Setting up SnapRAID and pooling for file shares on Media Server - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 07-16-2013, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,
I'm really loving Ubuntu Server x64 so far.
I've decided that FlexRAID is not nearly as good as I had hoped, especially in Linux. I've learned and installed SnapRAID because 1. It's free and 2. I like the philosophy of it being somewhere between backup and RAID - seems more appropriate for a media server.

The problem I have is pooling for sharing files. I have seen some mention of using yet another piece of software to accomplish this. Right now I have created a /pool directory and am trying to share subfolders in there.
SnapRAID is configured with "pool /pool"

Unfortunately this isn't working well with smb sharing to OSX or Windows, as the virtual links are seen as just that - virtual links. I can't actually get to the files to play them.

Is there a general consensus right now on the best way to share folders on a linux media server? Ideally I'd love to have a folder for TV Shows that's read only for all, but read/write for the HTPC so it can push new shows via something like couchpotato, etc. Same concept for movies, etc. Other folders would be read only, and one folder would be like an "incoming file dump" for new downloads.

Essentially what I want is a NAS, but running on this server.

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post #2 of 34 Old 07-16-2013, 11:50 AM
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My recommendations would be in this order
  1. Test disk R/W performance on the server and from a client
  2. Some have issues with bundled NTFS support and recommend NTFS-3G instead, preference to a native nix filesystem if you aren't using already full disks
  3. Setup LVM
  4. Setup SMB/NFS (if using XBMC on HTPC you can mount NFS shares easily)
  5. Setup PERMISSIONS on shares and verify they work
  6. Test network performance to/from shares. Typical problems should be taken care of with above steps
  7. Setup Snapraid

I bookmarked this guide from a different discussion on this forum. Seems pretty easy to follow, but not always pure command line http://www.havetheknowhow.com/Configure-the-server/Install-SnapRAID.html
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post #3 of 34 Old 07-16-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply - I will check out your link,etc. But SnapRAID is already set up. My issue is with these "symbolic links" in the /pool directory. I'm trying to achieve the same thing as sharing one large volume instead of sharing folders on each drive. Surely everyone with a Linux based media server has run into this issue... I am surprised a solution is not more obvious... (Perhaps I am just missing it?)

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post #4 of 34 Old 07-18-2013, 12:14 PM
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Hello, you are correct, there are many better solutions than the basic pooling function built into SnapRAID. Personally I use AUFS, but mhddfs, or Greyhole are other methods to pool your disks within Linux. Here is my tutorial for setting up AUFS with SnapRAID. I like AUFS over the the other two, options above because it's kernel based (not FUSE), so it's very fast and lightweight.
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post #5 of 34 Old 07-21-2013, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow thanks Rubylazerz! The tutorial looks very informative but still a bit over my head. I will need to get much more comfortable with the Linux file system and nomenclature. One thing I notice is that all of my drives in Ubuntu Server mount one level deeper than I see in these kinds of tutorials. /media/username/disk1 for example. I wonder why this is or if it will present any problem. So far SnapRAID doesn't seem to mind. This AUFS seems pretty hardcore but I love the low level kernel mode you're referring to instead of some application layer concept. Is this the best way to go? What do most people do with Linux file servers with a pool of drives?

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post #6 of 34 Old 07-21-2013, 11:36 AM
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Are you using Ubuntu Server or Desktop? If it's server edition, they will mount only where you have told them to in /etc/fstab. AUFS is just like many other union filesystems. If you want speed and low system overhead, there aren't any other better options for pooling. You could use mhddfs, greyhole, or LVM, but all of them have shortcomings. They are either slow (mhddfs), even more difficult to configure (greyhole, and slower then AUFS too), or risk data in the the event of a disk loss (LVM). Most Linux server admins, myself included, would still suggest mdadm to make a software array, but for a home fileserver, SnapRAID + AUFS is a pretty tough combo to beat smile.gif
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post #7 of 34 Old 07-21-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Ubuntu Server 13.04; however I installed the Desktop environment via apt-get so I could use it more easily and learn. Interesting comment about mdadm - would it be superior to SnapRAID or no?

