0.html
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,408.0.html
If, under the hood, the software actually worked the way you think it works, these bugs would not exist.
Flexraid has a device driver that hooks filesystem syscalls. No matter how many times anyone says it's not designed to be a data management layer, that doesn't change the fact that at a nuts & bolts level, it is implemented as a data management layer and inherits all the liabilities of one.

Without even reading any of those links. I will agree that it adds some data to your disks, but it doesn't alter your files, or change the file system format of the drive.
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Originally Posted by EricN View Post

That's the theory, sure...and there is no way to do any of that without changing the contents of a drive. You just need to hope the rebuild proceeds according to theory.
The primary difference between restoring from backup and rebuilding a degraded array is simultaneously writing to and reading from the same datastore. If a backup restoration goes bad, you can restart the process from scratch. There is a drastically reduced chance of overwriting your backup. If a rebuild fails, you usually don't get a second chance. If you chose to use a raid or raid-derivative in lieu of a backup solution, you are hosed.

You toss the word theory around like FlexRAID, or programs like it, doesn't exist yet, or aren't proven to work. Yet you avoid the points anyone in this thread has made and just post nonsense about "what if" situations that anyone can apply to any product in the world. What is your motive? Do you own a data backup service?

So do you disagree with the following:

FlexRAID and other software like it are better than not having parity data (raid), and/or more convenient than proprietary or stripped arrays, but not as good as total backups (if applicable to the data you want to protect and cost effective for you).
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post #100 of 323 Old 09-20-2012, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

I'm not a FlexRAID user (I use SnapRAID), but I know how the snapshot RAID programs work. You need to understand that they operate above the filesystem. They make standard filesystem calls to read the data. So if your OS does not support a particular filesystem, then neither does FlexRAID.
There is a kludgey program that will allow Windows to read reiserfs, you can google it. But why not just use SnapRAID or FlexRAID under linux? Most linux kernels ship with reiserfs support.
Using FlexRAID under Linux would probably be the best solution, but that means I'm going to have to learn how to set up a Linux distribution from scratch and then deal with finding the necessary drivers for my hardware. I'm not sure I want to invest that much time and effort to deal with FlexRAID, especially considering I have a perfectly good unRAID setup that's been working just fine for over five years.

Is there a Linux distribution that's basically a one-stop setup that isn't going to require a huge learning curve? My only exposure to Linux has been from hacking Tivos and using Linux boot disks to access the Tivo hard drives.
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post #101 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

Or you could have used SnapRAID or FlexRAID under linux, which can read reiserfs.

That was my reason for going with FlexRaid/Win7 to have my server on Windows so I could run other things I want to run on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim2100 View Post

I'm not a FlexRAID user (I use SnapRAID), but I know how the snapshot RAID programs work. You need to understand that they operate above the filesystem. They make standard filesystem calls to read the data. So if your OS does not support a particular filesystem, then neither does FlexRAID.
There is a kludgey program that will allow Windows to read reiserfs, you can google it. But why not just use SnapRAID or FlexRAID under linux? Most linux kernels ship with reiserfs support.

Yeah saw that program and decided it was just as easy to copy over network then mess with all that to just get windows to read the drives.
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Using FlexRAID under Linux would probably be the best solution, but that means I'm going to have to learn how to set up a Linux distribution from scratch and then deal with finding the necessary drivers for my hardware. I'm not sure I want to invest that much time and effort to deal with FlexRAID, especially considering I have a perfectly good unRAID setup that's been working just fine for over five years.
Is there a Linux distribution that's basically a one-stop setup that isn't going to require a huge learning curve? My only exposure to Linux has been from hacking Tivos and using Linux boot disks to access the Tivo hard drives.

It's all in what you want. If unRaid is working good for you why are you changing? I was not too happy with unRaid but do think most of my problems came from my hardware I was using for this setup. I wanted to change my hardware and decided to use the FlexRaid/Win7 setup because of my need to run other things on my server that are Windows only. I have future plans but they involve another hardware upgrade so I can run the server with VM's.
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post #102 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

Without even reading any of those links. I will agree that it adds some data to your disks, but it doesn't alter your files, or change the file system format of the drive.

Those links are reports (from paying customers) of data loss caused by bugs in FlexRaid. All of the ones I linked occurred during day-to-day use, not during an array rebuild. All of them are recent--from the current major release. These were separate bugs and acknowledged by the developer as "severe", and that he would (and did) get the problem patched ASAP.

This is completely normal for a one-man-shop development house. No matter how good the developer is, there is an upper limit to the product quality without dedicated QA or more eyeballs on the code. That is reality. You can pretend bugs won't happen. You can pretend bugs are hypothetical "what-ifs". That doesn't make them go away. Without that line of defense, you will be exposed to them.
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What is your motive? Do you own a data backup service?

