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TrueNas or Unraid ?


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Hey guys. 

 

So I am consolidating 3 machines into one server. 

 

1x Plex Server/Windows VM

2x NAS 

 

I have done research on both solutions but struggling to decide which to settle with. 

 

The new server storage wise will have: 

 

4x SATA HDD NAS/Enterprise drives 

2x SATA SSD's (For Cache) 

1x NVMe for OS or additional cache 

 

The server will serve as the NAS and will also be the Plex server, as well as need the function for me to run an instance of Windows in a VM. 

 

Originally my plan was to use TrueNas and run my HDD's in RAID 10, however I then started reading up on Unraid. Would love to hear opinions on which is "Better". I know they will both have Pros and cons. 

 

Flexibility to be able to have the server do other things in the future may be nice too, which I see Unraid has a nice library of plugins. 

 

Anyway, would love to hear some thoughts. 

 

Thanks, 

E

 

 

 

 

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I use unRAID and like it a lot.  I don't know anything about truenas.  I feel the biggest drawback to unRAID is access speed when accessing the array... Specifically writing to the array. Read speeds are capped at the speed of the drive hosting the data you want.  Unlike other systems, you won't get the speed benefit of reading or writing to multiple drives at the same time.

 

As for writing to the array, it is slow by default.  Using cache drives to receive new or updated files helps, but can have issues (writing more data in a day than the cache drive can hold).  There are other settings to speed up writes if you keep the drives spun up at all times.

 

Overall, I love unRAID.  However, I have a slew of non array ssds to keep things fast.

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6 minutes ago, firedfly said:

I use unRAID and like it a lot.  I don't know anything about truenas.  I feel the biggest drawback to unRAID is access speed when accessing the array... Specifically writing to the array. Read speeds are capped at the speed of the drive hosting the data you want.  Unlike other systems, you won't get the speed benefit of reading or writing to multiple drives at the same time.

 

As for writing to the array, it is slow by default.  Using cache drives to receive new or updated files helps, but can have issues (writing more data in a day than the cache drive can hold).  There are other settings to speed up writes if you keep the drives spun up at all times.

 

Overall, I love unRAID.  However, I have a slew of non array ssds to keep things fast.

if you see my pics, i have a cache array of nothing but SSD's, when downloading to the network attached storage, it seems that it writes directly to the drive itself, insteaad of cache first, any ideas? cache is pointed to the correct directory

if I download to my pc first hen use windows to drag and drop, it peaks at my 2.5gbit network speed (250-260MB/s)

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Thanks for the input thus far. Yes, I personally see one of the disadvantages of Unraid being the it doesn't have the advantage of Raid so far is disk striping etc which is a little concern as I would like to maintain best possible speeds where possible. 

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On 22/05/2022 at 14:44, Cerberus said:

if you see my pics, i have a cache array of nothing but SSD's, when downloading to the network attached storage, it seems that it writes directly to the drive itself, insteaad of cache first, any ideas? cache is pointed to the correct directory

if I download to my pc first hen use windows to drag and drop, it peaks at my 2.5gbit network speed (250-260MB/s)

 

I just looked at your screenshots.  My first thought was that you have a LOT of drives only covered from the 1 parity drive.  If you lose 2 of those older, smaller drives, you'll start losing data.  Though, I'm definitely on the more cautious side (2 parity/9 data drives).

 

As for the cache drive not being used, you would need to check your share settings.  I have Use cache pool set to yes for the shares I want to utilize the cache (and have the files moved to the array when the mover is invoked).

image.thumb.png.5cf90492e891783c29b45f7ccbfcbdd6.png

 

Also, if you are interested in my configuration, I have multiple cache pools.  One for normal array caching.  The other stores my docker and vm files so they are not on the array.  Additionally, I'll pass some specific SSDs through to a few VMs when a dedicated SSD is preferred.

image.thumb.png.5dc70af275c7779523c44c213f01a04f.png

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On 22/05/2022 at 11:33, firedfly said:

I use unRAID and like it a lot.  I don't know anything about truenas.  I feel the biggest drawback to unRAID is access speed when accessing the array... Specifically writing to the array. Read speeds are capped at the speed of the drive hosting the data you want.  Unlike other systems, you won't get the speed benefit of reading or writing to multiple drives at the same time.

 

As for writing to the array, it is slow by default.  Using cache drives to receive new or updated files helps, but can have issues (writing more data in a day than the cache drive can hold).  There are other settings to speed up writes if you keep the drives spun up at all times.

 

Overall, I love unRAID.  However, I have a slew of non array ssds to keep things fast.

 

 

Yeah I couldn't get over how slow it was, I couldn't 't deal with that and just went back to using each drive individually. Sure it makes my Plex scans longer but isn't such a pain to copy files over now. This was also 10+ years ago so I'm sure much has been improved since then

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I run both UnRAID and TrueNAS Core in my setup. For UnRAID, I've found the flexibility combined with community support (forums + docker) to be unmatched. TrueNAS however is just better at offering certain types of storage and may meet certain goals better than UnRAID. There are most certainly benefits and drawbacks to both operating systems, I find the success to be in the config/deployment. They overlap, a lot, a real lot. 

