Very disappointed with Amahi 7

SlasherMCT
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Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby SlasherMCT » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:02 am

As a Windows Home Server (1) user I have looked at Amahi from time to time since it appeared and occasionally run up a VM to try it out, especially the Greyhole support which is my main reason for using a home server. i.e. supporting windows shares across a bunch of disparate disks.

Finally I am migrating the household PCs to Windows 8.1 and this does not work with WHS any more so I decide to go for Amahi. I didn't bother to try a VM first since I have tested the storage pooling before on Amahi 6.

Amahi 7 is the recommended latest version so I go for that. My machine is an Atom dual core with 2GB ram and no DVD drive.

Wrote the Amahi 7 installer to a USB stick and tried the install which hung after a while. (I am not sure you officially support USB install - but it would be good if you could. I would be happy if I never have to use optical media again - very unreliable and slow compared to USB these days :D ) So never mind - although not primary support I go for Ubuntu 12.10 and it installs flawlessly and quickly. Then install Amahi over that.

Imagine my surprise when I discover that storage pooling is not supported in the UI any more. How can you say Amahi is ready when you have removed function from Amahi 6? Gasp!

The other problem with Amahi 7 for me is that it wants to take over the networking for my home. That just doesn't make sense for me since my router does a fine job of it, and once the router is up I don't have to rely on another device booting. Again there are all sorts of warnings against switching this support off in Amahi.

At this point I re-install Ubuntu 12.10 and go my own way - and any further comments are nothing to do with Amahi directly. (i.e I don't expect any support or anything - just commenting)

I have set up samba years ago and it is a bit of a pain. Roll greyhole into the mix and it gets worse. There seem to be all sorts of problems with user permissions and groups for Samba and Amahi - and I now have some folders that disappear on the shares and even root access can't see what has happened to them. I surely wish I could have used Amahi to save me some of this pain - perhaps the problems are partially why you don't have support in Amahi 7 yet....

I have set up all of the samba shares with the group sambashare, and any windows users accounts on the server are added to this group. However it isn't clear what should be done for greyhole. Any manipulation of the files on the server is being done through the greyhole shares. Something seems to go wrong with the permissions or ownership of the files copied into the storage pool by greyhole. Another problem I have is with logons for windows 8 which are network based - i.e. someuser@hotmail.com - I don't think that will match someuser on the server.

To try and solve the problems I seem to have about 20 or 30 web pages open at any time. :roll:

I am pleased with running a headless server on the Atom - much better performance with linux and ext4 file systems compared with the sluggish NTFS and WHS GUI. I run on an Atom based PC to keep the wattage and costs down. Once I get it all sorted I should be able to back-up a few configuration files for future use.

(Edited to correct misspelling)

Best wishes to the Amahi team and my sympathies for trying to smooth out greyhole and samba ...

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sgtfoo
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby sgtfoo » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:46 am

Many users of Amahi are quite very happy with its capabilities.
Many users find that you don't necessarily need Greyhole to share drives on a network. Greyhole pools drives. Samba handles shared folder security and does work flawlessly if you take the time to configure it and your system to work for your own needs.

One could find many resources for custom setups for their own needs by either reading the wiki or asking questions in the forums.

It is entirely understandable in the Linux community that major OS changes (such as Fedora 14 to 19) will break things for a little while.

Storage pooling never really had a UI in Amahi. Aside from selecting directories to pool, it needs much configuration before it could work on any install. If it's explicitly mentioned (and it is) in Amahi documentation that greyhole isn't ready yet for Amahi 7, why would you still try to use and rely on it?

Perhaps the Windows 8 upgrade was also part of the problem? Or it could be that you didn't carry over the credentials that Amahi needs for shares, to your Windows Credentials Manager, which would seamlessly allow for Windows to use the shares while you have a email address as the username.

