Author Topic: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID  (Read 55061 times)

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2012, 12:17:25 pm »
this is a very intriguing sentence....  ::)

It means that I will only worry myself with paying customers and ensure that their issues are quickly resolved.
The product has been on a best effort basis with my technical quest being put first. As of now, bugs are fixed and features are added based on whatever I feel like. With people paying, that will be a bit different.
Clear? :)


Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2012, 12:41:55 pm »
Forgive me for this long post, that may also appear to be arrogance in my part, but in my opinion many good programs that start life as free fail in the long term because they do not choose a model that works, and many times the errors are blatant... perhaps the following considerations are useful to you:

First, be clear about you REAL objective:

You want that everyone that is willing to pay for your product actually pays for it (these are the paying customers, PC)

Many people wastes too much effort in something that is NOT your goal:

Your goal IS NOT to prevent people that is not willing to pay for your software to actually using it

...

Indeed.
I am very much less concerned with pirates and whatnot.
I am certainly not going to make FlexRAID harder to use just because of them. Paying customers and their experience is the priority.
I even was planning to not have a registration key in the product, but after doing some research I found out that it would be bad.
The licensing approach I will take will be a sensible one.


Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 01:58:06 pm »
1) I can't understand how could have taken years to detect that you must use UUID and not hardware paths. I have installed linux in like 20 computers, and detected the problem of changing hardware addresses in at least 2 of them (and many others may behave the same, but since they had just one drive, the problem did not presents itself). I've been using UUID for a few years now; I used some ad-hoc homemade solutions in the past. That is not something that happens rarely to weird hardware, but a fairly common thing.
...

1. Who said it took years? Cruise Control has been out for just a few months and the bug was quickly resolved based on some helpful tips.
FlexRAID 2.0 is only about a year old. The new storage pool implementation is also a few months old.
2. Who said I know everything about Linux? I know a lot, but I don't know everything. There are things that are trivial to you and not to me and vice versa. ;)
3. A bug is not always something mysterious. At times, it can be as simple as an oversight over something very trivial. So, let's not debate over the merits of having a bug or not.

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2) People are reporting instabilities when copying large files or make some medium to heavy use of storage pools, that happened at least until the beta 4 or so

Solution: set the thread count to 1 (as posted in numerous posts)

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3) There were also reports of problems with files named with special characters (special in english, but absolutely common in other languages).

Those problems I think they are pretty basic, but that have been discovered very recently. They may be many others lurking there! I'm afraid that the harware and user base where flecraid has been tested is too reduced!
Basic to you (and maybe I should hire you to show me how it is done :) ).
Back again to something I stated before, only a handful of users are affected and that has to do with their specific systems which I have no control over. The only thing I can do is build workarounds in the product, but that takes time.

Workarounds for that particular issue have been posted for the affected Linux users.

I have tested FlexRAID with non-English characters on properly configured systems on both Windows and Linux, and it works flawlessly.
Making FlexRAID cope with different environments is going to take time as I identify those unique scenarios and address them in the software.

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Of course, that is a matter of opinion :-D I'm not trying to bargain here, but I think the pricing is more or less on par with other solutions like unraid (at least the sale version, $69.95 compared to $69 for UR "plus"). And of course there are other options for free like ZFS or common RAID that they are not really comparable, and there is also the option of not using RAID at all, but simply copy the files to another place :D in pre-flood prices, $100 is like 2.5TB.

1500 users @20 is better than 200 users @100. And these things are not linear, if it reaches certain popularity levels, the numbers explode.
If $100 is going to determine whether your protect your data or not, or whether you decide to learn how to maintain a ZFS system or not, then you are not my target audience. :)

The RAM that a ZFS system needs alone can pay for FlexRAID several times over. However, that's a moot point as my target audience would have already evaluated FlexRAID vs ZFS vs XYZ without any price basis and figured out what's best for their particular scenario.
Again, FlexRAID is priced relative to storage prices and less than the cost a hard drive even at full price.

Quote
Of course, I think the product is great, although there are certain edges that need to be tamed.

Of course again, please, do not interpret my words as empty criticism, I'm trying to be constructive here and you as creator have the last word and I deeply respect that, whatever it is.
Criticisms are fine as they put view points in the open.
It is better to have them in the open so that they can be addressed than have them be unspoken and felt but unaddressed.
:)


Offline adoucette

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2012, 05:26:52 pm »
I'm glad you're going to be charging for this -- you deserve it. And it needs to be protected IP.
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Offline R27

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2012, 05:39:57 pm »
Now when FR goes commercial, what makes it better than other solutions on the market, F.E UnRaid ? Brahim, could you please point us some unique features of FR ?