 

Currently, I use UnRAID as a bulk format storage appliance as I similarly have many TBs of Linux ISOs just like yourself. This is where UnRAID excels on a basic level, it's easy to grow the array. UnRAID, not being RAID, gives you the benefit of array survivability should you lose more disks than your # of parity slots, this can be handy. If you don't particularly care to have a fully baked in and fully supported ZFS experience, UnRAID is near perfect. I also take advantage of docker to run a few applications. My UnRAID server is powered by a threadripper (1920x). I am in a near perpetual state of encoding media files so the CPU is quite busy along with a few other apps. There's oodles of documentation as well as several examples of modest and overkill setups. I find the licensing cost of UnRAID to generally equate to the $$ you might typically spend on extra memory for TrueNAS so, unimportant (to me).

 

As for TrueNAS Core, it powers my iSCSI SAN for my virtualization lab. TrueNAS Core is quite useful for easily setting up ZFS arrays then sharing that through either iSCSI or NFS for ESX / Prox / KVM labs. I personally run ESX as my main hypervisor but essentially, TrueNAS Core provides almost all of my storage for the hosts and does it extremely well. This is not to say TrueNAS Core / Scale is not a good solution for say, bulk Linux ISOs though. It is quite good at being a NAS too. If your calculus of your time, data, sanity dictates you must use a ZFS file system, TrueNAS is the only recommendation out of the two for the time being IMO. The system memory requirement is not quite the end-all you may believe from reading older forum posts but generally you will spend more on TrueNAS system memory if you benefit from / require file caching. 

 

There are many people out there running UnRAID in horribly slow configurations, it's quite easy to achieve poor performance when combining certain hardware and array strategies. While UnRAID doesn't stripe data in the main array, I would argue requiring performance out of the main array on a typical UnRAID server might mean the configuration is technically wrong (ie not the UnRAID meta). UnRAID supports the addition of cache arrays which could all be SATA or PCIe SSDs. Depending on your file server needs, you will want to put some thought into any type of arrays you might deploy in UnRAID and TrueNAS. I could go on and on but generally speaking, when I see posts such as this, I typically think, what level of importance is placed on the data and realistically, honestly, super cereal honest, will you ever make a backup? Neither solution is good enough for rolling the dice with out a backup but there are considerations.

UnRAID would probably serve you well at the moment. The software is intuitive, the community is quite large and helpful. Hardware support it very good, growing the arrays is an easy and relatively quick task. In 1-3 years, perhaps TrueNAS Scale would rise to the top of my recommendation list we will see 🙂

Edited by SamsTechStuff
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3 hours ago, SamsTechStuff said:

I run both UnRAID and TrueNAS Core in my setup. For UnRAID, I've found the flexibility combined with community support (forums + docker) to be unmatched. TrueNAS however is just better at offering certain types of storage and may meet certain goals better than UnRAID. There are most certainly benefits and drawbacks to both operating systems, I find the success to be in the config/deployment. They overlap, a lot, a real lot. 

 

Currently, I use UnRAID as a bulk format storage appliance as I similarly have many TBs of Linux ISOs just like yourself. This is where UnRAID excels on a basic level, it's easy to grow the array. UnRAID, not being RAID, gives you the benefit of array survivability should you lose more disks than your # of parity slots, this can be handy. If you don't particularly care to have a fully baked in and fully supported ZFS experience, UnRAID is near perfect. I also take advantage of docker to run a few applications. My UnRAID server is powered by a threadripper (1920x). I am in a near perpetual state of encoding media files so the CPU is quite busy along with a few other apps. There's oodles of documentation as well as several examples of modest and overkill setups. I find the licensing cost of UnRAID to generally equate to the $$ you might typically spend on extra memory for TrueNAS so, unimportant (to me).

 

As for TrueNAS Core, it powers my iSCSI SAN for my virtualization lab. TrueNAS Core is quite useful for easily setting up ZFS arrays then sharing that through either iSCSI or NFS for ESX / Prox / KVM labs. I personally run ESX as my main hypervisor but essentially, TrueNAS Core provides almost all of my storage for the hosts and does it extremely well. This is not to say TrueNAS Core / Scale is not a good solution for say, bulk Linux ISOs though. It is quite good at being a NAS too. If your calculus of your time, data, sanity dictates you must use a ZFS file system, TrueNAS is the only recommendation out of the two for the time being IMO. The system memory requirement is not quite the end-all you may believe from reading older forum posts but generally you will spend more on TrueNAS system memory if you benefit from / require file caching. 

 

There are many people out there running UnRAID in horribly slow configurations, it's quite easy to achieve poor performance when combining certain hardware and array strategies. While UnRAID doesn't stripe data in the main array, I would argue requiring performance out of the main array on a typical UnRAID server might mean the configuration is technically wrong (ie not the UnRAID meta). UnRAID supports the addition of cache arrays which could all be SATA or PCIe SSDs. Depending on your file server needs, you will want to put some thought into any type of arrays you might deploy in UnRAID and TrueNAS. I could go on and on but generally speaking, when I see posts such as this, I typically think, what level of importance is placed on the data and realistically, honestly, super cereal honest, will you ever make a backup? Neither solution is good enough for rolling the dice with out a backup but there are considerations.