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post #8 of 34 Old 07-22-2013, 02:09 PM
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When you install Ubuntu Desktop, you make your server into Ubuntu Desktop, so there really isn't any difference at that point smile.gif If you want your disks to mount somewhere other than /media/username/disk_name, you need to mount them via /etc/fstab and set a mountpoint. In regards to mdadm vs. SnapRAID, one isn't superior to one another. mdadm is realtime RAID and SnapRAID is not. mdadm works very well, but I can't tell you how many people I've helped out on the UbuntuForums that got themselves over their heads and at a minimum needed some serious help to save their data to others that lost everything. Much of this has to do with not setting up alerting or knowing the proper commands. With SnapRAID, you can lose all of your parity drives and still have the data intact on the remaining disks. Also, you don't have to spin up the whole array just to read one file. With that being said, for home media servers, SnapRAID really is the best solution that costs nothing smile.gif
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post #9 of 34 Old 07-22-2013, 07:08 PM
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I assume you are using samba (what else?) so, in the smb.conf file under [global] add "follow symlinks = yes" and also add "wide links = yes". I use one folder called "Movies" and it contains symlinks to four other hard discs folders and I setup a share in samba that is read only for users of a readonly group and write-able for users in the writeable group, etc. It works great and looks like a group of folders when using xvmc, boxes, popcorn hour, etc. Makes it easy when adding test folders or rearranging folder/drive structures from a smb user it still looks the same. I don't know how this will play out with snapraid but it works for my purposes. BTW, I tried snapraid when it was ver. 1.9 and it was rather buggy. I had 4 or 5 3tb hdds that I snapraided and it was slow and failed after the first time I sync'd it. Hope it works better now.
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post #10 of 34 Old 07-22-2013, 11:20 PM
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Right, if you have Samba set up correctly, the symlink pool should work fine. It does on my linux server / Windows clients.

The OP needs to be more specific with describing his problem if it still does not work after setting up samba correctly.

Snapraid v1.9 was not "buggy". If it failed at the HDD level, then it is a driver issue, not a snapraid issue.
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post #11 of 34 Old 07-23-2013, 06:36 PM
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I didn't know that you could have driver issues on software (ubuntu) used by tens of thousands of computers but they have no problem unless snapraid is used on those drives/drivers. I am glad you pointed this out - I guess I might start using snapraid as a drive/driver test to make sure all is ok. You might let canonical (seagate,wd,etc.) know about this.
I had no idea!
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post #12 of 34 Old 07-23-2013, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ View Post

I didn't know that you could have driver issues on software (ubuntu) used by tens of thousands of computers but they have no problem unless snapraid is used on those drives/drivers. I am glad you pointed this out - I guess I might start using snapraid as a drive/driver test to make sure all is ok. You might let canonical (seagate,wd,etc.) know about this.
I had no idea!

I'm not having any driver problems, and I'm not using Ubuntu, so there is obviously no reason for me to "let canonical know".

The point is that snapraid just uses standard OS calls, so if you are having problems with reading or writing to your HDDs, it cannot be snapraid's fault -- it is either bad hardware or bad drivers (drivers are a kernel issue).

