Other NAS/OS options that support BTRFS/ZFS for bit rot protection

Hi all.

I’m looking at finally getting a proper storage solution for home/my photography business (and run Photostructure on it), so looking into what options I have and what would suit my situation the best. I’ve read what Matthew has said about bit rot and options to run a file system that helps with bit rot, so I want to go down that path if I’m starting from scratch. PhotoStructure | How do I safely store my files?

In the build your own options, he mention TrueNAS, unRAID and snapRaid. Any thoughts on Rockstor (runs BTRFS) and running OpenMediaVault with BTRFS? Rockstor doesn’t seem as popular as the others and BTRFS on OpenMediaVault doesn’t seem to have everything available for BTRFS from the GUI (but you can use the command line). I could also go a Linux with BTRFS, but I mainly want this for storage, so I’d prefer a straight GUI. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti command line, I used to run a team that looked after the enterprise backup systems for a bank on AIX and Linux, but I don’t want to run something like that for home.

At the moment I’m leaning towards Unraid, but I haven’t installed the trial and played around with it yet.

Any suggestions, or things to stay away from?


I unfortunately have no experience running Rockstor or OMV, although I’ve heard good things about OMV.

A surprising number of PhotoStructure beta users are on Unraid: it’s a pretty popular solution in general, and can run btrfs as well. I haven’t figured out how to set up btrfs snapshots or data scrubs on my unraid box, though (I’m still an unraid n00b, sadly).

The only thing I’d stay away from, personally, is

  1. hardware RAID (it’s a PITA to try to recover from hardware failures)
  2. confusing RAID-1, RAID-5, or a parity drive as a backup (it’s not)
  3. proprietary hardware (I have a Synology, and it sure is plug-and-play convenient, but building your own is cheaper and easier to repair if/when components die)
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Thanks for the reply. I’m still thinking Unraid still at the moment, but am open to options, so I’m just looking around.

Yes, not looking for hardware RAID.
Exactly, RAID is not a backup. Once at one of my previous jobs, we had large RAID6 SAN arrays, which were replicated to our DR site every 15 mins. Once someone deleted a whole lot of data off one of the servers and of course, that replicated. They had to come back to us to restore it off backup tape, a proper backup system :slightly_smiling_face:

Every now and then I look at the Synologys, QNAPs etc and go, ahh, simple. Then by the time you spec them out to something that’s decent, with a decent number of drive bays, it’s so expensive for what you get and I go back to building my own again. I’ve always preferred the build your own desktop/server way. My current “server” box is a frankenstein of parts from over the years. I only update a part if they fail. It will probably be ok running Unraid short term, but I really would like something better than a 10 year old dual core Pentium with 4GB RAM.

Keep up the good work with Photostructure.


(if you’re looking for hardware recommendations: holy moly, AMD CPUs are wonderful. My 3900x is :+1: :+1:. Fractal makes some beautiful cases. The Define 7 XL supports 17 HDDs…)

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An AMD CPU is definitely on the list for CPUs. One option later this year is instead of building a lowish spec NAS, is to build a 12/16 core AMD CPU NAS and use it to run a high specced Windows VM to run my photography apps with, if it runs VMs with graphic card passthrough well. Just need a second mortgage on my house to buy a decent graphics card :slight_smile:

I built my daughter a cheap pc that could play web games, fortnite etc and it’s amazing what a 4 core AMD Ryzen 3 3200G with inbuilt graphics can actually do.

I saw you mention Fractal Define cases in your storage article and I’ve been having a bit of a drool over them. Definitely on the short list

FYI. I have been running ZFS for years and assumed I was protected. I found out today that ZFS does not do scrubbing by default.

I just ran zpool scrub <pool_name> to kick off a scrub (bit rot detection). I guess we’ll see how it is in 8 hours.

I’ll look at running it from cron weekly as per @mrm suggestions.

You should also consider used enterprise-grade hardware. Check out serverbuilds.net for a GREAT community around building budget home servers from used enterprise hardware. They’re big into Unraid over there as well, so if you have questions on that front they will be happy to help!