FlexRAID: Horrible Experience, Don't Buy - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 09:27 AM
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I think I'm going to try unRAID next instead of FreeNAS. FreeNAS has a high hardware entry cost and doesn't like to be run as a VM. With unRAID I can work with what I've got. I did order some more RAM since my ESXi server only has 16GB and I need some room to play with additional VMs.

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post #62 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
I think I'm going to try unRAID next instead of FreeNAS. FreeNAS has a high hardware entry cost and doesn't like to be run as a VM. With unRAID I can work with what I've got. I did order some more RAM since my ESXi server only has 16GB and I need some room to play with additional VMs.
unRAID 6 is looking real nice. All the Docker flexibility looks awesome.

My only concern is moving away from Windows (that's where I'm most comfortable) and the limitation of only 1 parity drive makes me nervous.
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post #63 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 11:18 AM
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unRAID 6 is looking real nice. All the Docker flexibility looks awesome.

My only concern is moving away from Windows (that's where I'm most comfortable) and the limitation of only 1 parity drive makes me nervous.
With ESXi I'll be keeping my Windows Server (2012r2) and swapping my SAS card pass-thru to the unRAID VM. We'll see what happens, but it'll be a couple weeks before I'm that far along. For now I'll continue testing SnapRAID.

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post #64 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 12:18 PM
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With ESXi I'll be keeping my Windows Server (2012r2) and swapping my SAS card pass-thru to the unRAID VM. We'll see what happens, but it'll be a couple weeks before I'm that far along. For now I'll continue testing SnapRAID.
Can you use a USB drive to drive a VM? I always liked the sound of unraid. Most people who use it pretty much all say that it just works and low maintenance.

My biggest issue would be reformatting and copying the data over, that might be a PIA
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post #65 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 12:23 PM
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Can you use a USB drive to drive a VM? I always liked the sound of unraid. Most people who use it pretty much all say that it just works and low maintenance.

My biggest issue would be reformatting and copying the data over, that might be a PIA
You can pass a USB device to a VM. You connect the USB device and it shows up as available when creating or editing the VM. I've done it with external HDDs, IR receivers, Z-wave controllers, and memory sticks. You can also mount/link .ISO files to the VM. All this is done from any computer running the ESXi client software.

I'll be able to copy over the data when I build the media server for my coworker. Otherwise that would be a bit of a pain if you don't have a couple free drives (one for parity and another for data).

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post #66 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 01:53 PM
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post #67 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 02:47 PM
 
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How have I never seen this before? It's a riot, and I haven't even gotten off the first page.
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post #68 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 02:50 PM
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How have I never seen this before? It's a riot, and I haven't even gotten off the first page.
IIRC there was a counter-thread on the unRAID forums.

Edit:
That was easy to dig up http://lime-technology.com/forum/ind...?topic=25927.0

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post #69 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 03:02 PM
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trial stablebit scanner finally finished checking by 10 3tb seagates. 1 is showing 80 sectors. 1gb flexraid file affected. will have to check serial number. it can try to repair it, means saving it somewhere else, then undoing pool and mount it, then replace it?
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post #70 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 04:09 PM
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trial stablebit scanner finally finished checking by 10 3tb seagates. 1 is showing 80 sectors. 1gb flexraid file affected. will have to check serial number. it can try to repair it, means saving it somewhere else, then undoing pool and mount it, then replace it?
It couldn't fix my bad sectors. You can give it a try. I doubt it would hurt anything that isn't already broken.

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post #71 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 04:50 PM
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i have not checked which drive it is yet. but if this is the file stablebit is complaining about "001519.flxr" and is 1GB, is it probably the PPU and that is a parity file?
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post #72 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 07:46 PM
 
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IIRC there was a counter-thread on the unRAID forums.

Edit:
That was easy to dig up http://lime-technology.com/forum/ind...?topic=25927.0
That one was pretty boring. For the most part it was just people acting surprised that Brahim/spectrumbx would behave so childishly.

On the other hand, I've been catching up on the "News and Updates" over on the FlexRAID forums and that has been a riot. Looks like NZFS is going to be out any day now. I'm sure corporate America is waiting with baited breath. And I had forgotten about "FlexRAID Standards™" which was announced to me personally, on these very boards. (With a beta release due out September 19, 2014... release date "quietly" being pushed back to October 31, 2014... Next week (from Nov 9, 2014) until it was "intentionally" delayed until Christmas... or definitely by January...Officially being pushed back to this past spring... Shortly after the release of Duke Nuke'em Forever and Chinese Democracy...)