If you need help with using Linux or Windows, please feel free to ask in the forums in case someone else may have solved your particular issue already.
SgtFoo
HDA: VM inside oVirt FX-8300 95w (2 cores for HDA), 32GB RAM (2GB for HDA)
My PC: FX-8300, 16GB RAM, 3x 1TB HDDs, Radeon HD6970 2GB video; Win10 Pro x64
Other: PC, Asus 1215n (LXLE), Debian openZFS server (3x(2x2tb) mirrors)
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bigfoot65
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby bigfoot65 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:06 am

Greyhole works fine in Amahi 7 although it does require manul setup. We have documented the steps in the wiki.

I have been using it for a while with no issues.

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PatrickDickey
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby PatrickDickey » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:14 am

I can't help you with Samba, but I will say this... While they warn that you shouldn't turn off the networking features in Amahi (dnsmasq in Amahi 7), you certainly can. You just have to make sure that somewhere along the lines, your network is configured to point http://hda/ to your Amahi server.

As for greyhole, I can speak from experience that it's not too difficult to configure greyhole. The steps in the wiki are very thorough. If you do run into issues, you can check the forums and most likely find your answers (probably from my own questions on there).

As for Windows 8.x, the whole "someuser@hotmail" thing isn't an issue. When you first connect to Amahi, it will prompt you for a username. You simply enter that username/password, and click the "Remember my credentials" option. It doesn't ask you after that. And you don't have to create a username like someuser@hotmail for Amahi. You could have SlasherMCT@hotmail.com for your Windows 8 login, and have "joe" for your Amahi username, and it will work perfectly (logging in as "joe").

I can tell you that I've got Windows XP, Windows Vista, Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, and Windows 8.1 all connecting to my Amahi 7 server. They all use the same username, but I don't log in with the same username on all computers.

I'm curious as to why you chose to go the Ubuntu 12.10 route instead of keeping the Fedora 19/Amahi 7 route? And could that be part of the reason why you're having issues (as Ubuntu isn't a "supported" platform for Amahi 7)?

One option for you to consider is just making a Fedora 19 installation disc on USB, and installing that. Then following the steps for a 32-bit installation of Amahi (substituting your x64 where necessary) to manually install Amahi, if the actual Amahi Express disc (on USB) isn't working for you. Then install greyhole, and configure it using the steps in the wiki. If you run into problems, post them in the appropriate forum, and someone will help you out.

As for the greyhole UI, I feel your pain (and have complained about it also). It's mainly an issue of the older plugins for greyhole (Amahi 6.x version) not working with the updated code for the UI. They've assured me that they're working on it, and I believe them. Like you, I'd much rather click on a share on my http://hda/setup and add it. But it's not too difficult to add otherwise. The wiki shows you how.

Have a great day.:)
Patrick.

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bigfoot65
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby bigfoot65 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:51 pm

One must remember that Greyhole is an add on to Amahi, not it's primary feature/function. That's one thing we have done with Amahi 7 is to remove it from the platform so it can be integrated as an app and plug-in at some point.

There are users who do not use nor want Greyhole. As it was mentioned, although there is not GUI, the guidance in the wiki should be more than adequate to set it up for most users.

I tried to make it as simple as possible. I hope you will give things another try, but if not I can understand.
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minnalova
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby minnalova » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:07 am

I've been running Amahi 6 successfully for about 2 years in an VMware virtual machine (Ubuntu) on my main "always on"-"all in one" computer/server running Windows 7 together with 2 other Ubuntu based VMs as virtual servers (for OSes running at the same time flawlessly). I depend heavily on the storage pooling feature provided by greyhole. Coming from WHS (also run in a VM), the main and ONLY reason i chose Amahi was that storage pooling was "built in". Otherwise I would have chosen something else with storage pooling and if not found, bought an ordinary NAS.

