unRAID… The Good, The Bad,  & The Ugly.

unRAID… The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.

The Good.

What is unRAID?

unRAID is an OS, an Operating System built based on Linux for storing and managing your data. In that sense it is more an embedded Network Attached Storage system than say iOS or Windows 10, as it was specifically designed to store and share digital files (e.g. data, video, music, etc.) across a local network within a house or business.
Since this data can be large and difficult if not not impossible to recover in the event of a drive failure unRAID protects your data by providing backup protection for drives should one fail. It can even protect you from the highly unlikely event of two drives failing simultaneously, provided you configure the machine to do so.
unRAID also protects you in case of component failure, should your motherboard, or cpu, or power supply fail you can should you decide to either replace the item or simply connect your drives to any Windows or Linux machine and have access to your data.
Unlike traditional RAID systems, you can freely mix and match drives of different size and speed. This allows you add capacity cheaply and efficiently using all those drives you have laying around gather dust in your office. unRAID is hardware independent too. So you can replace and improve the hardware at anytime. This flexibility allows you to scale your system utilizing hardware you may have left over in your closet.
I’m not kidding about this, I built my first unRAID server using my old i7 3770K and some 500 Gig Drives I had laying around. I was so impressed I picked up 6 5Tb drives at $75 a pop, a new power supply and case for better access and air flow. I’ve now got a 25 Tb NAS Server backing up all my work files, web sites, acting as media server with a VM backups of my workstation, iOS, Websites, and more… for about $525. That’s not definitely not bad at all.
unRAID is not a traditional RAID system either, as it allows you install applications within a container system (called Dockers.OK, that name is bad…) and manage their access to network and data. Basically, these are apps you can add on the fly to provide additional functionality to your NAS cleanly and efficiently.
In addition, should you have some extra cores waiting to do something you can run Virtual Machines from unRAID allowing you to do much of anything you may want. Got a 16 core monster CPU and a couple of 1080’s laying around. You can create two (or more…) monster gaming machines inside your unRAID server and they can both work off your 4Tb Steam library too.
unRAID is efficient too, drives only spin up when they are actually in use.
unRAID is fast, with direct-attached storage speed. Simply put a couple of SSD cache drives in and boom you are off to the races.
unRAID is not your traditional RAID either, it allow you dedicate virtual appliances to physical hardware. This means your two gaming machines can have dedicated SSDs as well as CPUs/Threads and memory.
unRAID is also cheap, really cheap… $89 for the up to 12 drive version and $139 for unlimited drives. You can set it up for FREE for 30 days too, just to see if you like it. I’m pretty sure you will.

Stay tuned for the Bad… Coming soon.

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