Interestingly enough I also happened across a link to the SnapRAID Comparison Chart Of Teeth Gnashing and it has been updated to more accurately describe the functionality of competing products.
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post #73 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 08:18 PM
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i have not checked which drive it is yet. but if this is the file stablebit is complaining about "001519.flxr" and is 1GB, is it probably the PPU and that is a parity file?
That would be my guess. I've labelled my drives as SGDRUx (Seagate DRU number) and HGSTPPU1. Then there is an Excel file that I'm too lazy to print that has where each one is in the case.

When you finish pulling the drive run it through the SeaTools long test.

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post #74 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
That one was pretty boring. For the most part it was just people acting surprised that Brahim/spectrumbx would behave so childishly.

On the other hand, I've been catching up on the "News and Updates" over on the FlexRAID forums and that has been a riot. Looks like NZFS is going to be out any day now. I'm sure corporate America is waiting with baited breath. And I had forgotten about "FlexRAID Standards™" which was announced to me personally, on these very boards. (With a beta release due out September 19, 2014... release date "quietly" being pushed back to October 31, 2014... Next week (from Nov 9, 2014) until it was "intentionally" delayed until Christmas... or definitely by January...Officially being pushed back to this past spring... Shortly after the release of Duke Nuke'em Forever and Chinese Democracy...)

Interestingly enough I also happened across a link to the SnapRAID Comparison Chart Of Teeth Gnashing and it has been updated to more accurately describe the functionality of competing products.
Since I'm getting ready to build someone else a media server it is in my best interest to evaluate all my options. I may end up with FlexRAID, but I'd rather have done my homework before I give him the system. I'll be supporting it for a few more years. Might as well change up my system while I'm at it.

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post #75 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 10:50 PM
 
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What I like about a Windows based system is that I can take a drive out of the array and carry it to a friend's house. Once there, I can plug it into his Windows system and copy the files over to his PC. I then carry the drive home and plug it back in and everything just works. With something like UnRAID, I cannot do that.
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post #76 of 95 Old 07-09-2015, 11:37 PM
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Can you use a USB drive to drive a VM? I always liked the sound of unraid. Most people who use it pretty much all say that it just works and low maintenance.

My biggest issue would be reformatting and copying the data over, that might be a PIA
I'm currently in the process of copying all of my data over to XFS formatted drives in unRAID 6.0. My array currently has 53.5TB of storage with 12.9TB of free space using 23 data drives and one parity drive. On average it takes about 24 hours to transfer one drive, give or take. I've already copied over six drives with the 7th currently in progress. I pulled one drive to use the slot as my destination drive. I put a drive in the slot, format it with XFS and create a dummy subfolder on it. Using TeraCopy I transfer the contents of another drive to the subfolder. When the copy is complete I swap the drives so the the old source drive is now in the destination drive slot and the newly formatted drive with the copied data now occupies the source drive slot. I start the array with the destination drive set to be formatted with XFS. When the formatting takes place I transfer the data from the subfolder on the drive in the former source drive slot to the root directory of the drive and then delete the subfolder. Wash, rinse, and repeat for each drive, starting with the largest to the smallest. When all the drives are formatted and copied I'll reinstall the original drive in the destination slot and copy the contents over to another drive with sufficient space and place it in a subfolder. When the copy is complete I'll replace the source drive with another one and format it with XFS. Once that's done I'll copy the contents of the subfolder back to the destination drive and then delete the subfolder and all of its contents. All drives are now formatted with XFS and the original drive locations are kept intact along with the various shares I have set up.

The process is tedious and time consuming, but it requires very little operator interaction other than stopping the array, swapping the drives, booting it back up, formatting the drive and starting the copy process. Once it begins you simply walk away and let it be until the copy completes. The only real issue that I have is that the array is basically left unprotected during the transfer process, mainly due to the fact that I have introduced several new drives into the array and I have not had a chance to run a parity check. I'm replacing several older drives,including a couple that have indicated bad sectors in the SMART status available from the web gui.
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post #77 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 04:03 AM
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What I like about a Windows based system is that I can take a drive out of the array and carry it to a friend's house. Once there, I can plug it into his Windows system and copy the files over to his PC. I then carry the drive home and plug it back in and everything just works. With something like UnRAID, I cannot do that.
I thought there was something called external USB drives which would allow you to just the same without having to open up your storage each time to pull out a disc...
What if you accidentally drop the disc or something hit it on the way to your friend's place...
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post #78 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 05:52 AM
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Seems your thread on the forum is closed. I had a big problem with a moderator named "NLS", that guy is an arrogant prick if I ever met one.