UnRAID would probably serve you well at the moment. The software is intuitive, the community is quite large and helpful. Hardware support it very good, growing the arrays is an easy and relatively quick task. In 1-3 years, perhaps TrueNAS Scale would rise to the top of my recommendation list we will see 🙂

Awesome! Very informative, thanks for your insight. At the moment im leaning towards TrueNas Core. Mostly as my server will be a NAS with additional services. My current hardware choices were based on a RAID like setup. Ideally RAID 10, Striped with a Mirror. I cannot recall the name of the system TrueNas uses on ZFS which is essentially RAID 10 but it would be the way I would go as im looking for maximum throughout with redundancy. I will have 128Gb RAM for caching needs or the 2x 1TB SSD's. 

 

Obviously a RAID array is no replacement for a backup, so I will have a second NAS used for onsite backup and I have remote backup too. 

 

I have sat and watched a few videos on TrueNas and it makes sense to me, so it is likely I will go that route for the time being.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, ENTERPRISE said:

Awesome! Very informative, thanks for your insight. At the moment im leaning towards TrueNas Core. Mostly as my server will be a NAS with additional services. My current hardware choices were based on a RAID like setup. Ideally RAID 10, Striped with a Mirror. I cannot recall the name of the system TrueNas uses on ZFS which is essentially RAID 10 but it would be the way I would go as im looking for maximum throughout with redundancy. I will have 128Gb RAM for caching needs or the 2x 1TB SSD's. 

 

Obviously a RAID array is no replacement for a backup, so I will have a second NAS used for onsite backup and I have remote backup too. 

 

I have sat and watched a few videos on TrueNas and it makes sense to me, so it is likely I will go that route for the time being.

 

Striping mirrored vdev's will definitely work. Modern TrueNAS GUI is quite nice IMO as well. You should have a relatively easy time backing up TrueNAS with included tools 🙂

 

I will soon be swapping my ancient TrueNAS Core Supermicro x9 setup for a 12th gen pentium. Hoping to see a nice reduction in power consumption!

Edited by SamsTechStuff
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1 hour ago, SamsTechStuff said:

 

Striping mirrored vdev's will definitely work. Modern TrueNAS GUI is quite nice IMO as well. You should have a relatively easy time backing up TrueNAS with included tools 🙂

 

I will soon be swapping my ancient TrueNAS Core Supermicro x9 setup for a 12th gen pentium. Hoping to see a nice reduction in power consumption!

I was actually just thinking about this today with my G7400 and extra 1700 Strix.

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3 hours ago, SamsTechStuff said:

 

Striping mirrored vdev's will definitely work. Modern TrueNAS GUI is quite nice IMO as well. You should have a relatively easy time backing up TrueNAS with included tools 🙂

 

I will soon be swapping my ancient TrueNAS Core Supermicro x9 setup for a 12th gen pentium. Hoping to see a nice reduction in power consumption!

This is part of my TrueNas venture to consolidate separate machines into one for improved power consumption and reduction in heat output in the office lol 

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So I have TrueNas installed and migrating the data over. 

 

I had a nightmare with the user permissions as I am so used to a different system. So I went back to basics and got the main admin setup so I could at least get all the files over. 

 

Right now I have a dataset for each share that I have. I assume that if I want to restrict other users from access data in a share, I want alter the Share permissions and not the Dataset permissions ?

 

Looks like ZFS makes good use of the RAM! I have been reading up on whether or not it is sensible to set up one of the SSD's in the system into an L2ARC, but I have not been able to come to a conclusion as of yet. Has anyone played with this that may have some feedback on whether or not it helps or hinders performance ? 

 

Thanks,

E

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 05/06/2022 at 13:43, ENTERPRISE said:

So I have TrueNas installed and migrating the data over. 

 

I had a nightmare with the user permissions as I am so used to a different system. So I went back to basics and got the main admin setup so I could at least get all the files over. 

 

Right now I have a dataset for each share that I have. I assume that if I want to restrict other users from access data in a share, I want alter the Share permissions and not the Dataset permissions ?

 

Looks like ZFS makes good use of the RAM! I have been reading up on whether or not it is sensible to set up one of the SSD's in the system into an L2ARC, but I have not been able to come to a conclusion as of yet. Has anyone played with this that may have some feedback on whether or not it helps or hinders performance ? 

 

Thanks,

E

 

Not sure if you worked this out already but I'd definitely take a look here at this Lawrence Systems ACL permissions video: 



Also another great LS video on the ZFS Log and L2ARC:

 

Edited by SamsTechStuff
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22 hours ago, SamsTechStuff said:

 

Not sure if you worked this out already but I'd definitely take a look here at this Lawrence Systems ACL permissions video: 



Also another great LS video on the ZFS Log and L2ARC:

 

Thanks bud. I did manage to sort it out eventually and did a good amount of reading on L2ARC and ZFS Log. L2ARC is pointless if you are getting the high 90th percentile hit rate on ZFS and your RAM. 

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