UnRAID: Data, Cache, and the Mover

So I’ll say up front, it’s possible that I haven’t set my storage up in the optimum way, and that choosing ‘just’ a 500GB cache drive has caused me some small issues, but I think that in daily operation, things should be fine.

My biggest challenge with the transition to the new machine was always going to be moving the data from old to new, whilst keeping the old one running and serving media.
As it transpired, we’ve had some internet issues over the last week which has meant the Plex server has been inaccessible to the outside world most of the time anyway, but I had already hatched a plan and that was what I stuck to.

I had 4x6TB (not 4x4TB as I said in my first post) in my Windows machine configured in Windows Storage Spaces. Due to the way it was configured, I could only remove one of the disks, despite having just over 1 disk-worth of data.
Therefore I’d need to move everything before I could destroy the array on my Windows machine and move the other disks.

The cache drive was a savior here, both in terms of storage and speed.


UnRAID: Getting the hang of things


As I mentioned in the last post, SpaceInvaderOne is a brilliant resource for UnRAID – and a bunch of other things besides. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a Brit based out of one of my favorite cities in the UK, Bristol.

I’ve mentioned a bit about parity in these posts and, if you’re wondering how it works, he has a brilliant explainer here.

He also talks in a subsequent video about key plugins to use with UnRAID. I was expecting a list of plugins, which is what I got, but also something even more impressive and much better than the disparate group of different plugins with different install techniques and documentation that I was expecting …

Community Applications

Community Applications is the plugin you must install with UnRAID, because it makes everything else so damn easy.
I’m not kidding – once it’s installed, this is your one-stop-shop for searching for plugins and one-click installing them. Most plugins I’ve found will also link you directly to the UnRAID Community Forum thread for that plugin should you have questions or just want to find out more.

It’s easy and brilliant and exactly what it should be. SpaceInvaderOne had some particular recommendations which I followed because after all, he’s the expert.


The first one to install is Fix Common Problems, which does exactly what it says on the tin. It scans your system, and tells you if things are configured incorrectly, not configured at all and should be, or anything else that means your system could potentially not be running at its best.

Next up is the Dynamix series of plugins. These do everything from allowing you to schedule a cronjob to do regular SSD TRIM operations on any SSDs you have installed on the system that support them, to helpful visualization tools to show easy disk usage and system temperature information. There are a bunch more that I need to explore, but they really seem to have thought of a ton of use cases and developed for them.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

One of the things I really wanted for this machine was for it to be quiet. No shit right? Half the components I ordered are literally from a company with that name.
My biggest concern was balancing temperature and noise – it’s relatively easy to keep a machine cool if you blast air through it at high speed, but that comes with a lot of noise. Equally it’s easy to keep a machine quiet – lots of large fans run at slow speed – but that tends to let things get hot.

It probably didn’t help that we had an unseasonably warm week this week, and that I was adding a third machine to a room that already had two in it, but I’ve been seeing temperatures that are a little higher than I would really like, thanks to the Dynamix System Temperature plugin.

My existing machine runs at mid-30s at idle, and I stress tested it up to 85 degrees which is well within tolerances for the hardware – but that’s in a larger case with better ventilation at the front, and fewer cores.

I cranked my fan controller on the case from ‘Silent’ to ‘Performance’ but it honestly didn’t make much difference – however the BIOS is also set to Silent, so I may need to reboot and play around with those settings to crank the fans up a bit without making it too loud.

There’s also a reasonable chance that I screwed up the heatsink somehow, with the mounting issues I mentioned earlier.
Either way, once I have the machine fully up and running and I’m ready to move the rest of the disks over, I need to do a lot of cable management to get the machine into its final state, so I can remount the heatsink if I need to, and move some fans about.

So Plexy

The main barrier to swapping machines is replacing the Plex server running on Windows with the new Blackjack hosted data. As mentioned in my first UnRAID post, I had intended to run Plex on Ubuntu, but I changed my mind and went for a straight-up container. This meant that installing Plex was simpler than its ever been. I setup a couple of shares for the media, pointed Plex at them, and it was ready to roll.

Obviously there’s nothing in it yet, I still need to migrate all the media over (a process ongoing as I write). The last thing then is to try and migrate the database, keeping all of the ‘watched/unwatched’ tallies for me and the other users. Once that’s done and confirmed, I can delete the data from the Windows machine and relocate the disks.


Remote access to this box is going to be important. I’ve used No-IP for years for keeping my domain name linked to the IP of wherever my machines are located. Usually this was an app installed on my machine but now I’m in the world of containers my first question is ‘Is there a container for that?’

The answer is yes, so I’ve now offloaded one more thing to the main system that I don’t have to worry about a guest OS doing.