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post #79 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 06:41 AM
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Interestingly enough I also happened across a link to the SnapRAID Comparison Chart Of Teeth Gnashing and it has been updated to more accurately describe the functionality of competing products.
I was involved in the Teeth Gnashing thread but was summarily banned from the discussion for defending myself. I made a point about being able to start unRAID with disks already formatted with reiserfs and certain parties vehemently insisted that it could not be done and the discussion deteriorated from there. I presented this info to the SnapRAID developer and he updated the comparison chart to provide the correct data along with the caveat that I indicated. The irony is that I ran into the same bullheadedness in the SnapRAID forums when I presented my findings. At least the developer was intelligent enough to understand where I was coming from.
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post #80 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 07:30 AM
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I'm currently in the process of copying all of my data over to XFS formatted drives in unRAID 6.0. My array currently has 53.5TB of storage with 12.9TB of free space using 23 data drives and one parity drive. On average it takes about 24 hours to transfer one drive, give or take. I've already copied over six drives with the 7th currently in progress. I pulled one drive to use the slot as my destination drive. I put a drive in the slot, format it with XFS and create a dummy subfolder on it. Using TeraCopy I transfer the contents of another drive to the subfolder. When the copy is complete I swap the drives so the the old source drive is now in the destination drive slot and the newly formatted drive with the copied data now occupies the source drive slot. I start the array with the destination drive set to be formatted with XFS. When the formatting takes place I transfer the data from the subfolder on the drive in the former source drive slot to the root directory of the drive and then delete the subfolder. Wash, rinse, and repeat for each drive, starting with the largest to the smallest. When all the drives are formatted and copied I'll reinstall the original drive in the destination slot and copy the contents over to another drive with sufficient space and place it in a subfolder. When the copy is complete I'll replace the source drive with another one and format it with XFS. Once that's done I'll copy the contents of the subfolder back to the destination drive and then delete the subfolder and all of its contents. All drives are now formatted with XFS and the original drive locations are kept intact along with the various shares I have set up.

The process is tedious and time consuming, but it requires very little operator interaction other than stopping the array, swapping the drives, booting it back up, formatting the drive and starting the copy process. Once it begins you simply walk away and let it be until the copy completes. The only real issue that I have is that the array is basically left unprotected during the transfer process, mainly due to the fact that I have introduced several new drives into the array and I have not had a chance to run a parity check. I'm replacing several older drives,including a couple that have indicated bad sectors in the SMART status available from the web gui.
Awesome info! Thanks, one weekend this summer I am going to start this process with an external usb HD to do the xferring (will take forever).

I keep hearing about how good Stablebit Drive Scanner software is, will you be able to use this with an unraid system since it is linux based?
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post #81 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 07:54 AM
 
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Actually I am ashamed to admit but what really happened was that I was reinstalling my software and accidentally installed it onto a data drive. Hence the loss of both OS and Data drive.

Now how can i do what you suggest. Can you kindly write a brief guide or tutorial or point me to some link.
So to be clear the failure was not of the flexraid product, but in that you overwrote a data drive with data on it with an operating system meant for an OS drive and then were not able to recover the lost data as a result of the mishap ?

If your other drives and parity drive are still in tact you might be able to recover.
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post #82 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 08:06 AM
 
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I thought there was something called external USB drives which would allow you to just the same without having to open up your storage each time to pull out a disc...
What if you accidentally drop the disc or something hit it on the way to your friend's place...
And I thought Windows could read everything. (even if it isn't supported)
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post #83 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 08:13 AM
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Awesome info! Thanks, one weekend this summer I am going to start this process with an external usb HD to do the xferring (will take forever).

