unRAID Home Server complete

In my last post I was talking about building a home server to replace my dying Linksys NAS200, which was dying from day 1 unfortunately. I priced out and built a home server for under $226 by mixing and matching retailers ( http://pcpartpicker.com/p/loRC ). This price didn’t include the existing two 1 TB drives I already had from my existing NAS device however. I put it together and it worked great, the little Sempron processor easily overclocked to 3.6GHz and has been stable since I turned it on.

First I tried FreeNAS and quickly remembered why I hate BSD. As a Linux user, the slight command differences on the terminal quickly drove me to remove it. I played around with OpenFilr with little success and ended up settling on unRAID (http://lime-technology.com/). It’s based off of Slackware so it felt more like home than the others. The initial install WebGUI is pretty minimal and ugly, so I quickly replaced that with a plugin called SimpleFeatures, muuuuch better. The whole distro runs off of a USB key so I don’t have to use any of my array for the OS, a VERY nice feature. I got a Sandisk Cruzer micro 16GB and its working great.

unRAID limits you to only three drives on an unregistered version of the software. So with my three 1TB drives I have around 1.9TB of storage space. More than enough for my current needs. The best part is I have two paths for upgrading. 1) Upgrade each drive with a larger drive 1 by 1; 2) Purchase a license and add more drives to the array. Believe it or now #2 is actually the cheaper option. The license is $69 and a good 1TB drive is less than $100. Just adding 1 more drive gives me 2.8TB of space, and I can add 1 more if wanted. Any more than 5 drives and I would have to upgrade to the next license level, but its still cheaper than buying all new drives.

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  1. #1 by Nic on January 8, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    That’s too bad! I started with unRAID and got very sick of its flakyness and poor performance. I converted to FreeNAS and I’m loving it! For a pure NAS system, you don’t need a command line, so the BSD thing shouldn’t affect you. Oh, and it is completely free, no matter what! Give it a shot, you’ll love it.

  2. #2 by pbb on January 30, 2013 - 5:53 pm

    One thing that the unRaid code is NOT is flaky. 4.7 has been stable for a long time and RC10 of version 5.0 appears stable also.

    As long as you stay in the mainstream for hardware and plugins, there is little chance of encountering any operating issues.

    Read/write performance has been a problem for some users, and it’s still not clear exactly what combination of hardware and software might cause those problems. But again, for the majority of users, I don’t think this is an issue – in particular if unRaid is used as originally conceived, that is as a large capacity WORM device.

  3. #3 by jeffro on January 30, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    Gotta agree with pbb here. I’ve been running 5RC8 non stop since I built the server and it hasn’t faltered once. I’ve been hammering it with data (relative to a SOHO environment) since then too. Of the 1.8 TB I have it’s about 20% full now.

    My only issue with it is with how insecure users accounts are out of the box. Had to address that before I opened up SSH to the outside world. Other than that, absolutely no complaints

  4. #4 by pbb on January 30, 2013 - 10:00 pm

    Hi Jeffro,
    To be fair, internet connection was never in the original spec.

    But if you have managed to secure your box, could you post the steps that were necessary, here on your blog?


  5. #5 by jeffro on January 31, 2013 - 10:36 am

    @pbb Let me see what I can put together. First draft probably won’t be too detailed but, like usual, I can start small and add detail later.

  6. #6 by pbb on January 31, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    Thank you, Jeffro

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