Offline adoucette

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2012, 05:51:40 pm »
For me, and just for me, the reason I went with FlexRaid instead of Unraid is
  • run FR over any operating system - unraid is its own OS - and this is important because I didn't want the stripped down and out of date OS unraid runs on
  • data can be recovered after loss of drive, drives, controller card, motherboard, OS, etc
  • power savings features
And now, with Brahim's suggested pricing structure, FR will still be cheaper than UR

The same goes for FreeNAS. Don't want to be limited by the OS. And FreeNAS only offers ZFS (after a long wait for them to implement this), which doesn't have the same power savings or data portability features.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 05:55:32 pm by adoucette »
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Offline R27

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2012, 06:11:42 pm »
For me, and just for me, the reason I went with FlexRaid instead of Unraid is
  • run FR over any operating system - unraid is its own OS - and this is important because I didn't want the stripped down and out of date OS unraid runs on
  • data can be recovered after loss of drive, drives, controller card, motherboard, OS, etc
  • power savings features
And now, with Brahim's suggested pricing structure, FR will still be cheaper than UR

The same goes for FreeNAS. Don't want to be limited by the OS. And FreeNAS only offers ZFS (after a long wait for them to implement this), which doesn't have the same power savings or data portability features.
1. Benefits of own OS - Stability. Runs from USB. Install and forget. No updates necessary. Lots of addons.
2. Can be done with UnRAID
3. Can be done with UnRAID
4. Anything else ?

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2012, 07:43:28 pm »
Now when FR goes commercial, what makes it better than other solutions on the market, F.E UnRaid ? Brahim, could you please point us some unique features of FR ?

RAID-F (RAID over filesystem) and all the inherent benefits that go along with it:
- Supports any and multiple filesystems and the benefits each might have (i.e, ReFS with dedup, NTFS with NTFS security, compression, etc.)
- RAID and protect adhoc data (ultimate flexibility in defining what your unit of risk is)
- Ability to restore to any free space (can be important if a replacement drive will take a while to arrive or be bought)
- Runs on any modern Windows or Linux system (build your own NAS on the system you are comfortable with and with other tools for your purpose)
- RAID∞ (no other solution has that in the entire world)
- Best hardware support and compatibility
- No need for a dedicated box (but you can build a dedicate one if you wish)
- Energy savings
- Speed (much faster than unRAID in both reads and writes)

Now, here is the one of the biggest reasons.
Systems like unRAID and others force you to:
1. build large RAID arrays (and pay for that storage upfront)
2. replace all your drives at once when upgrading to bigger drives (at least not without wasting drives or part of those drives)

Sitting on free space is costly. That extra space in your storage you view as future proofing is money that is draining through depreciation.
That free space you are paying for upfront will be worth less at the time you actually fill it up.
FlexRAID helps you make better usage of your drives and storage space. With FlexRAID, you don't need to have that extra storage space as you can add drives only when you really need to do so.
Got a larger drive than necessary? Use part of it in the RAID and the other part for other purpose.

:)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 05:14:15 am by Brahim »

Offline R27

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2012, 08:55:19 pm »
fair enough ... :) Now I have what to say to those whom I recommended FR ;)

Offline abs0lut.zer0

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2012, 02:20:23 am »
For me, and just for me, the reason I went with FlexRaid instead of Unraid is
  • run FR over any operating system - unraid is its own OS - and this is important because I didn't want the stripped down and out of date OS unraid runs on
  • data can be recovered after loss of drive, drives, controller card, motherboard, OS, etc
  • power savings features
And now, with Brahim's suggested pricing structure, FR will still be cheaper than UR

The same goes for FreeNAS. Don't want to be limited by the OS. And FreeNAS only offers ZFS (after a long wait for them to implement this), which doesn't have the same power savings or data portability features.


at the risk of this being in the wrong thread, the feature that made me choose unraid over flexraid was the ability to access the data fully while recovering (rebuilding) from a lost disk...
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 02:24:36 am by abs0lut.zer0 »

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2012, 05:11:31 am »

at the risk of this being in the wrong thread, the feature that made me choose unraid over flexraid was the ability to access the data fully while recovering (rebuilding) from a lost disk...

There are tradeoffs as always.

unRAID and cheap hardware RAID when degraded are just too darn slow in my view such as keeping a spare drive for quick recovery with FlexRAID might be worthwhile.
Days at a crawl vs a few hours recovering.

Once RT RAID is stable, I will add that feature to it too though it might be slow too.

NZFS will let you access 100% of your data even when degraded (even after losing a drive) while still giving you decent speed.

