Noobie choices for future RAID 5

I’m planning a NUC controlled dual-boot homelab using the following hardware-

PC Model

*Beelink SEi11 Pro Mini PC
*CPU- Intel 11th i5-11320H [4 cores/8 threads]
*11th Gen Tiger Lake, Quad-core 3.2Ghz/4.5Ghz
*Pre-loaded RAM-16Gb DDR4 3200Mh (max 64Gb)
*SSD- 1TB M.2 NVMe
*Graphics Card- Intel Iris Plus 655 Xe Graphics, integrated into CPU
*Wireless Type- ‎Bluetooth, 802.11ax
*Number of USB ports/Type- 2/2.0, 2/3.0
*Pre-loaded OS- Linux/Ubuntu

PC Upgrades

  • 2Tb m.2 NVMe Gen 4 SSD (Linux boot drive)
  • 2Tb 2.5 inch SATA 3 SSD (Windows boot drive)
  • 64Gb DDR4 3200Mh RAM

My desire is to configure the pc as a dual-boot machine with Windows 10 Pro & a Linux distro (Ubuntu Server or TrueNAS Server) that serves as a test base for various apps. The pc will primarily be used as a Plex server and a general backup for my family’s documents and media. I want to setup 4 10Tb external HDDs in a RAID config to contain all my media and documents. TrueNAS scale seems to be the easiest to setup and maintain; but as a noobie I have a few basic questions regarding my nefarious server plans:

*Do you install TrueNAS Scale on top of Ubuntu Server or instead of Unbuntu Server?
*Is RAID 5 visible to both OS [Windows and Ubuntu/TrueNAS Server] after configuring both?
*How difficult is it to cofigure/install Windows on a Ubuntu Server pc?

I’ve purchased most of the hardware above and while I’m waiting for the last bits to arrive, I’m scouring You tube and Google to answer allot of my questions; planning how to configure the OS’s is where YOU come in- hopefully!!

Welcome to the forum!

Sorry to jump right into corrections. I understand the m.2 PCI-E gen4, but I don’t understand the 2.5" gen4. I assume you meant sata iii ssd. No biggie tho.

Instead, although it can be virtualized and maybe probably have the disks passed-through to the VM. I don’t recommend that even for advanced users (because it’s wasteful).

For this, I’d suggest you install Proxmox. Makes things easier than Ubuntu, as far as configuring the disks in RAID goes. Similarly easy to TrueNAS Scale, but Proxmox actually allows you to mess with the host OS more, which truenas doesn’t (which is a good thing in the datacenter, but not for a home lab). You can install plex straight on proxmox, to get the benefit of the hardware acceleration (like gpu encoding). And you get to run VMs easier than under ubuntu. I can expand on it if you want, but I’d like to keep this short.

No, because Windows doesn’t have support for linux raids, nor linux file systems. Windows won’t be able to read them. As far as raid is concerned, with either proxmox or truenas, you get to do ZFS RAID, in this case RAID-z(1), which is equivalent to raid-5.

For dual-boot, not really, just that Windows will destroy your ubuntu or any other non-windows installations (it wipes the bootloader), so you’ll have to reinstall linux if you want to dual-boot windows (or repair the bootloader, but that’s harder for beginners than reinstalling). Better to run windows in a VM.

One last note. Since I don’t recommend linux md-raid (the classic way of setting it up), I’d suggest you either go with 5 drives for RAID-Z, or do a stripped mirror instead (since RAID-Z2 or raid-6 wouldn’t save any space on 4 disks compared to raid-10). You lose some performance if you don’t go with a certain number of drives in ZFS (unless you mess with low-end stuff, like cluster sizes).

My $0.02, windows inside a proxmox vm, plex on proxmox. And if you want some additional stuff, you could install portainer and maybe OpenMediaVault directly on proxmox.

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First I made the correction above-Thanx for pointing that out!!
Second, please do expand on your Proxmox suggestion!! I am already looking into the Learn Linux YouTube course as I’m writing this…

" My $0.02, windows inside a proxmox vm, plex on proxmox. And if you want some additional stuff, you could install portainer and maybe OpenMediaVault directly on proxmox."

Y’all are giving me HOMEWORK!! LOL!!!
OK, I’ll look into portainer and the rest!
Thanx for the 2 cents!!

I was more like, ranting, rather than anything on the proxmox side of things. Generally, proxmox is widely popular in homelabs. I’ve first heard of it from a colleague, whom I worked with to implement it in our production. Been using it since version 5. Later on, I’ve started seeing it in a tons of homelabs online. This year I’ve seen it in productions in the wild as well, which I was surprised.

It’s pretty versatile and on the basics, it trades blows with VMWare. It still doesn’t have all bells and whistles, like ROCev2 (RDMA), but it’s got all the normal stuff you’d expect from a mature virtualization platform: live migration, high availability and (somewhat recently) the ability to deploy it as a hyperconverged infrastructure (meaning the servers will run both the VMs and storage on one box and all of them splitting the workloads with the others when it comes to storage, by utilizing Ceph, which is supported in the GUI by proxmox).

I’m not sure if all of these make sense to you as of right now and I’d encourage you to not look too deep into them. Once you learn some more, if you want to gain more knowledge, definitely look into these, maybe experiment with them in VMs in proxmox.

Advantages for proxmox against truenas scale is that the host os can be messed with. Both of them are based on debian, but teunas prevents you from installing things directly into it and messing with the CLI, in favor of using the GUI to manage it. Proxmox offers flexibility in that regards, because, like mentioned above, you can install things as if it was debian, like plex and portainer.

Jay has some videos on it, does, TechnoTim, STH (I think), Level1Techs, Craft Computing… Lots of youtubers do. More popular than TrueNAS Core (the original), because of how much power it has.

