Originally Posted by Mr.Tim
Thanks for all of the information. Didn't mean to drag the thread off topic, but your info was very helpful. I think I need to upgrade my unRaid version. Which is cipher-talk for building a new media server.
It's not off topic. A lot of theater threads have HTPCs and a lot of people ask questions about HTPCs in them. Look at Sandman's thread, he talked about it for liek 20 pages! Cinemar has all of his own software which do those awesome movie posters on an LCD TV when a movie is playing. That's pretty awesome and people want to know!
Mostly, people don't like getting responses like "learn how to use search!" when they have a question and can't find it with a search. I'd much rather ask someone personally than search for 30 minutes trying to find a relevant post or thread.
As far as upgrading my unRaid version, I still haven't upgraded to any of the build 5 release candidates. I guess I'm under the train of thought that as long as everything works, I'm not touching the thing. So until something fails, I'm not upgrading from beta 5 build 13. I personally give people updates with my personal experience with it because of questions exactly like yours. People look for NAS products, and they use FreeNAS, FlexRaid, unRaid, WMS, or a traditional hardware raid. It has been my personal experience that hardware raids for an HTPC are just too expensive and a big headache. Quality raid cards just cost too much. A decent 8 port hardware raid card costs $600-1000. For that price you could get several 3TB external hard drives to back up your media and keep in a fire-safe somewhere. A TRUE backup. I think the biggest issue with any NAS is keeping the hard drives cool. A lot of enclosures for bulk-drives have terrible cooling and even worse fans. I'm using an old Mountain Mods 18" cube case I had from an old water cooled PC. It holds a ton of hard drives and has something like 10 large fans. Those hard drives say very cool in that case. (Something like this http://www.mountainmods.com/u2ufo-mirror-black-powder-coat-big-window-p-78.html
) I think it has a 10-hard drive bay rack in the back, which has 2 120mm fans right behind them, along with 2 120mm fans above them and a 120mm fan in front of them. That's a lot of airflow. When I ran a hardware raid, I'd have hard drives drop out constantly during a reboot (on two different raid cards) and that would cause a lengthy rebuild process. A lot of it I think was due to heat, but sometimes drives spinning up, etc. I haven't had one issue since using unRaid, so I'm quite happy. If I didn't already have it, and had to order a new one, their Ascension case would be incredible to hold a ton of hard drives (http://www.mountainmods.com/computer-cases-ascension-c-21_85.html
Information : A lot of people have asked in many threads about basic features of unRaid so here is a general rundown of how it's raid works
Here is some more basic info about unRaid's raid. It uses RAID-4 basically. But it also can't suffer a complete array failure like a RAID-5 can. RAID-5 can however, allow you to see ALL of your data even if you lose 1 drive. So you aren't temporarily missing data until you rebuild it.
Say you have 5 drives in your system:
Drive 1 - 3TB - Parity
Drive 2 - 3TB
Drive 3 - 3TB
Drive 4 - 2TB
Drive 5 - 2TB
You get 10 TB total array space. You can add ANY size drive to the array at any time. This does not require a full rebuild of the array, though the parity does need to be rebuilt. It is simple to add a new drive in unRaid. Drives do not need to be the same size. The only requirement is that the parity drive be equal to or larger than the largest drive in the array. If you need a larger parity drives, it is easy to upgrade it to a new, larger one.
If your parity drive fails, you lose no data, you have only lost your backup parity. Replace with a new parity and rebuild the parity.
If Drive 3 Fails, you currently have only lost data on Drive 3. Which is 3TB of your total 10TB of your array. However, if you replace the drive with a new 3TB drive the parity will rebuild the data and restore it.
If Drive 4 Fails AND your parity fails, you have now lost the data on drive 4 permanently. However, you can still mount individual discs in linux and access the files on drives 2, 3, and 5. Basically, in a RAID 5 scenario, if you lose 2 discs, you lose everything. It's gone.
A RAID really isn't a backup anyway, it's only insurance against minimal drive failures. A real backup would be to have a complete copy of all of your data elsewhere that is offline and not used (on tape, a secondary array, etc) If you really have one of these, then you really don't need any kind of extreme array for a media server at home. If you have some sort of catastrophic event with simultaneous drive failures, such as a lightning strike or fire, no kind of RAID (hardware or software) is going to help you at all. Only a backup will help you.
In the end that's why I went with a solution such as unRaid. Gives me that single drive failure protection with the ability of data recovery, easy to manage, good plugins and support for UPS/PS3MediaServer/etc, and is cheap. I have things like my music backed up on an external hard drive, but my movies really only require the time of re-ripping from my media if I lose multiple drives at once.