The thing about snapraid is that it puts a lot of stress on your drives and HBAs, since it will simultaneously read from all your data drives while writing to your parity drives. Some of the cheap HBAs have been found to be unable to handle the stress and/or the kernel driver for some HBAs is buggy. A couple people have posted to the snapraid help forum in the past about lockups and such, blaming snapraid, but it turned out that using motherboard SATA ports or different HBAs solved the problem.
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post #13 of 34 Old 07-23-2013, 07:43 PM
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I think you are on to something, all hardware manufactures and OS developers should use snapraid for testing purposes! I'll send this thread to Gigabyte and Asus (as well as other hardware manufacturers) as well as Linus Torvalds (he like this kind of stuff) to show how this snapraid software is a great testing tool for hardware and OS software testing. It obviously shows all flaws under immense stress in the OS / hardware setups and should be used as a de facto standard for certifying hardware and software match ups to weed out bad hardware and driver design flaws. This might be as good as Microsofts certification tests.
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post #14 of 34 Old 07-23-2013, 09:20 PM
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It is too bad you don't have experience with I/O programming, hardware troubleshooting, or reporting linux kernel bugs, so you will just have to take my word for it that you do not understand what you are talking about. Well, you do not actually have to take my word for it. You could examine the snapraid source code, or do some careful hardware troubleshooting, or post on the snapraid help forum and probably receive a reply from Andrea which would say the same thing as I have said. But I guess you won't do that since it is more fun (and less embarrassing for you) to sarcastically pretend like you know what you are talking about.
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post #15 of 34 Old 07-24-2013, 07:33 AM
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"It is too bad you don't have experience with I/O programming, hardware troubleshooting, or reporting linux kernel bugs, so you will just have to take my word for it that you do not understand what you are talking about."

I've been in electronics for over 35 years. Used to debug Honeywell Mainframes and DEC PDP 11s at hardware level in late 70's. I've designed hardware devices for the S100 bus then tested, debugged and wrote the software drivers in the early days of micro computer systems (CP/M). I've done my share of commercial robot building and interfacing with computers, etc. I started working on the minux kernel before it was called linux, etc. Currently, I am designing electronic devices that control home and commercial building environments plus monitor them visually and electronically via wireless interfaces such as zigbee, bluetooth and wifi plus writing the software that interfaces with them. Lastly, yes I do know what I am talking about.
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post #16 of 34 Old 07-24-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelZ View Post

Lastly, yes I do know what I am talking about.

If so, then you should be able to link to your report of the snapraid bug(s) that you claim to exist. Surely you examined the snapraid source code and then reported on the snapraid help forum exactly what the bug was and where, so that Andrea could fix it. I must admit I am a little puzzled that you did not follow up with your report, since Andrea addresses every important issue that I have seen reported to him in the help forum, but you say you have not used snapraid since version 1.9. Anyway, I will wait for you to post the link to your bug report post.
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post #17 of 34 Old 07-25-2013, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, e-penii back in the shorts please. Taking my thread back. wink.gif

Thanks to RubyLazerz & Michael, I am running the /pool folder shares the way I want, and in Windows, the files appear to be correct. However, when I go to play media files or open anything really, I get a "file not found" error. In OSX, the files are just seen as 125byte shortcuts, which also do not open. frown.gif

I noticed Jim, you said that I should "set up samba correctly" and "be more specific" after I set up Samba correctly. Is there a guide to setting it up "correctly" or with best practices? Is there something better than samba to use for file sharing on Ubuntu?

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post #18 of 34 Old 07-25-2013, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cetrian View Post

I noticed Jim, you said that I should "set up samba correctly" and "be more specific" after I set up Samba correctly. Is there a guide to setting it up "correctly" or with best practices? Is there something better than samba to use for file sharing on Ubuntu?

Post #9 already pointed out the key items, as I thought I conveyed in post #10. I'm sure there are plenty of guides for setting up samba, but there are also lots of different applications of samba, so why not just take the specific advice given?
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post #19 of 34 Old 07-25-2013, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I did "take the specific advice given" and set up samba with those parameters and restart it. That didn't work. Then, I set up aufs to a "/storage" folder as rubylasers tutorial shows, and now my file system is all jacked up. The / is completely full, so now I need to figure out how to fix this...

UPDATE: It's AUFS. I created a folder /storage like in the tutorial, and added a "mount" command to /etc/rc.local as described in the tutorial. This completely filled up my /home/username/.encryptfs folder for some odd reason. Will investigate how to use aufs properly and report back. (Yes using encrypted home dir)

UPDATE 2: Ok, it seems the issue is that I used the rc.local method that rubylasers reccomends, which would have been fine except that it mounts it as my user and not 'root'. When I opened terminal, switched to root, and issued the same mount command, all is well. I suppose this is only an issue for me because I am running an encrypted home directory as my user. I will research how to issue this command as root upon boot and post back.

