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Considering unraid migration. Unraid sanity check

Hey all. First time post.
Long time YouTube viewer.
Hopefully this is the best place to get some sage advice.

I have a neglected windows 10 socket 2011 workstation I’m planning on selling the core components of and upgrading to an AM4 Ryzen platform (likely Asus PRIME B550-PLUS).
The main purpose of this is to add thunderbolt 3 connectivity (add in card) for use with my audio interface (hobbyist recording studio),
And to add extra CPU grunt for video export (youtube).
It is pretty imperative that the thunderbolt audio drivers remain stable for obvious reasons.

I’m also running a gen 8 hp microserver on freenas (ZFS) for basic archiving and also as a modest plex server.
Ive found it a bit unstable recently but I run it specifically because i like the idea that if my server fails the drives can be imported in to another machine with minimal hastle. Free BSD is a mystery to me so I struggle with freenas. I’m not a console junkie. linux is a little better but not by much.

I’m keen on the idea of ditching the microserver all together and going for a 1 box solution using something like unraid.

The set up would effectively be a windows 10 workstation, with a small headless ZFS file server/plex.
and the option to very occasionally boot a training VM. (Kali/eve-ng). though this could be done within windows if needed.

I’d just like a sanity check on this idea?

  • can thunderbolt 3 be passed through ok? any penalty for doing so?
  • any info on the suitability of this board/chipset or similar?
  • is importing my ZFS pool from freenas streight forward? I gather it requires a plugin.
  • Any tips/gotchas/thoughts/guides you recommend?
  • if i wanted to boot a training environment is it simple to re-assign CPU cores and ram temporarily?
  • Is there anything stopping me running vmware workstation in windows on an unraid machine?
  • Is it possible to dynamically share resource? for example if I had a media encode instance that is dormant 99% of the time, could it dynamically steal resource from the windows machine when it has a job?

As a side issue. My current copy of windows 10 was upgraded from a physical retail copy of win 7 that i still have. How do i handle transferring this licence to a new machine?

Thanks!

Check out proxmox

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I don’t see why not assuming iommu groupings make sense for it.

Unraid is built on slack with a more up to date kernel for better support. I’m using an x470 rack board without issue.

Yes.

I think you’re complicating your workflow for worse stability and I’d say you’re going to run into unexpected issues you didn’t plan for.

You don’t need to reassign, you can overprovision.

Yeah, a few things. Mainly VMware licensing, but if you’ve got that then possibly the operating system. Look up nested virtualization for your software version.

You need to be more specific here. You can share CPU cores and memory space but you can’t share things that have been passed to that VM like a GPU.

Install as normal and use that key, then use phone activation if needed.

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Many thanks for your in depth responses.

I must admit after the previous comment I am liking the look of proxmox over unraid. It has a familiar vsphere feel. I would imagine it will boil down to that thunderbolt passthrough.

It occurs to me that if I direct pass through hard drives to freenas I don’t actually need to worry about the host implementation of ZFS.

I think I will do a bare metal windows install, run some benchmark projects, then experiment with a virtualized config.

I run both unraid and proxmox, theyre both good. They’re ultimately capable of the same stuff, just unraid has some easy buttons.

Alternatively you could roll your own with any Linux distro of your choosing.

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Yeeeeeah I’m really not that advanced and time constraints are a factor. I’m not a regular Linux user. I definitely prefer to keep things as packaged, self contained, and gui driven as possible.

I don’t mind the prospect of digging round for hardware IDs etc with a good guide but I don’t want to be straying in to days of hacking Linux and custom packages if I can help it.

To be honest, you should want to get your feet wet here because you’ll have a much better understanding of how to fix things when they inevitably have issues. I dont think proxmox or unraid are so perfect that you wont have to troubleshoot them anyway.

By rolling your own I mean just using some of the guides already here in the wiki section. No hacking necessary, no custom packages necessary. It will however take time.

I think ultimately this is not a great approach unless you understand more about how it works and what to do when it goes wrong. If thats a lot to ask (which is understandable) then I think you should avoid going this route for the sake of your workflow. I know personally I want my computer to do the thing I want it to do and I dont want to spend a bunch of time making it work. Thats specifically why I havent done what you’re considering. I separate my main machine from my linux server/linux anything because I have no need to mix the 2. It only creates more work for little benefit.

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I hear you… well… I’ll take the opportunity to have a mess around with it as a learning exercise and it it doesn’t work out I can always flatten it and put windows on =)

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