RAID0 cache drive upgrade in UnRAID

Just installed two 1TB drives in the UnRAID box, and wanted to set them up in a RAID0 configuration.

First step is to move the data off the current cache drive (250GB SSD). This involves moving the data to the HD array by setting the Share settings for “Use Cache” to “YES” from “Only”. Then click the “Move Now” button on the Main page. I had to do this for both the “appdata” and “domain” shares.

All that’s required is to select the two devices as cache devices, start the array. If there are multiple cache drives selected the system will automatically set them up as RAID1. This can be confirmed by clicking on the cache drive and looking in the “Balance status” section. Data, System and Metadata will all show RAID1.

Because btrfs is very clever, the cache drive RAID array can now be converted to something else, which is a RAID0 array in my case.
In the “Balance” field enter “-dconvert=raid0 -mconvert=raid1” and click the “Balance” button.
This will convert the array.
The Balance Status will reflect this change, with Data now being RAID0 and the storage about is increased.

To move the data back to the SSD cache, set the Share settings for the user shares for “Use Cache” to “Prefer” and then click the “Move Now” button. This will move the data back to the SSD cache and off the HD array.

Reference 1reference 2, reference 3

No Comments UnRaid

Installing FreeNAS as a VM in UnRAID

This took a while to figure out as I had to try several combinations of settings to get it running.

UnRAID 6.3.5
FreeNAS 11

When setting up the VM for FreeNAS, use “FreeBSD” as the template.
For BIOS use “OVMF” and Machine  should be “i440fx-2.7”

When installing FreeNAS make sure it is set to UEFI boot.

In order to PASS THROUGH a generic PCIe device in UnRAID, (a SATA controller in my case), use this guide.

No Comments Linux, UnRaid

Fast NAS

The concept of a NAS has always intrigued me. The shared filesystem that everyone in the house can access is great, but there’s always one downside.

It’s slow.

No, not unbearably slow, but mechanical hard drive slow. The limit of access over a gigabit network is about 110MB/s transfer rates, which is just a step down from the 130-150MB/s transfer rate that a HD can physically deliver.
Though I have a NAS now that can saturate my gigabit LAN connection, putting in a 10GB LAN would not make sense when the max I can achieve is 1.5 times my current throughput.

Some research on the max speed one can achieve with mechanical drives in some sort of an array can be hound here:

A couple things surprised me. One was the speed boost one gets with LZ4 compression enabled on a raidz volume, especially for a mechanical drive! Incredible.

Second was the SSD array transfer rates. I’m not thinking about getting a few SSDs to dedicate to a new NAS just to have the high transfer speeds.
This means a LAN upgrade is also necessary to 10GB in order to capitalize on the faster NAS.



CPUs, GPUs and benchmarking

Recently bought a GTX 1060 3GB GPU to use with an HTC Vive for VR games. The GPU worked well with an AMD FX-8130 CPU and 8 GB ram. Most games needed the settings to be turned down nearly to their lowest settings to allow the game to run at 90+fps so there would be no hickups in the video in the VR headset.
Because of this limitation, I was keeping an eye out for other GPUs, and came across a good deal on a GTX980Ti. Even thought this is one generation old (Maxwell architecture, vs the new Pascal which is what the GTX1060 card is).
I bought the card, brought it home, installed it, and saw virtually zero performance improvement in the games I tried. Imagine the disappointment. I just spent a few hundred $$ to gain zero performance 🙁 Read More

No Comments Computers, VR

Server upgrade path

I was recently exploring what my options were for upgrading the CPUs of my main server. Currently it’s running dual E5-2670 CPUs, each housing 8 cores (16 threads), 115W max TDP, on an ASRock EP2C602 motherboard. This motherboard will support up to v2 of the LGA2011 cpu socket. The v3 and v4 versions need a new mobo, so my choices are limited to v1 or v2 CPUs.
I’ve been using the data from to compare CPU performances. Below are a list of CPUs and their rated performance. To equalize things, I’ve created another column to compare per core performance, which is what games typically care more about. Read More

No Comments Computers

New NAS build-Tests

Finally ready to put together a new NAS system. One NAS that I can tune for max performance, and am not rushed to move all the data over (like had happened with every other version in the past).

The hardware used is a dual CPU system running E5-2670 CPUs each with 8 cores/16 threads, for a total of 32 threads, and 32 gigs ram. This may seem like overkill for a NAS, and it is if I was only using this system as a NAS. However I will be using this box as a Virtual Machine and Docker host, so the majority of the resources will go to the VMs and Docker apps.
For software I am running UnRaid 6.3.2 (as of this writing 07 Feb 2017). I’ve enjoyed using it as a NAS in the past and recently the capability to run VMs on it makes it that much more attractive.

Read More

No Comments UnRaid