I keep hearing about how good Stablebit Drive Scanner software is, will you be able to use this with an unraid system since it is linux based?
Honestly, I'm not sure why you'd need it with unRAID 6.0. It provides a comprehensive status display of the SMART tests and lets you know if there's any issues with the drives. Just click on the link to a drive on the Main page and it will display several pages of data about the drive. The Dashboard indicates any problems at a glance, which is actually how I found out that a couple of my disks had bad clusters. Looking at the StableBit website I only saw a Windows version available for download so I'm not sure it would even work with unRAID.
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post #84 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 08:14 AM
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Yeah, that's what I got out of it too. I understand the frustration of dealing with a one man shop with minimal 'free' support, especially when you're freaking out that your data is lost, but you gotta step back, relax and clearly express whats happened.

The only real frustration I had with flexRAID service is in terms of when I've needed to rebuild my server. Thankfully that doesn't happen often, but the policy that you can't change the hardware when doing this (IE my server crashes, I need to rebuild and I decide or have to replace/add a drive in the array) is frankly bull**** (maybe this has changed, its been about 2 years). I nearly found this out the hard way when I moved my WHS2011 to ESXi. I was going to replace a couple of my 1TB drives with some 2TB drives. Figured it would be easier to just copy the data directly and build the array from scratch with the new discs. I was told that I could only reinstall the software if the hardware was exactly the same. Well, what do you do if your crash tanked a drive too? I need to pay again? I understand trying to combat piracy, but this seems overkill.

I also had a minor issue in that Braihm (is that how you spell it?) I think was on vacation or something when I rebuilt. I wanted to run it a few days to make sure everything was working before reintiating all my licenses. I had to request it by email and by the time he got back to me, my two week trial had expired so for a day or two, my array wouldn't boot up. Wife was not happy! Not a major problem of course, but again, annoying.

I think I've gotten my money's worth out the software (I have recovered two discs with it over the years), but I also think I'll be moving on.

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post #85 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 11:34 AM
 
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I thought there was something called external USB drives which would allow you to just the same without having to open up your storage each time to pull out a disc...
What if you accidentally drop the disc or something hit it on the way to your friend's place...
There is - but then I have to copy everything there first, then copy everything a second time. I am careful not to drop a HDD, just like I am careful not to drop a glass full of water while carrying that.
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post #86 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 11:36 AM
 
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And I thought Windows could read everything. (even if it isn't supported)
It can, through third party apps. But installing such things when a much more elegant and simple solution (use NTFS) already exists is silly. Just use NTFS and Windows and you will not have any issues at all.


EDIT: That is one of the beautiful things about Windows. Since it is the 600lb Gorilla, people create things for it MUCH more readily than they do for things such as OpenBeOS or such. You can find a plug in application that can read every file system out there - if you really wanted to do that.
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post #87 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 01:19 PM
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There is - but then I have to copy everything there first, then copy everything a second time. I am careful not to drop a HDD, just like I am careful not to drop a glass full of water while carrying that.
I have unRAID and I really don't see this as an issue for most people. I needed to copy files from a drive at work, so I popped it into an external enclosure, loaded the reiser software (very lightweight and small) onto the computer at work, plugged in and just copied the files over.

The extra work was almost nothing. I can't see making a decision on which implementation to use heavily based on the need to have it be a Windows environment.

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post #88 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 02:20 PM
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Yeah, that's what I got out of it too. I understand the frustration of dealing with a one man shop with minimal 'free' support, especially when you're freaking out that your data is lost, but you gotta step back, relax and clearly express whats happened.

The only real frustration I had with flexRAID service is in terms of when I've needed to rebuild my server. Thankfully that doesn't happen often, but the policy that you can't change the hardware when doing this (IE my server crashes, I need to rebuild and I decide or have to replace/add a drive in the array) is frankly bull**** (maybe this has changed, its been about 2 years). I nearly found this out the hard way when I moved my WHS2011 to ESXi. I was going to replace a couple of my 1TB drives with some 2TB drives. Figured it would be easier to just copy the data directly and build the array from scratch with the new discs. I was told that I could only reinstall the software if the hardware was exactly the same. Well, what do you do if your crash tanked a drive too? I need to pay again? I understand trying to combat piracy, but this seems overkill.

I also had a minor issue in that Braihm (is that how you spell it?) I think was on vacation or something when I rebuilt. I wanted to run it a few days to make sure everything was working before reintiating all my licenses. I had to request it by email and by the time he got back to me, my two week trial had expired so for a day or two, my array wouldn't boot up. Wife was not happy! Not a major problem of course, but again, annoying.

