Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

Homebrew NAS - FreeNas or Unraid or ....


Al_Borges
 Share

Recommended Posts

Replacing my 5 year old Net gear Stora -  building a home brew Nas based  on a  mini ITX board with a newer low power CPU and Chipset

 

ASRock Motherboard Mini ITX DDR3 1066 Q1900B-ITX

 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J2CCCJE/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1E5V5UH9N54B6&coliid=I2CZITREFG6Y0U

 

 

Intel's spec on the the Celeron J1900 chip are pretty good -  10 watts TDP will make this about as energy effiicient as a  comparable Synology or Drobo, with a significant increase in horsepower. 

 

My goal is to rely a bit more on the NAS for transcoding media -   especially Plex / DLNA to the  Roku devices in the household.

 

 

At this point -  Free NAS and UNRAID are the candidates for the operating system.  

 

Any thoughts from the community on choosing between the two -  or even if another option should be considered. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been playing with FreeNAS, I am impressed so far. Much better than it was a few years ago.

It seem to work best with 1GB of system memory for 1TB of storage.

I have not tried the Plex add in yet.

I have been testing this for client back up and BMR:

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/brh/

 

There is a free version slightly defeatured:

http://www.paragon-software.com/home/br-free/download.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
a update to the group  while waiting on drywall compound to dry on a bathroom remodel   ( have found that being retired and married means you have only 1 boss but that one is 24/7)

 

both FreeNas and UNRAID are very viable candidates  -  well supported and well reviewed by sites such as smallnetbuilder.com

 

I selected UNRAID because:

 

1)  the setup and operation are very much like an NAS appliance -   aside from burning the USB boot drive, everything is done thru a Web Interface. Installing a plugin is simple.   Download and copy the plug-in to an directory (BOOT/EXTRA) on the USB boot drive.  From the command line, install the package and the plugin is then available thru the web interface.  

 

2)  UNRAID'S drive management is simpler -  FreeNas's ZFS seems to be a little daunting. Basically  the free version of UNRAID supports two data drives and one parity drive.    Reminds me in way of drive extender from WHSV1.     My old NAS had 2 2GB drives in a mirror.  For UNRAID,  I could simply add an additional 2GB drive and increase the overall data capacity  to 4 GB.  I will still have resiliency against a single drive failure.   To get support for additional drives, you have to go to a paid version.   But to replace a small NAS, two data drives will satisfy my needs.  

 

3)  Plugins for PLEX media Server,  Crashplan, dropbox  and several others are available.   Some talk about a onedrive plug in some of the forums. 

 

built a small test box using an old Pentium box and three used drives.  any combination of drives can be used, with the only requirement that the parity drive had to be the largest one.    Had the system booting and was transferring data within 15 minutes.   within the hour, configured Plex media server and was serving up media to my ROKU's.

 

Transfer speeds were up -   ~25MB/sec writing to UNRAID box, versus 15-20 MB/sec writing to the old NAS box ( Netgear Stora, with a Marvell ARM Chip).  Transcoding  1080P Mp4 files to the Roku's worked flawlessly 

 

I tested a drive failure -   worked fine.  I disconnected a "hot" data drive and it still maintained my data.     One of the plug-ins available ( "simple features" plug-in) will send email notifications of drive failure -  gotta get that working before committing to a real box.  

 

One serendipitous finding -   the USB boot drive I am working with on the test box should work for the production box.   Just zero out the drives, but the installed plug-ins  etc should work fine.  

 

So far, so good.  Will keep this test box running for while 

 

I know I will be asked about backup -   My NAS has the 2nd copy of my media,  the main storage is on a Stable Bits drive pool on my main system.   I generate and maintain my media on the big box, then use acronis sync to update the NAS.  

A third copy is sent via "crashplan" to my brother in another state.  
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I wish I had seen this post earlier, but I have tried all the different NAS OS's out there and I keep coming back to OpenMediaVault. You really should try it out and see if it is good for you. For one reason or another all the other ones were not as good as OMV. If you are going to use FreeNAS then you are probably going to use ZFS, and to use ZFS you have to have a server MB with EEC memory and that gets expensive and FreeBSD is very hardware limited. Don't you have to buy unRAID if you are going to use more than 3 disks??? If you want to use plain vanilla Amahi it is free, but you have to buy the plugins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting -   I was not aware of this program  OpenMediaVault

 

Tried out the "live" demo  -    appears to be full featured and easy to use.