UPDATE 3: I am FURIOUS. Every flirtation with Linux seems to end this way. I suppose I will try again in another 5 years and be equally disappointed. aufs was so close to being the answer... until the Plex user couldn't access the directory even with chmod 777.... then I lost it:

Flameout post warning:eek.gif
This is ********. Not worth my time and frustration any more. I have a life, a job, family - Linux is for people who hate themselves and have inordinate amounts of time to reinvent the wheel for every little f-ing task. If you can't figure it out, you better hope there is a 10 year old forum post of super-nerds who ran into your *exact* problem and have posted a cryptic, non-sensical command line argument to solve your problem. Otherwise you can post in a new forum and hope you get someone useful and not an ******* super-dork with a complex (like someone else in this thread) who says "Why don''t you RTFM or search.. ugh... so simple... just compile your own kernel and write your own SATA driver. :sigh: winblows noobs" - I develop in languages far more complex than working with the Linux file system, but the difference is that they're supported - they work, and there aren't 1000 different variations that all behave differently. I've designed power grids, taken more math than 99.94% of humanity, and this is still too much for me. Too much frustration for too little gain. I'm sure with enough time I could get this shitbucket OS to do what I want, but that's the thing - we all only have so much time on this Earth and the last thing I want to die doing is researching how to properly write an fstab line in an obscure forum in the middle of the night, just so my girlfriend can watch a TV show. This is bug #0 - the bug that Linux has yet to solve in nearly 25 years of me ****ing with it: #0: Linux is a pain in the ass and takes too much time. So, all you basement-dwellers with more time than sense, enjoy your completely customizable, rock-solid OS that does everything. I've spent over two weeks and barely got some ****ing file shares working across 3 consumer hard drives.

I am sadly going to go re-install the butt-trumpet to the NSA - Windows Server 2012, and actually *get **** done.*

Adios, mofo's.rolleyes.gif

UPDATE 4: Oh don't forget - the Ubuntu forums have been down for almost a week, where all usernames and passwords were taken. And the entire reason I installed this OS was for security. Ha!

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post #20 of 34 Old 07-25-2013, 07:41 PM
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Cetrian, I forgot to mention you need to also add to global "unix extensions = no" - it takes care of permission problems. It has been 3-4 years since I fought through this problem. I had to look at my current running smb.conf and noticed my notes that pointed out this extra instruction.
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post #21 of 34 Old 07-26-2013, 11:37 AM
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Cetrian:

How much time have you spent learning how to use Windows? 5, 10, 15 years?

How much time have you spent learning how to use Linux? Several days, weeks, months?

If you are not going to spend the time learning how to do something, then don't bother trying to do it. Don't blame the operating system because you can't learn something. I have spent at least 10 years using Linux, and I really only consider myself at the low end, knowledge-wise.

Microsoft and it's software vendors will be happy to take your money. If you need to modify the operating system or some software, ask them for the source-code. See how loud they laugh at you!
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post #22 of 34 Old 07-26-2013, 12:21 PM
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Cetrian:

I understand your frustration. Linux seems difficult to many people because they have problems with it early on and have problems doing things they already know how to do with Windows, but as waterhead alludes to, this is often because they have much more experience with Windows. At this point overall I have similar skill levels in Linux and Windows, but in different areas. I can tell you I have been just as frustrated trying to do something in Windows that I already know how to do in Linux.

