Archive for March, 2012

unRAID update

Posted: March 28, 2012 in Storing
Tags: ,

Just as a quick follow up: the unRAID box has been build in it’s new
enclosure (Antec 302) and the mixed collection of HDDs have been
mounted ready for action. The basic server now consistes of a 2Tb
Samsung as the parity, a 2Tb WD Green and a 1.5Tb Seagate for storage.

There’s a couple more 1.5Tb drives waiting to be added as soon as I
stump up the cash for the licensed version. Might wait until the
official 5.0 stable version gets released.

Now I just need to finish building the new desktop, then i’ll have the
old NAS, new unRAID and new desktop all on the same gigabit network so
I can start shunting the files from the old to the new with a bit more
alacrity. Once that is done, I’ll need to setup NFS and re-import my
media back into XBMC.

Got a week or so off planned, so I’m hoping I might get enough time to
at least start this final phase.


Posted: March 28, 2012 in Watching

Late again with this… but just haven’t been near a device I could blog from.

XBMC Eden is released.

XBMC 11.0 Milestones include Addon Rollbacks, vast improvements in
Confluence (the default skin), massive speed increases via features
like Dirty-region rendering and the new JPEG decoder, a simpler,
better library, movie set scraping, additional protocol handling,
better networking support, better handling of unencrypted BluRay
content and structures, adjustable display refresh rate in OSX (to
match the already available feature in Windows and Linux), AirPlay
support, an upgraded weather service with geoip lookup, and much, much
more. Check out the highlights in the summarized changelog.

Also a new XBMCLive now called XBMCbuntu..

XBMCbuntu is very similar to past versions of XBMC Live. By default,
the user boots directly into XBMC, and if he/she chooses, he or she
will never see the underlying OS. However, unlike Live, XBMCbuntu is
now built upon a full LXDE desktop environment, which has a web
browser (Chromium) with a fully updated (and updatable) version of
Flash built-in and a GUI package manager ready to install and update
all of the normal Ubuntu programs a typical Linux user might use. The
user may now toggle between XBMC, which auto-starts, and a normal
desktop if he or she chooses. And, perhaps most exciting for many
users, XBMC will now be upgradeable, both from command line and from
the GUI package manager, without fear of crashing the XBMC experience.


Posted: March 8, 2012 in Storing
Tags: , ,

I’ve been planning to play with unRAID for a while now, and the
original plans called for me to build a new WHS and then re-cycle the
old box for unRAID. As usual I went a completely different route.

The old desktop was originally re-cycled into a Win 7 MCE.. After
building it I then decided that there really was no reason for it.
We’ve got Sky and that does all the PVR duties that we currently need.
What we do have is a problem with media playback from our own library
via XBMC. Video will playback but on completion, the screen will go
black and the box will lock up. The logs indicate an issue with SMB,
something that I’m increasingly becoming convinced is due to the NAS.
Space on the NAS is also creeping towards ‘full’, so something will
need to be done sooner rather than later.

So in the best traditions of TwistedNix…. I ripped the MBoard out of
the HTPC case and dumped it back into a small tower case. Added a
couple of large (1Tb +) drives, an USB flash drive for the OS and off
we went. A brief (33 hour) wait for the drives to all finish
pre-clearing and we were ready to build the new array.

The free version of unRAID allows for 3 drives in an array (1 parity
and 2 storage), but even this simple set up immediately gave me 2.5Tb
of storage… almost as much as the old NAS in RAID5 currently gives.
And none of that must use matched drives rubbish that makes RAID
management such a PITA.

So far it’s all worked beautifully, so I’m now waiting for a new case,
PSU and Lexar Flash drive to port the server into it’s new home.

As it stands now I can connect 7 SATA HDD to the MBoard. Assuming 1
parity and 1 cache drive, that leave me with initial potential for
15Tb of useable storage. (5x3Tb HDD). There are 2 PCI slots free on
the board, so potentially another 4 if I can extract the Sil PCI SATA
card from another box and another 4 if I buy an additional card. That
gives me a potential storage pool of a huge 39Tb… Granted that’s
theoretical (last time I checked I didn’t have 13 3Tb drives hanging
around in boxes or the ~£2k it would cost to buy that many!).

Once that is done I’ll look at copying the media library across on to
the unRAID and then setup the NFS access for XBMC. The old NAS can
stay on the network for music and downloads.

Useful unRAID links:



Jim Metcalf’s article on his unRAID experience


Posted: March 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

Apparently something to do with Apple was released yesterday….. if
you really care, I’m sure you can find something about it.