 

I was concerned about using ZFS  - having to use server grade components was an additional  sticking point that I hadnt taken into account 

on the other hand,  I didnt see anything in the OpenMediaVault information about plex plug ins  

 

but if you are going to be using a RAID solution, rather than ZFS -   what would be the difference between OpenMediaVault and FreeNas ?  

 

Linux based server OS'a  are interesting but a bit intimidating  -  my limited experience with linux is like driving down a finely paved main street -  then taking a turn and finding either cobblestones or dirt roads !

 

At this point,  I am just about finished with my "UNRAID" NAS box as described in my 1st post  -  The drives have been initialized and I will be transferring data to them soon

 

 

Yes, the free version of the Unraid server only supports 3 drives -  but for my "Homebrew Nas"   This is fine.  I am not building a full blown server.  it boots off a usb stick so at least all 3 hard drives are available for data. 

 

The Unraid software also seems more appropriate for my needs  as it acts more "appliance" like than FreeNas

 

also useful and easy to install plugins 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are my experiences with OMV

 

Q. I was concerned about using ZFS  - having to use server grade components was an additional  sticking point that I hadnt taken into account 

 

A. I too was contemplating buying server grade equipment and decided against it.

 

Q. I didnt see anything in the OpenMediaVault information about plex plug ins  

 

A. There is indeed a lot of plugins, my favorite being Plex and BTsync, but they are installed after the initial install of OMV. If you go to http://omv-extras.org/simple/ there is a whole bunch of plugins just for OMV. As for the ease of plugins, you will see OMV is WAAAAAY easier than FreeNAS. In FreeNAS, they do it differently. In theory it is way more secure but also way more difficult. FreeNAS is built on FreeBSD which uses the jail system, instead of installing the plugin in the OS, FreeNAS creates a virtual OS for each plugin to be installed in, thus keeping it from actually accessing the main OS, if that makes sense. In reality, setting up each jail is a pain in the ass, and different for each plugin.

 

Q. But if you are going to be using a RAID solution, rather than ZFS -   what would be the difference between OpenMediaVault and FreeNas ?  

 

A. ZFS is way more superior....IF you use server grade hardware, most notably RAM. As a minimum you need 8GB just for the OS, and at least 1GB for each TB of HDD space you have, AND it has to be ECC RAM which is way expensive because you do not want the cheap stuff. When FreeNAS loads, it transfers everything into RAM and runs in memory. All ZFS transactions take place in RAM, without ECC RAM, all those Read/Write transactions are open to errors which is why you need ECC Ram.

 

Q. Linux based server OS'a  are interesting but a bit intimidating  -  my limited experience with linux is like driving down a finely paved main street -  then taking a turn and finding either cobblestones or dirt roads !

 

A. My first dealing with Linux was with the various NAS OS's, so I feel your pain. But it was not really that hard to learn. Plus, it's free :D  :D

 

Q. At this point,  I am just about finished with my "UNRAID" NAS box as described in my 1st post  -  The drives have been initialized and I will be transferring data to them soon

 

A. That was my first try at an NAS but I have more HDD's than the free edition allowed.

 

 

Q. Yes, the free version of the Unraid server only supports 3 drives -  but for my "Homebrew Nas"   This is fine.  I am not building a full blown server.  it boots off a usb stick so at least all 3 hard drives are available for data. 

 

A. Wait till you really get hooked, then 3 turns to 4, then you start looking at bigger Raid arrays because bigger is safer. Right???

 

Anyways, good luck. If you have any questions, let me know. 

 

P.S. to all the Home Server readers, thanks for opening up the forums to all the alternate MS Home Server users. If MS hadn't killed off Home Server I would still be there, and no, a $400 2012 Server Essentials version was not an option for more reasons than just the money.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great information.

 

If I knew then what I know now !

 

Still pretty pleased with my selection of UNRAID -    but going forward its good to have options

 

I had a test box  for UNRAID  -  might try an install of OpenMediaVault on it for the reasons you describe.  

 

will wait,  cant waste whats left of the good weather we have here in indiana

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...