I know you are upset, but you've mischaracterized who Linux is for. It would probably take me at least a year of significant time to recreate the environment and capabilities I have at home using Windows instead of Linux, and it would be a lot more expensive to build and maintain. For what I like Linux is the obvious choice, and having done some of the things I do now in Windows environments before I can tell you some things are actually easier in Linux. But it certainly isn't for everyone, for different reasons. My parents, who don't know a lick about computers, have used ubuntu for the last couple of years on their primary desktop. I rarely ever have to help them with anything. This was after Windows crashed to an unrecoverable point on their machine. I installed ubuntu on it instead of re-installing Windows, spent about an hour or two configuring it for them and they've used it without complaint (to my amazement) for their daily computing needs almost without incident. Everyone has a different experience.

For some context to my comments I migrated back to using Linux as my primary home OS in 2006 (I'd previously used Linux and NetBSD as my home OS back in the early 90s). I have worked in IT (primarily as a developer, business analyst, and now up in management) for most of my career and almost completely in Windows environments. I have a life and a family in addition to a pressure filled and demanding job (which is why I don't post as much here or on the Ubuntu forums as I used to) and I don't hate myself. I love me some me smile.gif My wife and children (and visitors) use our Linux based multimedia setups without me. They have no idea how it works, but love using it.

Take a breath. I know you're frustrated. If you want to reap the full benefits of Linux and its immense capabilities you need to persevere on past this issue. But if it's not worth it to you, it's okay to move on. Just don't tell us we hate ourselves because we haven't.


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post #23 of 34 Old 07-27-2013, 08:49 AM
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Cetrian, good luck with that security on windows (any version). LOL! I installed Win 7 last weekend, it needed over 160 updates that took all day to download and install and then on the final steps 4 of 4 configuration after many self reboots it posted on the screen that it had failed and started to uninstall every update! LOL!!!! I had to kill it and restart from scratch and after day 2 I finally had it running. The OS only used 22 gigs of space. LOL! What a pig. Then I had to deal with the silly licensing first you put in your product code then you do the phone home and listen to HAL read you numbers to type into the 8 little boxes - what a waster of time! Made me appreciate OSX, Linux, BSD almost any operating other that windows.
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post #24 of 34 Old 07-28-2013, 02:08 AM
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Man OP was so close to solving all his problems. He just needed to follow what MichaelZ said about configuring samba to follow symlinks correctly but you guys confused him with AUFS. OP if you're still there all you really need for your setup is snapraid (with its pooling) and samba configured right (http://www.samba.org/samba/docs/using_samba/ch08.html).
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post #25 of 34 Old 07-04-2014, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cetrian View Post

Flameout post warning:
This is ********. Not worth my time and frustration any more. I have a life, a job, family - Linux is for people who hate themselves and have inordinate amounts of time to reinvent the wheel for every little f-ing task. If you can't figure it out, you better hope there is a 10 year old forum post of super-nerds who ran into your *exact* problem and have posted a cryptic, non-sensical command line argument to solve your problem. Otherwise you can post in a new forum and hope you get someone useful and not an ******* super-dork with a complex (like someone else in this thread) who says "Why don''t you RTFM or search.. ugh... so simple... just compile your own kernel and write your own SATA driver. :sigh: winblows noobs" - I develop in languages far more complex than working with the Linux file system, but the difference is that they're supported - they work, and there aren't 1000 different variations that all behave differently. I've designed power grids, taken more math than 99.94% of humanity, and this is still too much for me. Too much frustration for too little gain. I'm sure with enough time I could get this shitbucket OS to do what I want, but that's the thing - we all only have so much time on this Earth and the last thing I want to die doing is researching how to properly write an fstab line in an obscure forum in the middle of the night, just so my girlfriend can watch a TV show. This is bug #0 - the bug that Linux has yet to solve in nearly 25 years of me ****ing with it: #0: Linux is a pain in the ass and takes too much time. So, all you basement-dwellers with more time than sense, enjoy your completely customizable, rock-solid OS that does everything. I've spent over two weeks and barely got some ****ing file shares working across 3 consumer hard drives.
Sorry to bring up an old topic but I have been doing some research on setting up SnapRaid under Ubuntu Server. As a non linux person this right here has been the exact way I have felt every time I tried to learn to use linux. I don't feel Linux pros are basement dwelling neck-beards but I agree that to me fiddling with linux to get something to work is not that uncommon to a noob. It is not what I call fun either. I have been a point and click kind of person and having to open the terminal to input various commands is what keeps me away from ever truly learning the OS. I have been spoiled by the laziness of seeing something in a GUI and knowing what to do with it. Yes I see comments here and there that Linux keeps improving on the "it just works" front but man it still isn't where I would like it to be. Just so I don't sound like I am complaining does anyone know of an easy non-command line way to setup SnapRaid under Ubuntu?

