OK, so my previous setup was OpenMediaVault with 4x8TB, a 4TB, and a 3TB. The 8TBs were in a mergefs union, making one pool. Everything is backed-up both on-site and off (3-2-1), so I didn’t really care much about redundancy or losing some data. I was, however, running out of space…so this was going to be the year that I finally splurged and upgraded the storage. Luckily, BestBuy had their 16TB EasyStores on sale for $280…so it was time to buy.
Ordered 6x16TB drives and, because I was annoyed with some things in OMV, began to plan through setting up a TrueNAS instance (all virtualized, just as OMV was). There were a few roadblocks:
1. Not enough plugins in my main server – It has 2 SAS ports on the LSI split out to 8 SATA, 6 of which were currently in use. That would give me, at most, 2 extra slots to use temporarily that I couldn’t really figure out how to utilize.
2. This is all in an ESXI/vCenter, so it would involve taking all of my (32) VMs down to do the swap. I was fine with that, but didn’t want to have to do it more than once, even if I could do it fairly quickly. These VMs are used for a wide variety of things, but many of them are used by friends and family for different purposes, so the less downtime the better.
3. The biggest use of my data is Plex, which also means it would be down for friends and could potentially wipe my libraries if I didn’t do it just right.
I tried to come up with a way I could pre-populate the data on the drives in a TrueNAS instance and then swap the drives over and just use the existing pool, but couldn’t figure out a way to actually get all 6 drives plugged into an instance of it with any kind of usefulness. My main server, where all of this runs, only has USB 2.0 ports…and copying ~31TB of stuff over USB 2.0 sounds like a horrific nightmare (quick math would say over 190 hours at max USB speed).
I set up TrueNAS first, then flipped all the DNS info so it would actively replace the existing OMV instance (so I didn’t have to reconfigure any of the dozen VMs that used the shares). I set up all of the auto-start vCenter stuff. I got the TrueNAS instance up-and-running with all of my security, so all I had to do was create the pool, create the datasets, and create the shares. I did the swap, and got it all started…and then nothing could read my OMV disks.
Turns out that even though the filesystems are just ext4, the way OMV uses mergefs demands that all drives in the pool work together in tandem. This means I couldn’t just spawn up a Ubuntu VM on a computer in the house and read them…I had to actually create an OpenMediaVault VM and attach all of the drives to that. I have a temporary OMV VM running on my main computer and all 4 of the 8TB drives in an external enclosure…and I’m copying files to the TrueNAS share.
It gave me headaches trying to figure out how to actually get the data off…but now that I’m 1/4 of the way through copying the data I’m really happy with how it came out. OMV is a great product, but it’s half-baked for what it’s trying to do and the owner seems disinterested in doing some of the things that would make it ready for primetime (notably there’s no real backup/restore for the system at all that can function well). Either way, totally happy with where TrueNAS Core is now and can’t wait to have this finished so I can turn on the few remaining services that are still disabled!