Despite this, I personally stopped using it. It’s still good software, but my needs changed and I’m looking into microVMs (because I started purchasing very low-powered hardware, especially ARM single board computers). I wouldn’t recommend looking into that yet, as the documentation is not really “out there” yet (as in, how-to tutorials and quick rundowns).

Proxmox supports LXC out of the box. Combined with Portainer, you can pack quite a lot of services into Proxmox without having to create VMs, which generally have a bigger resource penalty for emulating all the hardware. LXC (linux containers) and OCI containers (i.e. docker, podman, kubernetes etc.) are similar, but LXC should be more treated like a “VM-lite,” while OCI containers (what portainer runs) should be treated like services.

They are similar technology, but LXC is more like traditional VMs, where you manage them just like any other linux distro, while docker is like managing an orchestration stack to launch services like a web server. But both of them have a limitation and that is not having a kernel, being restricted by some host OS sandboxing and many times being unable to combine it with technologies outside of the container (like NFS) without a lot of headaches. Which is why I suggested you first run them straight on proxmox, rather than trying to deploy Docker or k3s inside LXC (which is doable). Similarly, the sandbox prevents access to physical hardware, which plex would need to do faster transcoding of media (it can be done inside either LXC or docker, but again, a lot more headaches involved).

I think that’s about it.

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Thanx very much! You gave me at least 1 way forward in my journey forward on this project.
Hopefully I will easily install plex on my hardware and configure the server on proxmox; then, I can experiment with the rest over time.

I’ve configured my little pc with max memory & SSD storage- 64 Gb RAM and two 2Tb SSDs (1 NVMe & 1 SATA)
I managed to install Proxmox AND configure a RAID-1 using ZFS with the SSDs (with Jay’s help!!) & configured my first VM- Ubuntu Server.
All is working well so far, I want to take my time learning the CLI a bit more before installing/configuring Plex. I also changed my external HDD storage config; using a Yotttamaster Professional external HDD enclosure, I’m starting my NAS with 3 10Tb WD Red disks. I used 1 of them to store my media in Windows. I must transfer my media to the LVM I’ll create later.
To that end, [I THINK I know the answer to this question, but I’m looking for confirmation below], you CAN copy/move Windows-generated media files to a Linux formatted (ZFS) volume using Proxmox, correct??
As always TIA!!

Yes. Assuming you mean directly on the zfs pool on your proxmox system, then just mount the external drive and copy it over from one place to another. If you mean, copy it inside a VM, it’s still possible, you instead use scp or rsync on proxmox to copy the data from the drive to the VM.

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I hope this question belongs on this post! If not, please advise me & I’ll generate a new one.

I’ve been having trouble creating a Plex server; specifically I’ve been unable to have the Plex server web interface see my media after directly copying my movie collection directly from a ntfs drive to my ex4 drives in proxmox. I have tried to remove my containers & VMs (to re-generate both properly), but I cannot due to me experimenting with different setups; I renamed my external HDDs to slightly different names- Proxmox has informed me she doesn’t like that AT ALL. LOL!!

So I am currently re-installing Proxmox. This time, I will create and STAY with a disc naming convention! However, I am considering adding TrueNas in a VM to manage my 3 external HDDs & form a raid pool for my Plex media (exactly like Jay did)

My question is, can I have a Plex server (in a LXC) running with TrueNas (in a VM) at the same time with my setup detailed above?

Is plex in a container? I believe the media might not be world wide readable. Try chmod -R o+rx /path/to/media/folder. If it is a container, the user inside it will have an ID above 10k, but the owner would likely be either root (id 0) or your user (typically id 1000).

You can have trunas vm in proxmox and passthrough the disks straight to truenas, but that’s inefficient. Up to you though. Proxmox will use one disk and truenas can use the other 3.

Problem however is, if you go truenas, how you’re going to mount the nfs in the container? The container itself doesn’t support mounting nfs inside it. Maybe proxmox can mount truenas library as nfs, then do a bind mount inside the container, idk.

Speaking of which, did the container have access to your media folders? Because the container will see something completely different than the root fs of proxmox does.

Just out of curiosity, why are you using raid 5? It seems to me like you are introducing a level of complexity that you don’t need for the apps you are running and given that you are a self proclaimed noobie. Raid (any level of raid-0,1,5, 10, etc.) really isn’t a substitute for a backup and doesn’t keep your data safe the way a good backup strategy will. You can still use ZFS, or BTRFS on a single drive setup (or a bunch of drives strung together as a JBOD) and still have snapshots, data scrubbing, etc.

Ironically, I followed your EXACT advice before reading it!! LOL!
Maybe it was a combo of me just wanting to move forward & the King Kong sized headache I was giving myself-
But your configuration seems to be the only one I can wrap my head around.

I’ll pick up on my curiosity with how RAID works another time (or not at all); I just want a Plex Server that I can maintain.

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I run raid in a couple of places, mostly because in these places it is dead easy to do: I run it on my synology NAS, my Proxmox host, and an experimental installation of OpenMediaVault running in a VM on Proxmox. But truth be told, I really don’t NEED raid, because nothing a I run needs 100% uptime. None of it is that critical and everything is backed up daily both onsite and off site. In my Synology I am using a raid 1 with the usual Synology stuff (its BTRFS on top of dmraid and LVM I believe). On Proxmox I also run a couple of ZFS mirrors: my OS drives are mirrored and my VM drives are mirrored. In OMV I am playing around with a raid 5 mdadm raid array with BTRFS on top of it, kind of similar to how Synology does it. But there is no critical data on that installation and I am really just playing around and experimenting. Other folks may have different needs but for me in a homelab setting, there is nothing that really requires raid.