Offline nostradamus99

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2012, 05:43:31 am »
I've been using only the snapshot-raid functionality of FlexRaid [my storage server is not on 24x7 and no need for pooling functionality yet], what license would one need to purchase for just this feature..?

Might also be good to explain to the potential customers what the difference between the FlexRaid and NZFS product is..[if already stated someplace than disregard the last part :) ]
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 05:49:17 am by nostradamus99 »
MediaTank: Intel E6300 Core2Duo, 6 GB RAM with Windows 2008 R2, FlexRaid t2+ engine, RAID-F 2.0 u12 with 4 DRU's and 2x2TB PPU's so far

Offline Brahim

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2012, 07:26:10 am »
I've been using only the snapshot-raid functionality of FlexRaid [my storage server is not on 24x7 and no need for pooling functionality yet], what license would one need to purchase for just this feature..?

Might also be good to explain to the potential customers what the difference between the FlexRaid and NZFS product is..[if already stated someplace than disregard the last part :) ]

1. You will need the RAID-F RAID license.
2. http://www.openegg.org/2012/02/22/flexraid-vs-nzfs/

The complete feature set of NZFS is still top secret. So, no comparison can be done yet on RAID-F vs NZFS.

Offline pko

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2012, 07:59:32 am »
I personally think that $100 is way too overpriced. Not because FR is not worth it on the long run or because it isn't a damn fine piece of engineering, but thinking in the perceived value for a newbie. Think in someone that has a huge movie collection for his HTPC, has some hardware and drives lying around and is thinking on building something better. I think that represents maybe 90% or more of the potential users of this softwatre. Google lands him here (and in other pages), he has a superficial knowledge only, this may be his reactions (I am just being the devil advocate here):

- Supports any and multiple filesystems and the benefits each might have (i.e, ReFS with dedup, NTFS with NTFS security, compression, etc.)
- RAID and protect adhoc data (ultimate flexibility in defining what your unit of risk is)

Well, I will build whatever is needed. It would be nice to have some freedom of choice, but 100 bucks for that?

- Ability to restore to any free space (can be important if a replacement drive will take a while to arrive or be bought)

what? I need to "restore"? my data will not be readily available in the event of single failure? and what system forces me to "restore" (copy) to a specific place? none of those I am considering!

- Runs on any modern Windows or Linux system (build your own NAS on the system you are comfortable with and with other tools for your purpose)
- Best hardware support and compatibility

Well, that is better that thar strange unraid USB thingie google showed in the first place. But compared to common RAID it offers nothing, and RAID is supported natively, is free, has 100s of pages explaining it, everybody serious seems to use it... that recuperation window hole may not be as bad as they said.

- RAID? (no other solution has that in the entire world)

this Brahim guy seem to be really proud of that. But I will use whatever space I need plus one, maybe two, drives! that is exatly the same in all and every one of the possibilities I am considering! So this maybe is a engineering marvel but a purely academic advantage at the same time.

- No need for a dedicated box (but you can build a dedicate one if you wish)

Well, it COSTS almost the same than a dedicated box!

- Energy savings

So, pay now $100. Then, maybe, over time, have some energy savings. Or not.

- Speed (much faster than unRAID in both reads and writes)

But much slower than RAID, that is (some people say) faster than individual disks. And I want just for movies, so if it takes less than the length of the movie to transmit it, is enough.

1. build large RAID arrays (and pay for that storage upfront)

Well, that is what I will do in any case.

2. replace all your drives at once when upgrading to bigger drives (at least not without wasting drives or part of those drives)

Well, upgrading is the future, may or may not come. And the $100 are the present.

Sitting on free space is costly. That extra space in your storage you view as future proofing is money that is draining through depreciation.
That free space you are paying for upfront will be worth less at the time you actually fill it up.

strange advice from someone that wants me to pay now for more than those free space costs. And then, in the future, I will need to pay again (at supposedly better prices) for that space.



And also, there is the problem of that single point of failure. I am thinking of this Brahim guy. Anything can happen to him. Maybe tomorrow he crosses the street and Megan Fox sees him (make that Johnny Depp if he is so inclined), she falls in a major crush and have Brahim "occupied" 24/7 for months on end! what will happen then to my huge $100 investment?

Offline liq456

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Re: Coming at a crossroads - The future of FlexRAID
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2012, 08:23:29 am »
With with Windows 8 with Storage Spaces fast approaching, what are the befits of Flexraid over Storage Spaces? It seems Storage Spaces can do everything Flexraid can and its integrated into Windows. Now that I have to buy Flexriad I need you to sell it to me too.  ;D

I would also like to say thanks for this great piece of software and all the hard that was put into it.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 08:28:46 am by liq456 »