Migrating from Ubuntu + ZFS File Server to unRAID

For years I have had a Dell Inspiron 537 with Ubuntu hosting a ZFS RAID 1 file-share. I’ve used it to be a BitTorrent Resilio Sync server, a Plex Media Server, Apache web server, ssh relay and more. But, it started to show its age with Plex. I was content to let it struggle for another year until I found unRAID from https://lime-technology.com.

After trying a demo, I decided to upgrade and shuffle the Inspiron over to my parents – retiring a hacked together computer lovingly called ‘Frankenpoot‘ –  and build a new computer to be a NAS server for me.

The main reasons to use unRAID over something like FreeNAS or Ubuntu again was ZFS’s (and like filesystems’) need for equal-sized disks. That requirement is limiting on a budget. The old Dell, called in its early days Zod (bad guy from Superman) and then Zorg from the movie The 5th Element, had a ZFS RAID1 pool of 2x 2TB drives called “ZorgZFS”. It worked great, no issues or complaints about ZFS. But the chassis of the Inspiron 537 had only room for 2x 3.5″ drives and a SSD boot drive haphazardly attached with only one screw. As I was going to build my own, I could have as many drive bays as I can afford. unRAID can handle drives of any size — as long as the parity drive is the largest.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be documenting configuration, setup and other knowledge relating to unRAID.