Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Frisco, Tx, USA
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Your network will typically be the bottleneck, so I heartily recommend gigabit all the way.
That said, I have a MythTV box that records OTA HD (over gigabit) to my unRaid box and my front ends also play from that same unRaid box. The unRaid uses SATA 3.0 drives and it appears to handle the load without any issue, although since it uses ReiserFS, I have to enable 'slow deletes'. I've had a couple front ends running simultaneously and it's seemed to keep up pretty well. There've been some discussions on the unRaid forums about it, and it seems that most people haven't had any issues.
The main place I notice speed differences is when I'm moving files around *on one computer* -- over the network, I'm limited to the speed of the network for all practical purposes -- or when I'm scanning then entire drive (to figure out how many files I've got when moving stuff from one server to the other or doing a "df" or "du").
The benefits of unRaid -- ease of adding new drives, array made of different sized drives, auto-spin down of drives, ease of installation -- outweight the negatives -- cost, security issues, speed, not one big volume -- for me, but you have to make that determination yourself.
I looked at FreeNas (installed it on a test box), but I had a couple concerns:
- raid support seemed to be pretty weak, so I was concerned for my data
- I wanted to create my new server on the cheap, and buying 10 500 gig drives at one time was quite unappealing (and highly not wife-approved). Adding drives to the array in FreeNas is a "backup and pray" maneuver.
- It ran on FreeBSD, so I was less comfortable with it than unRaid, which uses Slackware, which was the first distro I ever used (a LONG time ago).
- It was pretty quick to get up and running though!