I think I've gotten my money's worth out the software (I have recovered two discs with it over the years), but I also think I'll be moving on.
I've changed hardware in my unRAID setup numerous times and all I had to do was install it, hook up the drives, and configure it to boot from the flash drive. It always booted up with no problems even though I changed the motherboard, CPU, and memory. The only security used with unRAID is that the license key is tied to the flash drive. You can use whatever hardware you want with it and change it to your heart's content. If the flash drive croaks then you have to replace it with a licensed drive. I believe they will help you out with a replacement for a nominal fee, but you'd have to check with them for the details. I bought a 2-pack of drives from them about 8 years ago at a discount and sold the 2nd drive. I have long since gotten my money's worth out of the software so I wouldn't feel bad if I had to buy a new license due to a failed flash drive.

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Originally Posted by Brian B View Post
I have unRAID and I really don't see this as an issue for most people. I needed to copy files from a drive at work, so I popped it into an external enclosure, loaded the reiser software (very lightweight and small) onto the computer at work, plugged in and just copied the files over.

The extra work was almost nothing. I can't see making a decision on which implementation to use heavily based on the need to have it be a Windows environment.

B.
I couldn't agree more. Having drives in your server that are Windows compatible is essentially a needless feature. As long as you can see the data over the network on a Windows PC then that's all you need. Besides, what if you're in a household with different types of PCs, such as a Mac, a Windows PC, Linux, etc. NTFS drives are only going to be able to connect directly to the Windows PC. Servers are meant to be used with a network connection. Let's face it, the need to pull a drive from a server and connect it directly to a PC isn't something anyone would do very often, if ever, at least for the vast majority of us. If it's something that's important to you then you should choose your server software accordingly. It's just not something that's at the top of most people's feature list. Besides, the idea of having to support yet another Windows based machine in my home isn't at all appealing to me. The software installation alone is ridiculous compared to unRAID. I can configure a bootable flash drive and install the software in about 5 minutes and be up and running before a Windows disc has finished copying over the installation files. There's also no drivers or updates to install so when it boots you're done except for some configuration settings. Configuring the server takes only as long as it takes to pick a drive from a drop down list and assign it to a slot, depending on how many drives you have installed. Of course, the first time around it will want to build parity if the disks contain any data. Otherwise you're good to go and ready to copy data to the server.

Last edited by captain_video; 07-10-2015 at 02:35 PM.
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post #89 of 95 Old 07-10-2015, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post
The only real frustration I had with flexRAID service is in terms of when I've needed to rebuild my server. Thankfully that doesn't happen often, but the policy that you can't change the hardware when doing this (IE my server crashes, I need to rebuild and I decide or have to replace/add a drive in the array) is frankly bull**** (maybe this has changed, its been about 2 years). I nearly found this out the hard way when I moved my WHS2011 to ESXi. I was going to replace a couple of my 1TB drives with some 2TB drives. Figured it would be easier to just copy the data directly and build the array from scratch with the new discs. I was told that I could only reinstall the software if the hardware was exactly the same. Well, what do you do if your crash tanked a drive too? I need to pay again? I understand trying to combat piracy, but this seems overkill.
From what I understand FlexRAID is locked to the hard drives. You can swap out motherboards, ram, CPU's, etc. I've done that no problem before. I did have my parity die last year and I swapped that out just fine (I had 5 other HDD's from my original array already initialized). I imagine if lets say you have a bunch of 1TB hard drives and you want to swap them out with larger drives you'd have to do it one at a time. Pull one 1TB, insert new HDD, rebuild array. Pull next, replace, and rebuild, etc until they're all replaced. Sounds time consuming and I'm not 100% sure that's how that would work like to trick it into a sort of Theseus' paradox (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_of_Theseus) so to speak but they'd have to assume over time that all HDD's will eventually fail and need to be replaced.

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)

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post #90 of 95 Old 07-11-2015, 06:14 AM
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I will be moving away from FlexRAID as well. I'm going with SnapRAID. Just recently one of my drives in FlexRAID (RAID-F) was dying, so I bought a new one to replace it. I had a hell of a time using their 'known procedure' for replacing the drive. Every time I went to swap it out, it would give me some new error in the GUI. Finally after about 5 reboots and trying different methods as recommended by their forums, I got it to work. (luckily) I do like the concept of FlexRAID and I've been using it for a long time, but I'm too scared to go further with it based on my last experience.
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