Building a NAS, need help with software part ;) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-03-2013, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everybody,

I wanted a Nas, so I decided to build my own wink.gif. I've ordered some hardware (still waiting to arrive):

CPU: Intel Celeron g1610
motherboard: Asrock H77M (Support RAID 0 , 1 , 5 and 10)
Ram: 4GB 1600mhz
HDD: 2 x 2TB western digital green

So now I've ordered everything, I've started thinking what software I should use. I want to have a safe setup, so if a disk fails, my data isn't lost. So I was thinking to use raid 1.
That brings the following question with it: software raid 1 or hardware raid 1?

I also want my server to be able to transcode all my movies stored on the server, so I can watch them in my browser and on my tablet/phone. I think the best software I can use for this is plex server. Or am I wrong? tongue.gif

I also want to create multiple shares, for person a , b and c. Every person gots it own personal storage space on the nas. And I want it to sync between the devices of each person. So if person A put something on the server from his/her computer, it will be automatically synct with person A smartphone and laptop etc. Does anybody know a good program to do this dropbox-style share-thing on the nas tongue.gif ?

And last, but in fact the most important question tongue.gif What OS should I run on the server. I want to have a safe RAID setup. Easy to maintain and able to install plex on it. I've read something on the internet about unraid, which is able to install plex on it. I'm not sure if there is also a sync app to do my dropbox-style-share-nas-thing tongue.gif. Anyone got suggestions which OS I should use, or shouldn't tongue.gif


Thanks in advance

edit: gonna use it in combination with a HTPC which will be running openelec-windows (and maybe Ubuntu too wink.gif )
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-03-2013, 01:48 PM
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IMO your going about this backwards. figure out what software and OS you want based on your feature reuqirements and then buy HW that is compatible with your OS. You might start by looking at FreeNas, Unraid and Windows Home Server and maybe some commercial NAS's like the Synology disk station.

you should also read up on raid. There are much better choices than raid1.

Sean
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

IMO your going about this backwards. figure out what software and OS you want based on your feature reuqirements and then buy HW that is compatible with your OS. You might start by looking at FreeNas, Unraid and Windows Home Server and maybe some commercial NAS's like the Synology disk station.

you should also read up on raid. There are much better choices than raid1.

Sean

That's what I did. I read what the different OS's had to offer such as FreeNAS, UnRaid, Raid, FlexRaid, etc, and I ended up deciding to build an UnRaid server because I was able to use older hardware that I had laying around. So, like sean_w_smith mention, you went about it backwards.
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Media Server: UnRaid Server: 15TB of storage and growing :).

http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8599

 

Home Theater Set Up:

http://www.avsforum.com/lists/display/view/id/8597

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post #4 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 03:31 AM
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You could just install Ubuntu on the PC, you don't necessarily need a highly specialised file server OS for what your describing and using Ubuntu would be a lot easier than some of the dedicated OS. Plex is also available for Ubuntu as an official release.

The only messy bit would be setting up RAID array afterwords, Ubuntu doesn't do it natively but you can install software to create a RAID1 mirror array.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 04:47 AM - Thread Starter
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hmmm, okay thank you.
I've ordered a new system because it is power efficient. I know there are better raids than raid 1 , but they aren't available for 2 disks afaik. (I plan to run raid 5 if I run out of storage).
Does anyone know a good website with all nas software compared?
What program should I use to sync folders between devices?

unraid: just saw that unraid doesn't support 'real' raid, but they created their own raid-technology with great advantages. I think it's simpler to set up unraid than creating an Ubuntu server, or am I wrong? The only thing i'm still looking for is if it's possible to create different user accounts for person a ; b ; c etc. to give them a private storage. so person B can't see the stuff from person A etc.

Also still looking a sync program that syncs data between smarthpohen and computers from one person to their personal storage.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 12:18 PM
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Hi Bosiwow,
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosiwow View Post

hmmm, okay thank you.

Does anyone know a good website with all nas software compared?
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 02:11 PM
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Creating a soft-Raid-1 using ubuntu server is very easy. I have one running as an FTP server and has been for almost 4 years without a problem (well I replaced a bad drive but no harm to my data). Check out the Ubuntu forums and you'll find several step by step how-to's.

I would be a little worried about the Raid-1 and streaming high quality HD (if you even plan to). I ran a few of those old WD Raid 1 externals back in the day and some BD titles would freeze and hiccup when streaming. I ended up running them in R0 and that solved the issue. So R1 (depending on your hardware) can slow you down.

FTL
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 04:42 PM
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Hi FTL,
Quote:
Originally Posted by fasterthanlight View Post

. . . So R1 (depending on your hardware) can slow you down.
Something must have been wrong with that system, likely a bug in the software. In general, a Raid-1 system should approach twice the speed of a single drive when reading, and could be as bad as half the speed of a single drive when writing (write-caching can mitigate the write penalty).