No, I'm a database administrator. I regularly do cost-benefit analysis of new storage products. I don't think HTPC setups deserve any less diligence or scrutiny. Hard-drive based media collections can easily be the most expensive, both in labor and cost, part of the setup, and this forum shouldn't advertise a solution without examining the benefits, risks, and opportunity costs. Some of the posts in this thread are cheerleading Flexraid like it's the greatest thing since oxygen-free gold-plated HDMI cables.
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post #103 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by EricN View Post

You do the homework and do the math instead of reading bullet points from the Flexraid website.
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1144.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php?topic=1035.0
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,780.0.html
http://forum.flexraid.com/index.php/topic,408.0.html
If, under the hood, the software actually worked the way you think it works, these bugs would not exist.

All of those topics, except for 780, have to do with storage pooling and not what we are discussing in this thread, parity backup. And 780 had to do with encrypted files slowing down/failing the parity snapshot but not manipulating or corrupting the data. Storage pooling is a data management tool and will manipulate your data. Parity backup is not data management and it will not impact your existing data (only potentially lose/corrupt what you are trying to restore). All of us here know parity backup is not the end-all-be-all backup. Hell, we know it isn't even a backup. It's a helpful tool which has a good probability (a probability that only gets better as the software is further designed) to restore the loss of a drive. We would not depend on this software to backup 'mission' critical data, such as photos, docs, home videos and music. But movies you can re-rip or TV shows you can re-download? Those are not worth the investment of 1:1 backup, and definitely not offsite.
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post #104 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jrwalte View Post

All of those topics, except for 780, have to do with storage pooling and not what we are discussing in this thread, parity backup. And 780 had to do with encrypted files slowing down/failing the parity snapshot but not manipulating or corrupting the data. Storage pooling is a data management tool and will manipulate your data. Parity backup is not data management and it will not impact your existing data (only potentially lose/corrupt what you are trying to restore). All of us here know parity backup is not the end-all-be-all backup. Hell, we know it isn't even a backup. It's a helpful tool which has a good probability (a probability that only gets better as the software is further designed) to restore the loss of a drive. We would not depend on this software to backup 'mission' critical data, such as photos, docs, home videos and music. But movies you can re-rip or TV shows you can re-download? Those are not worth the investment of 1:1 backup, and definitely not offsite.

That's the same conclusion I made when I looked at those links too.

Having used FlexRaid for about 6 months now I have no lost data.
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post #105 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jrwalte View Post

All of those topics, except for 780, have to do with storage pooling and not what we are discussing in this thread, parity backup. And 780 had to do with encrypted files slowing down/failing the parity snapshot but not manipulating or corrupting the data. Storage pooling is a data management tool and will manipulate your data. Parity backup is not data management and it will not impact your existing data (only potentially lose/corrupt what you are trying to restore)

You describe pooling and parity as completely separate features, but under the hood, they are intertwined much more than you think.

http://wiki.flexraid.com/2011/10/18/understanding-the-limitations-of-snapshot-raid/
  • Deletes will compromise recovery UNLESS the operations are done through the storage pool and FlexRAID’s proprietary recycle bin feature is turned on
  • Edits WILL compromise recovery

Consider the situation where you are running with drives A,B,C,D and parity P, and you aren't using the "proprietary recycle bin feature" (the bit that hooks filesystem calls to keep everything in sync). If you delete file A1, you just compromised your ability to rebuild files B1,C1 & D1 if you have a drive failure before the next snapshot. And that's the best case. The bits that A1 was paritied against could be scattered across files B1-Bn, C1-Cn, D1-Dn. If A1 was a large file, like a movie, the odds are high that you just compromised the parity protection of a significant portion of your entire array. If you lose a drive before the next snapshot, it will take you longer to sift through what survived and what didn't than it will to rerip from original discs.

Granted, most people (I assume) don't delete things from their media collection until they start running out of space, and the data is relatively static. Let's say you are at only at 75% utilization with a 4+1 Flexraid setup, and therefore aren't concerned being forced into turning on drive pooling because of the deletion problem. If you scrapped Flexraid and reclaimed drive P, that drops you to 60% utilization (.75*4/5). Using the empty space for simple data duplication leaves 6.6% (2/5-1/(.75*4)) of your data unprotected during a single drive-loss AND you get to choose which data isn't being protected, such as low-demand rips. Compare that to the previous scenario, which could wipe out a fourth of it.

