During a conversation with another labber about NAS options, the subject of OpenMediaVault (OMV) came up, during which I decided I wanted to see what was going on with my old NAS distro. Turned out, OMV5 had been released, so I grabbed a copy of the ISO and tossed an install on a VM to mess with.

Of course, OMV is fine and works well enough out of the box, but the lack of official plugins means the first thing most OMV admins want to do is install the OMV-Extras plugin. This enables a bunch of 3rd party repos and plugins as well as some control over kernel options and similar. So I did that. And then I opened the plugin tab for OMV-Extras. Shortly thereafter I started prepping to move back to OMV.

See, I moved off OMV for a number of reasons (that I went into on my first blog post, but I'll summarize here). One, I wanted native kernel driver support for ZFS. Two, I wanted more recent/modern applications/software than Debian tended to have. Three, I wanted something significantly beefier/more robust than Virtualbox for VM usage and wanted a GUI to avoid learning virsh or similar CLI tools. There's a couple of other things, but that's the big ones.

What I found when I reinstalled OMV on a VM was that OMV-Extras for OMV5 now includes 1-click deploys for Docker, Portainer (which replaces the openmediavault-docker plugin), and Cockpit. It also includes (and has for a long time) a Proxmox kernel install option. What all of that gives me is:

  • an Ubuntu-based kernel with ZFS pre-compiled
  • access to the Proxmox repositories for more recent software (like ZFS)
  • Portainer (which I was using anyhow) to manage my Docker containers
  • Cockpit for access to Cockpit-ZFS-Manager and (lightweight) KVM management

Now, sure, I had all this on Ubuntu 20.04 - just had to install it all, which was not hard by any means. In fact, I already had it all set up. So why the heck would I go back to OMV? Here's why:

  • OMV has a much saner, easier to use interface for configuring file shares - SMB and NFS both. Simply designate a filesystem as shared, then go to the appropriate tab, click on Add, follow the prompts.
  • OMV does notifications fairly painlessly. In fact, most of the pain is the notifications that it DOES send - for instance, it will send a notification every time you login to the web interface from a new browser/without a cookie set, and it sends two notifications a day for APT updates waiting - but it's as simple as ticking which ones you want to do.
  • Overall it's better for basic systems administration via GUI than just about anything else. Cron jobs, configuring system time, network interfaces, certificates, users, etc. are all easy to configure, and it's easy to get status on drives, memory, CPU utilization, etc. Yes, Cockpit does some of that as well, but configuring in the same interface as monitoring is sometimes nice.

For the rest of it, the only thing I'm not doing at this point is KVM/virtualization. Most of what I was virtualizing was either utilities for managing the hypervisor (ESXi originally, so a VM for PowerChute, vCenter Server, and the like), as well as game servers, and a PBX for my desk phone setup. I ended up being able to just deploy the game servers as Docker containers (they were for Minecraft and 7 Days to Die) so that solved that portion; the hypervisor management piece was obviously pointless, and the PBX I simply rebuilt on a spare Raspberry Pi I had kicking around.

At this point, my entire setup consists of my one NAS (X470D4U, Ryzen 5 1600AF, 64GB RAM), and an install of XCP-ng on my old NAS's board (X10SL7-F, E3-1271 v3, 32GB ECC RAM) with 8x240GB SSDs in a ZFS mirrorset - because XCP-ng will support using ZFS datasets as a store. I've got nothing running on it currently, but it's there. The rest of my hardware is basically sitting in limbo, powered down. At least I've got a bunch more runtime on the UPSes now, and my performance is nearly as good as, if not better than, it was with multiple systems operating before.