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post #26 of 34 Old 07-05-2014, 09:40 AM
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snapraid isn't the only option. what exactly are you trying to accomplish? building a fileserver/nas or adding raid to a desktop install? if the former, there are several nas solutions that are fully configurable from a web page. check out nexenta which uses zfs natively in a solaris kernel and makes it easy to set up iscsi, shares, etc.
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post #27 of 34 Old 07-05-2014, 10:01 AM
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I don't feel Linux pros are basement dwelling neck-beards but I agree that to me fiddling with linux to get something to work is not that uncommon to a noob. It is not what I call fun either.
Even those that only use Linux, and have for a while, have to "fiddle" to get things exactly the way we want it. Most actually enjoy it, because it makes us learn more about Linux. But in Linux you can do things like that. Try to customize Windows.
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I have been a point and click kind of person and having to open the terminal to input various commands is what keeps me away from ever truly learning the OS.
If you are not using the terminal emulator, then you are not using an OS to it's fullest extent. The computer techs where I work use batch files to do a lot of things, which are just terminal commands written in a file.
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I have been spoiled by the laziness of seeing something in a GUI and knowing what to do with it.
To us Linux users, that describes most of the Windows users.
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Yes I see comments here and there that Linux keeps improving on the "it just works" front but man it still isn't where I would like it to be.
If all you use a computer for is to surf the web, check email and watch Youtube videos, then it does "just work". It also has a very good office suite that is free, in LibreOffice. This covers a very large segment of Windows users. That is also why Android has become so popular (minus the office suite).
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Just so I don't sound like I am complaining does anyone know of an easy non-command line way to setup SnapRaid under Ubuntu?
Maybe Linux just isn't for you. We know it's not for everybody. But, many System Administrators prefer it because of the fact that it is so easy to customize.

Last edited by waterhead; 07-05-2014 at 10:06 AM.
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post #28 of 34 Old 07-05-2014, 10:25 AM
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Have you tried the snapraid forum for help? It runs under Windows and a lot of people there use it that way: http://sourceforge.net/p/snapraid/discussion/1677233

Me: all I know about Windows is how to swear at it. I have the beard and always wanted a pony tail but the wife won't allow it.

I'm liking snapraid a lot, although I haven't needed to recover anything yet. I have notes on setup and use in this writeup of my most recent server build: curator: a file server.

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post #29 of 34 Old 07-05-2014, 11:00 AM
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Me: all I know about Windows is how to swear at it. I have the beard and always wanted a pony tail but the wife won't allow it.
lol!

I have to look good for my job because I have contact with the public, or else I would let my scraggly beard grow. I also am balding on top, and when a little more goes, I then want to grow a pony tail. How cool!

Of course my boss wouldn't permit that either.
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post #30 of 34 Old 07-05-2014, 03:28 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. I understand some of you might loathe the windows crowd but for people like myself its what we grew up on and find easiest to use. To SYSADMIN my use case is to evaluate moving from my UNRAID storage server to something else. Unraid is going thru a bit of a transition period and I like the IDEA of what they want to do but maybe SNAPRAID can provide some of that flexibility now. I like the stability of Linux as a platform but like I said I hate the command line. Yes I get it I don't fully appreciate what the CLI brings but at the end of the day I don't care. DrivePool on Windows Server 2012 R2 might also be something I will look more into.

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