Once your utilization goes up, snapshot parity without pooling gets better, but once you get above 85%, you are going to want pooling anyways. That's a pretty damn small utilization window. Even if it makes sense when you design the system, it doesn't take much growth for it to become the wrong answer.
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post #106 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 04:38 PM
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You don't need to turn on pooling to be protected in the case of deletes if you take the simple precaution of keeping the deleted files until your sync completes (i.e., move the "deleted" files to somewhere not being covered by the snapshot RAID program). If a drive fails during the sync, you can just put the deleted files back and then restore the data on the failed drive.

Alternatively, you can run with more than 1 parity drive, then you can delete data from one drive, have another drive fail, and still restore all your data.

Also note that if you just deleted a few files, have single parity, and then have a drive fail before the sync completed, you will be able to recover the files on the failed drive except for a few that "line up" with the files that you deleted. For most people, that would just mean you have to re-rip a few movies if you deleted a few movies. Not such a big deal.
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post #107 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 05:52 PM
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I just want to add that my unRaid array has been chugging along for well over a year now with no issues. The box quietly sits in the corner severing media and slowly filling up with music, tv shows, and movies. Never once had a crash or had a drive go down. Low maintenance - have added a couple drives as necessary but have plenty more room to grow.
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post #108 of 323 Old 09-21-2012, 06:09 PM
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post #109 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Most of the software raid option are low maintenance, imo.
Yep. Mine just runs 24/7 and I don't even have to think about it. I had problems with my array early on, but it turned out to be a flaky SATA backplane that would cause one of my drives to drop off the array unexpectedly. I'd reinstall the drive and it would rebuild the data from parity and continue to work for several months before it would repeat the cycle. I have since replaced the backplane and it's been working fine ever since.

I did have an issue recently when I tried to upgrade to unRAID 4.7. It turns out that I had the dreaded HPA issue on one of my drives due to using a Gigabyte motherboard. I eventually got it worked out and swapped out the Gigabyte mobo with an Asus FM1 board. Now everything's copacetic once again.

I've been toying with the idea of trying FlexRAID, but now I'm not so sure anymore. FlexRAID is far more complex to set up since you need to install it on top of an OS. All of my unRAID drives use the reiserfs filesystem so I'd have to reformat the drives and transfer the data to a new drive if I want to use Windows. Using Linux would be the easiest solution, but then I have no idea if my hardware is supported and I have no intention of buying anything new just to check it out. UnRAID has worked out better than I could have possibly hoped and, aside from the hardware issues I mentioned, it's been completely problem-free. If I was considering a setup from scratch I'd think about giving FlexRAID a try, but migrating from unRAID to FlexRAID looks like it would be more trouble than it's worth for little or no benefit.

Assassin mentioned earlier that he thought unRAID could end up being more expensive than FlexRAID. I don't agree with this if the idea is to use the PC as a dedicated server. First of all, unRAID is installed and boots from a USB flash drive. FlexRAID has to be installed on a hard drive on top of an OS. You not only have to purchase an extra hard drive and an OS (unless you use Linux, which is usually free to download), but you're sacrificing a SATA port that could be used for a data drive. Of course, if you want to use the server for other applications then FlexRAID allows you to do so. I've got other PCs in my house to do any other chores so my unRAID server is dedicated strictly to storing and streaming data anywhere it's needed.
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post #110 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 07:45 AM
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Right. But unraid costs over $100 for a decent sized server. And you still don't get to use a "real" OS even at that price.

Flexraid is $40 for whs2011 and $40-$60 for Flexraid.
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post #111 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 09:13 AM
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Right. But unraid costs over $100 for a decent sized server. And you still don't get to use a "real" OS even at that price.
Flexraid is $40 for whs2011 and $40-$60 for Flexraid.
Don't forget that you have to factor in the cost of a hard drive and possibly a Windows license, which can far exceed the savings you get with a FlexRAID license. You can buy a 2-pack license for unRAID Server Pro and split the cost with a friend, bringing the cost down to about $75 apiece. If you want a pre-configured flash drive then add another $10 to the cost per person. Now you're only talking a difference of $25 between a FlexRAID license and an unRAID Pro license, and you'll still need a hard drive for FlexRAID and the OS. I'm just not seeing where FlexRAID is going to be less expensive when you factor in everything you need for a functional server.

The one downside of unRAID to me is that you're restricted by the number of drives it supports. OTOH, the latest version 5 beta supports up to 24 drives, IIRC, making it a perfect fit for a Norco 4224 setup. 24 drives is probably more than most people will ever need for a home server, especially with hard drive capacities up to 4GB. With FlexRAID you have to give up a hard drive slot to install an OS, which is a huge dealbreaker if you're not using a server rack case. The OS will probably require far more maintenance than the unRAID software, which requires absolutely none. Just plug in the flash drive, set the BIOS to boot from it and you're done with the installation. Configuring the hard drives can be a long process with unRAID since it has to perform a pre-clear on each new drive you install (i.e., writing all zeroes to the drive). The nice thing is that you have the option to do this in the background without affecting server operations.