All of my servers are Raid-1, and I don't have any problems streaming multiple Blu-Ray rips at the same time. Of course, with a soft-raid, the software is always suspect. To do any Raid correctly, the software needs to be multi-treaded.
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-04-2013, 05:43 PM
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Another simple comparison
http://snapraid.sourceforge.net/compare.html
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-05-2013, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
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ty guys smile.gif
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-05-2013, 05:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi FTL,
Something must have been wrong with that system, likely a bug in the software. In general, a Raid-1 system should approach twice the speed of a single drive when reading, and could be as bad as half the speed of a single drive when writing (write-caching can mitigate the write penalty).

All of my servers are Raid-1, and I don't have any problems streaming multiple Blu-Ray rips at the same time. Of course, with a soft-raid, the software is always suspect. To do any Raid correctly, the software needs to be multi-treaded.

I thought that writes would be slightly slower but reads would not. Bad read performance was the case on all three drives from Western Digital. It could have been their low-end raid hardware/firmware within the drives themselves like you mention.

From what I've read the only time R1 will give you better performance than a single drive is when the Raid controller offers 'split seeks' which is dependent on the controller card you are using. We may be speaking of the same thing (multi-threaded)

Since Raid is not a backup, I use R5 for the performance/space ratio and backup files to externals.
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-05-2013, 03:14 PM
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Hi FTL,
Quote:
Originally Posted by fasterthanlight View Post

From what I've read the only time R1 will give you better performance than a single drive is when the Raid controller offers 'split seeks' which is dependent on the controller card you are using. We may be speaking of the same thing (multi-threaded).
Yes, I think we are talking about the same things.

'Split seeks', which we once called 'overlapped seeks', used to be a requirement for performance in multi-drive systems. But SATA systems today use 'implied seeks', which means seek commands are normally never issued. Instead, just reads and writes are issued, and the drive decides when to seek. All a Raid-1 system should need to do is split the reads up between the two drives, and let the drives operate in parallel.

SATA now has a feature called 'Native Command Queuing', which allows multiple read and write commands to be issued (up to 31 command), and the drive then decides the order of execution. This allows the drive to optimize seek-times and rotational latency to squeeze the best performance from the mechanics. If a Raid driver simply issued the commands to the drives as it received them from the host, equalizing the load between the drives, then performance could increase with Raid-1 the same as it increases with Raid-5: Actual access-time would be equal to the single-drive access-time divided by the number of drives.

The problem you might have seen is the one seen in many PATA systems: The disk driver was using ISA-bus protocols. The ISA protocols didn't allow for any overlap. The solution in the ISA days was to be sure the two drives in a Raid-1 were split between the primary and secondary ISA controllers (each drive on a separate PATA cable), and not as 'Master' and 'Slave' on one controller (both drives on a single PATA cable).

When I say that the software must be multi-threaded, what I mean is that it needs to be able to service each drive asynchronously from the other drive. Otherwise, drive servicing will become a bottleneck and limit the performance. A more formal description would be that the raid-driver needs to be re-entrant.

Sorry for the ramble . . .
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-05-2013, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi FTL,
Yes, I think we are talking about the same things.

'Split seeks', which we once called 'overlapped seeks', used to be a requirement for performance in multi-drive systems. But SATA systems today use 'implied seeks', which means seek commands are normally never issued. Instead, just reads and writes are issued, and the drive decides when to seek. All a Raid-1 system should need to do is split the reads up between the two drives, and let the drives operate in parallel.

SATA now has a feature called 'Native Command Queuing', which allows multiple read and write commands to be issued (up to 31 command), and the drive then decides the order of execution. This allows the drive to optimize seek-times and rotational latency to squeeze the best performance from the mechanics. If a Raid driver simply issued the commands to the drives as it received them from the host, equalizing the load between the drives, then performance could increase with Raid-1 the same as it increases with Raid-5: Actual access-time would be equal to the single-drive access-time divided by the number of drives.

The problem you might have seen is the one seen in many PATA systems: The disk driver was using ISA-bus protocols. The ISA protocols didn't allow for any overlap. The solution in the ISA days was to be sure the two drives in a Raid-1 were split between the primary and secondary ISA controllers (each drive on a separate PATA cable), and not as 'Master' and 'Slave' on one controller (both drives on a single PATA cable).

When I say that the software must be multi-threaded, what I mean is that it needs to be able to service each drive asynchronously from the other drive. Otherwise, drive servicing will become a bottleneck and limit the performance. A more formal description would be that the raid-driver needs to be re-entrant.

Sorry for the ramble . . .

No need to be sorry. I appreciate your detailed explanation.

Makes me wonder what those old WD drives were using in regards to hardware/firmware.

Cheers,
FTL
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