To Migrate 70 Terabytes…

November 23, 2019 2:44pm
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It’s true.

The project that I started almost two months ago to migrate all of my home server data from rapidly aging desktop hardware to a rackmount NAS is finally completed.

What was previously around 60 TB spread across 9 hard drives of varying shapes, sizes, and ages has now been moved to a dozen 10-12 TB drives all born within the last year, including the addition of two parity drives for redundancy in a new-to-me server that will be dedicated to nothing but storing files, thus finally separating out Plex and the various apps that I use to download media to their own hardware where disk conflicts should officially be a thing of the past!

Of course, it didn’t take that full two months solely to move the data from one set of drives to the other … even though at times it certainly felt like it…

A good chunk of time was spent waiting for Unraid to clear and format new drives – a little over a day for 12 TB drives. 😯

I also had to limit when I could migrate data so as to not impact Plex, considering both that copying at full tilt ate up a lot of CPU on my old server AND I found that copying at full tilt into the new server would make it difficult to stream media from the affected drive at the same time.

I ended up counteracting the latter by adding a 1 TB SSD cache drive to Unraid, which unfortunately limited me to moving about 1 TB at a time because the mover process that moves data from the cache to the array (normally at night) is equally intensive.

That said, most of the speeds I got from the old server weren’t enough to matter anyways. For drives attached directly to the motherboard, I could average speeds of 60 MBps, however a good chunk of my media was living on external USB drives which meant that it was more likely for my transfers to crawl along at 30 MBps instead…

Comical when the SSD can do upwards of 90-100 MBps and even higher read speeds, but hey – I knew that speed wasn’t one of the selling points of going with Unraid, anyways.

Those two months also included a disk recovery … truth be told, I actually lost two disks that prompted me finally putting all of this into motion! One was a lost cause and I just made a list and re-downloaded everything over time, but the second I left alone until everything else was done and then was able to recover using this great free app that I found called testdisk. It turns out that basically the partition table had gotten corrupted somehow – a problem that actually already affected me once before that I previously had been able to repair, but this time once I realized that testdisk would allow me to copy the contents over to another disk that I now had to spare, I opted to just do that instead and about 12 hours later roughly 490 movies were sitting on a fresh disk and ready to migrate over to the new array!

So anyways, as of yesterday now everything is living on the new server and I’m basically ready to power down old faithful and prepare it for its afterlife. I think I decided that once I get the cables I’m waiting on to move the new NAS into my rack in thcloset, I’m going to bring that old server down to my office and disassemble it, give it a good cleaning and actually remove the dead drives that are still installed, and then I’m going to wipe the thing and turn it into a sandbox of sorts for a few random things that don’t really have a place on my other servers…

  • Plex media local backup – Until I can build out a proper backup NAS, I’m going to take a couple of leftover 8 TB drives and backup the most essential 16 TB of media in my collection for an additional backup on top of the 1 TB that I’m now backing up to the cloud.
  • Torrent seeding – I found this great docker for Transmission that incorporates OpenVPN for a seamless experience, which makes me feel a little more comfortable having it running full time to help seed some of the more difficult to find files that I had to hunt for after not being able to get them from usenet.
  • DVD ripping station – Right now the only computers left in this house that still have CD drives are one rackmount server and a very old laptop that I first trialed Plex on before moving it to my desktop hardware. I actually bought an internal bluray drive shortly after I started getting into Plex because I thought that I’d end up ripping all of my media instead of just downloading it, so it’s been buried underneath my desk for about four years now. Nonetheless, I want to install it in this version of the computer to have something a little more accessible for the random DVDs that I have to rip myself.

Not sure how much else will end up there simply because the CPU inside is pretty weak at this point, but I’m really trying to keep my main environments a little cleaner and not just install any old random thing that I come across, so this will be a good place for that because it won’t really matter if there are disruptions.

Looking forward to writing up a separate post outlining all of the reasons why I love Unraid now that I’ve been using it for a couple of months, and of course, I’m already working on expansion plans to move beyond the 106 TB limit that I currently have installed in my already very full, new NAS today! 😉

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