Question unRAID vs Synology NAS?

JoeFig44

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Oct 23, 2012
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I've been running an unRAID (currently version 6.5.3) for well over a decade. It's mostly great, except when it stops working and then it's a pain to figure out. Rarely happens.
It's about 9TB (spread out over 4 HDDs) + a 3TB parity drive.
I forget the type of RAID it runs, but basically if I lose one drive, I can restore it.
Most content is mkv files (1080p up to 2160p+ now), so it's growing.
I don't really need to run the parity, as most of the personal files I have on it I now store in Dropbox. As for family pictures/video it takes up < 300GB - so that would be the only thign I really need parity for in case I lose them (haven't quite gotten around to putting up in Google Photos or similar cloud).

Anyways, I was just wondering if I would gain anything (performance, reliability) by investing in a Synology NAS and moving everything over to it?

Painpoints of current unRAID system:
-slow initial opening of folders as drives spin up
-timeouts occasionally when transferring files from one area of the NAS to another
-some files/folders on the NAS cannot be deleted through my macbook pro when navigating it's folders, requiring me to use a terminal session and unix command lines to get to the files and delete them (pain in the butt)
-power usage - basically running a PC with all those drives in it that's on 24x7 with drives spun down, I wonder about how much power it uses over time vs. a Synology NAS, etc.
 

13thmonkey

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do you really need redundancy offered by a parity drive or would a backup be more appropriate, I assume you aren't generating 10's of large MKV files a day? So a reasonably static backup might be better? Considering this might let you think about how you manage better. Perhaps NAS for accessibility and Unraid for the backup so the spin up times are less of an issue?
 

JoeFig44

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I think you are right, I do not need the parity feature. My key personal files are in Dropbox; my family photos/videos I can finally put in the cloud; I can keep a backup copy of both these things on unRAID (or even just a backup HDD). As for the 95%+ of data on my NAS, it's all mkvs would could be re-ripped again if something was to happen to them.

So, when you say NAS (rather than backup which you've equated to my unRAID), do you mean a Synology device?
If so, are you inferring the Synology device would alleviate my issues with accessibility I'm experiencing with unRAID (i.e. spin up times of disks, slow transfers, unable to delete some files)?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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My QNAP TS-453a (similar to a Synology) has been absolutely rock solid for almost 3 years.
4x4TB Ironwolf, currently RAID 5. But preparing to undo that RAID 5, in favor of JBOD.

It holds all the PC backups, movie and music lib, shared data, long term storage of things in the house.
Power consumption is much much less than a PC.

And of course, there is a full backup of it, updated routinely to a USB connected enclosure with 2x 8TB.

24/7/365, zero issues. No issues with accessibility, drive spin up, file access or delete....Nothing.
Accessible from all the Windows boxes in the house as just another mapped drive letter.
It is simply "there".

The main NAS box manufacturers have gotten this right. QNAP, Synology, Theacus.
Rock solid performance.
 

JoeFig44

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My QNAP TS-453a (similar to a Synology) has been absolutely rock solid for almost 3 years.
4x4TB Ironwolf, currently RAID 5. But preparing to undo that RAID 5, in favor of JBOD.

It holds all the PC backups, movie and music lib, shared data, long term storage of things in the house.
Power consumption is much much less than a PC.

And of course, there is a full backup of it, updated routinely to a USB connected enclosure with 2x 8TB.

24/7/365, zero issues. No issues with accessibility, drive spin up, file access or delete....Nothing.
Accessible from all the Windows boxes in the house as just another mapped drive letter.
It is simply "there".

The main NAS box manufacturers have gotten this right. QNAP, Synology, Theacus.
Rock solid performance.
Good to know. I'm going to have to look into this. It's not like my unRAID NAS has been totally unreliable. For 14+ years it has been my NAS with only occasional HDD failure. It's just was hoping for something with snappier performance and no issues when I want to transfer/delete files.

Now to figure out how I would actually transfer 9TB of data to a new NAS device without needing to buy 9TB of space as well. Was hoping to re-use the WD Red HDDs (3TB x 3 including the parity drive) that is currently in use in my unRAID NAS.

I guess the easiest way is just to buy more HDDs for the QNAP/Synology NAS and then transfer the files across the LAN?
 

JoeFig44

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Yep.
And the current drives in the unRAID can serve as a full backup.
So, just to confirm with the QNAP, when you go to a device and to the shared drive, the contents of that drive are immediately available? you don't have to wait for the drives to spin up ever?
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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So, just to confirm with the QNAP, when you go to a device and to the shared drive, the contents of that drive are immediately available? you don't have to wait for the drives to spin up ever?
More or less instantly. No waiting for them to spin up.

I have mine set to go into 'standby' after 30 minutes.
But I've never noticed any delay when accessing it after that "30 minutes".


 

JoeFig44

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I have 8.7TB of data on my 9TB unRAID server that I've been running for 11+ years. Currently on v6.3.4

I have following disk config:
3TB HDD = parity
3TB HDD
3TB HDD
1.5TB HDD
1.5TB HDD

I'm going to shift to a Synology 918+. While I run parity now, I likely will just use the Synology for backup and storage without worrying about if it fails.
I then want to transfer all 8.7TB of data across my LAN to the Synology.

1. What is the best disk config for the Synology that I should get? I'll aim for likely 10-12TB to start. I could get 3-4TB HDDs (Seagate Ironwolf's) or I could get 2-6TB HDDs or I could get 1-10TB HDD, or I could get 1-12TB HDD.

2. The three HDDs in my existing server are WD Red HDDs. Is there anyway to somehow do this transfer of data and still use those in the Synology rather than buying new HDDs? Probably not as they are full of my data right now, but thought maybe there may be some trick to salvage those Red HDDs since once i've done the transfer I wouldn't need them other than for future expansion of the Synology.
 

13thmonkey

Titan
Moderator
If you were using storage spaces, or some other thin provisioned storage means or something where you could grow the physical capacity as needed then starting with a small number (2) of seed disks you could start the transfer until enough was moved to allow a reduction in the disks needed on unRaid, and then release ta disks, move them to the new device, repeat until empty. No data is ever held on only 1 disk, and you have the minimum number of disks left lying around afterwards.

Although having read that you don't care about parity/loss from the synology just use it as JBOD and add disks as you free them up from unRAID.
 

JoeFig44

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If you were using storage spaces, or some other thin provisioned storage means or something where you could grow the physical capacity as needed then starting with a small number (2) of seed disks you could start the transfer until enough was moved to allow a reduction in the disks needed on unRaid, and then release ta disks, move them to the new device, repeat until empty. No data is ever held on only 1 disk, and you have the minimum number of disks left lying around afterwards.

Although having read that you don't care about parity/loss from the synology just use it as JBOD and add disks as you free them up from unRAID.
Yes, this is what I was thinking too. I will use the Synology as JBOD (small amount of data I care about protecting from loss I would store in the cloud too).
Your recommended approach is what I was thinking as well, I just didn't know the feasibility of transferring data from unRAID in it's currently parity config, then deleting those transferred files, then removing a disk from unraid (which I would think unraid would then need to shrink to the remaining space) and then removing that disk and adding it to the Synology and transferring further.

Also, can the Synology in JBOD config. take disks of various sizes? Figuring yes, since I think that's what JBOD means but not sure.
 

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