That being said, there's a good pro and con comparison of the features of each server software package in a previous post so I'll leave that up to the individual to see what other features are important them.
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post #112 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Don't forget that you have to factor in the cost of a hard drive and possibly a Windows license, which can far exceed the savings you get with a FlexRAID license. You can buy a 2-pack license for unRAID Server Pro and split the cost with a friend, bringing the cost down to about $75 apiece. If you want a pre-configured flash drive then add another $10 to the cost per person. Now you're only talking a difference of $25 between a FlexRAID license and an unRAID Pro license, and you'll still need a hard drive for FlexRAID and the OS. I'm just not seeing where FlexRAID is going to be less expensive when you factor in everything you need for a functional server.
The one downside of unRAID to me is that you're restricted by the number of drives it supports. OTOH, the latest version 5 beta supports up to 24 drives, IIRC, making it a perfect fit for a Norco 4224 setup. 24 drives is probably more than most people will ever need for a home server, especially with hard drive capacities up to 4GB. With FlexRAID you have to give up a hard drive slot to install an OS, which is a huge dealbreaker if you're not using a server rack case. The OS will probably require far more maintenance than the unRAID software, which requires absolutely none. Just plug in the flash drive, set the BIOS to boot from it and you're done with the installation. Configuring the hard drives can be a long process with unRAID since it has to perform a pre-clear on each new drive you install (i.e., writing all zeroes to the drive). The nice thing is that you have the option to do this in the background without affecting server operations.
That being said, there's a good pro and con comparison of the features of each server software package in a previous post so I'll leave that up to the individual to see what other features are important them.

I am not really seeing an argument where you "split the cost with a friend" as a good example and something that will easily apply to everyone. I guess then I could say that you could get a free copy of Win 7 at work or with an .edu account and then you are going to come out way ahead with flexraid even with the cost of adding a drive.

Sure you lose a single SATA port. But my board has 8 and I need only 6 right now and most people seem to either need 4-8 or 20+. So losing a single SATA port may or may not be a big deal. And I can easily add a SATA controller card for $10 and get that port back (plus 1 additional). And after you are done with unraid you still don't have a fully functioning server in regards to software and add-ons that it supports.

They are both good options for a HTPC server with very different pros and cons. Edit: Actually now that I think about it these differences are somewhat spitting hairs. They are more alike than dissimilar.
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post #113 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 11:06 AM
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The cheapest way to go is undoubtedly linux and SnapRAID. If you really want to, you can boot linux from a USB flash drive. And linux and SnapRAID are both free.
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post #114 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
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I am not really seeing an argument where you "split the cost with a friend" as a good example and something that will easily apply to everyone. I guess then I could say that you could get a free copy of Win 7 at work or with an .edu account and then you are going to come out way ahead with flexraid even with the cost of adding a drive.
Sure you lose a single SATA port. But my board has 8 and I need only 6 right now and most people seem to either need 4-8 or 20+. So losing a single SATA port may or may not be a big deal. And I can easily add a SATA controller card for $10 and get that port back (plus 1 additional). And after you are done with unraid you still don't have a fully functioning server in regards to software and add-ons that it supports.
They are both good options for a HTPC server with very different pros and cons. Edit: Actually now that I think about it these differences are somewhat spitting hairs. They are more alike than dissimilar.
Have you looked at the latest version 5 beta for unRAID? It's got a pretty long list of apps that it supports. As for the cost, you're just making my case for me. If you're saying most people only need 4-8 drives in their array then the unRAID Plus version is a good place to start. The cost of unRAID Plus (supports up to 6 drives) is only $69, which is only $9 more than the full version of FlexRAID (at the current "sale" price;)). You can easily get a small capacity flash drive for less than $20 that works with unRAID, which costs far less than the hard drive required for FlexRAID. The Plus version has all the same features of the Pro version except for the number of drives supported. If you find that you need more drives at a later date then you can easily upgrade to the Pro version for another $59 (supports up to 21 drives with version 4.7). I think the Pro version was only $99 when I bought it over five years ago, but then it only supported up to 16 drives. The current version supports 21 drives and the beta supports up to 24. I'm pretty sure I can upgrade to any future Pro version at no additional cost.

