Ben Long has written a post on PC World website on his experience with Lime Technology‘s unRAID. It’s not so much about how to build a home media server with unRAID, but more an account of his (positive) experience:
“One benefit of digital media distribution is that you can store all of your music, movies, TV shows, and videos as data on hard drives rather than as stacks on shelves. But with higher-quality files and larger collections, that can still add up to a lot of storage.
Finding the right storage solution for your needs can be tricky, as you try to balance performance with expandability. Throw in the need for backup and network-wide access and things can get quite complicated. I was very surprised then, to discover Lime Technology’s unRAID, a DIY storage system that provides a very powerful, flexible storage option at a very low price.”
The rest of the article talks about:
- The need for storage
- Building an unRAID
- Hard drives
- Installing the Software
- Why unRAID?
- Using the unRAID
Why does Ben like unRAID?
“The unRAID offers a lot of great features. First, like a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive/Independent Disks) it combines multiple drives into a single volume. And, like several RAID formats, it has built-in redundancy. By incorporating a dedicated parity disk, anything you copy to the unRAID can be restored should a single drive fail.
Unlike many RAID configurations, though, you don’t have to expand the unRAID with pairs of drives. You can add another drive, of any size, to the array at any time. So, if you run out of storage, all you have to do is add another drive to the system, and that drive’s space will automatically be added to the total pool of storage. […]
Like the Drobo (and unlike most RAID configurations) if a drive in the unRAID fails, you can take it out and replace it with a new drive. The unRAID system will automatically fill the new drive with the contents of the old drive. Thanks to this redundancy, the unRAID system can survive a failure of a single drive. What’s also nice is that the data is not “striped” in any way–each drive simply has directories of files, so even if multiple drives fail, you can still retrieve your data from the surviving drives. […]
Finally, the unRAID system is extremely affordable. I had to buy a case, power supply, motherboard, and CPU, but I already had several drives. I simply took the drives out of all of my external enclosures, and some of the extra drives out of my tower, and put them in the unRAID box.
So, with the unRAID, I have a single device that, using current drive technology, can be expanded up to 38 terabytes, and allows for expansion one drive at a time, without losing any data, and without having to rebuild the entire system. All of that data is backed up, and the system can survive a single drive crash with no loss of data. Also, unlike a mirrored RAID 1 setup, half my storage is not used for backup. If I put in 10TB worth of data drives, then I have 10TB worth of usable storage. […] (continues)
Build your own Home Media Server with unRAID (pcmag.com)