When it comes right down to it, the cost of unRAID is pretty close to what you'll spend on FlexRAID for the basic hardware and software. I'm 61 and both my kids graduated college years ago so I don't have access to a .edu account to get cheap software. I believe I do have a discount program through work for Microsoft products, but it's still more out-of-pocket expenses for me. I also don't care about installing extra apps since I want a server that just stores and distributes data. I don't plan on sitting in a storeroom to do any computing tasks since that's where my server resides. That's what my other PCs are for. Obviously, everyone has different needs and wants so FlexRAID may be exactly what they're looking for. There are a few things I see in FlexRAID that I like better than unRAID (no limitations on number of drives for starters), but there are also a few things that I like less, mostly because of the work involved to migrate between the two systems. If I was starting from scratch then I'd probably give higher consideration to FlexRAID. Like I said previously, unRAID was the only software solution available when I put my server together. FlexRAID and SnapRAID came to the party much later.
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post #115 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 02:37 PM
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FlexRaid has been around for almost 5 years now so its not exactly a new piece of software. Like I said both options are very good for a HTPC and have different pros and cons. I prefer to have something that is as flexible as possible for how I use my HTPC and my server especially if it is about the same or even less than the same price. YMMV.
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post #116 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by assassin View Post

Right. But unraid costs over $100 for a decent sized server. And you still don't get to use a "real" OS even at that price.
Flexraid is $40 for whs2011 and $40-$60 for Flexraid.

SnapRAID is free...plus the cost of whs2011 or whatever windows os you are putting it on.
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post #117 of 323 Old 09-22-2012, 07:23 PM
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SnapRAID is free...plus the cost of whs2011 or whatever windows os you are putting it on.

We weren't discussing snapraid. cool.gif
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post #118 of 323 Old 09-23-2012, 04:49 PM
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Can you use FlexRaid, Raid F with other pooling applications, i.e stablebit? I for one use pooling primarily for data management so I don't have to worry about a share out growing the size of single hard drive, not necessarily for fault tolerance, I do have a couple shares duplicated, but if I can add fault tolerance to all my data by adding a parity drive or two, that's a very compelling proposition. Also, can the parity drive be connected via USB? I’m maxed out at 6 internal drives, and 6 Sata ports, no PCIe for further expansion.

I have a complete backup of all data on secondary drives, but I’m getting lazy with what I’ll call “replaceable data”, maintaining a complete backup set, not only takes up space in my closet, there’s a cost to growing the backup set, I will always maintain secondary backups of irreplaceable data, but for the most part, if I can get fault tolerance of a single drive failure, I’d be willing to take a chance “replaceable data”.

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post #119 of 323 Old 09-23-2012, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by assassin View Post

I am not really seeing an argument where you "split the cost with a friend" as a good example and something that will easily apply to everyone. I guess then I could say that you could get a free copy of Win 7 at work or with an .edu account and then you are going to come out way ahead with flexraid even with the cost of adding a drive.
Sure you lose a single SATA port. But my board has 8 and I need only 6 right now and most people seem to either need 4-8 or 20+. So losing a single SATA port may or may not be a big deal. And I can easily add a SATA controller card for $10 and get that port back (plus 1 additional). And after you are done with unraid you still don't have a fully functioning server in regards to software and add-ons that it supports.
They are both good options for a HTPC server with very different pros and cons. Edit: Actually now that I think about it these differences are somewhat spitting hairs. They are more alike than dissimilar.

The point about splitting costs was a good one, no need to twist the facts. Limetech sell their licenses in a single pack and 2 packs for $30 extra, they are also fine with splitting the licenses between two different users. So if you have a need for 2 servers, or have a friend or family member that also would like to build a fileserver, then the cost per server is reduced quite a bit. This offer is not restricted to special deals at work or edu accounts, it is open to anyone. I bought the two pack, not because I needed it, but for $30 extra, I figured why not... who knows what will change down the line that I might call upon that second license (even now that I am not using either of the licenses, I still don't feel it is a waste since I've been using the product trouble free since early 2008 and may use the software again in the future if the need arises). There is no doubt that FlexRAID has a great deal of flexibility, it wasn't always the case - so despite the fact that it has been around a while, it was not in a production ready state until recently. With the right hardware, unRAID is much simpler to get up and running, and the limitations are readily understood upfront. The community is also far more helpful so if you do get into trouble, there is a greater probability of someone being able to help sort things out. It is far more appliance like which for some is exactly what they want, horses for courses.
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post #120 of 323 Old 09-23-2012, 06:06 PM
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How is that "twisting the facts"?

Not everyone wants the hassle of splitting licenses with complete strangers on the internet. I guess I could split a Microsoft family pack with 2 other strangers as well but no thanks.
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