Therefore I'm astonished that you again and again nowadays post things like "Greyhole was never a part of Amahi"/"One must remember that Greyhole is an add on to Amahi, not it's primary feature/function" etc etc. I'm sorry if I upset people here but honestly, without storage pooling as the main feature of Amahi, Amahi is not interested to me at all. I was looking at installing Amahi 7 natively on a new computer but was greatly disappointed when I read in this post that Amahi 7 was released without rock solid support for Greyhole in the GUI and behind! IMHO Amahi 7 should not have been released without this support. I am an advanced user but when it comes to my precious data (family photos etc) I don't want advanced configuration to be needed. Even advanced users like my make errors and it's of great importance that Amahi is simple enough so that your data is secure in the normal case with storage pooling out of the box.

I really hope that storage pooling will become the key feature and "selling point" of Amahi. That was how I perceived it when I (and many with me) looked for an alternative to Windows Home Server. Storage polling makes Amahi relevant. Without it, I would say a NAS is a much better alternative. I also hope that you start supporting Ubuntu only to make things easier for you.

Thanks for your greatly appreciated efforts though! I just have the opinion that storage pooling (greyhole) should be the killer feature of Amahi!

Best regards

jbmia
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby jbmia » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:17 pm

I haven't been paying too much attention lately and just ran across this... I've got to concur with minnalova above.. Many of us came from WHS, myself included, came over specifically because of Greyhole. I'm a premium/paying member and have been for several years. My primary value in Amahai/Greyhole is (was) the packaged server solution with the great support team here... I haven't found much value in the apps that have been made available so far and am really curious about this new position being taken by the team.. How much you guys wanna bet Greyhole becomes an app that's "charged" for when (if) it ever comes out...or sits in Alpha forever... I guess for now I'll be sticking to 6.3 and considering my options moving forward... Dissappointed.

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bigfoot65
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby bigfoot65 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:36 pm

I am sorry you don't feel the apps we have released for Amahi 7 are not of much value. Could you please elaborate on what you are looking for specifically? Many of the apps that are LIVE in Fedora 14 and Ubuntu are in Amahi 7 as well.

We are working on the Greyhole UI. While I can understand how many rely on a GUI, the wiki guidance is more than adequate to get it set up with no issues. I did mine in 10 minutes. Guess once a person is used to point and click, command line is not desirable. :)

Not sure what your comment about a new position by the team means. We are still trying to provide a viable and simple home server for the community. While there are some growing pains currently with some features that many are accustomed to in Amahi, they are not forgotten. We are working on them and doing our best to move forward. We have bugs for many of them and working each as time permits.

Most don't realize the time and effort it takes to pull this all off. Our team consists primarily of 1 developer and 1 app packager/maintainer for updates. The other members help with support and other areas as needed. With the exception of the founder (developer), we all do this in our spare time. There are also other tasks behind the scenes to keep the web site, wiki, and forums up and running. So that's why it takes time to get things done. Obviously longer than we would like, but we do the best we can given the limited resources.

Please understand it's not that we don't care about these key features and our users, it's that we have a lot to do. Considering that most of Amahi is at no cost to the user, I would hope that the community would be more appreciative.

Like I always used to tell my students, if you are not happy with the way things are, then step up and help make them better. Complaining about it does no one any good.
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jbmia
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby jbmia » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:44 pm

I certainly appreciate the solution, your support, passion, and dedication. Many times in the past I have asked about assisting with app testing if you go back and look at my forum history, but never got a response to my offers.

Honestly, I am not familiar with which options are available in Amahi 7 now vs prior etc. Actually, my point was more that, for me, the strength of Amahi, was that it was a stable, easy to configure, easily expandable all around server (mostly media for me) solution. For example, in 2002, on moving from California back to Florida, we put our 3 boxes of life photos at my mother in laws house instead of the storage unit for safe keeping. Ironically, months later, her house caught fire and those photo's went with it. Since then, I've digitized every piece of film, photo, or video I could recover from anyone, include logically stored every digital image or family movie I've captured since. I rely on Greyhole for local data redundancy and Crashplan as my final back up. This is one of the key functions Amahi and Greyhole play for me...

In terms of app focus.. Initially I looked at Mediatomb and dropped it like a hot potato when I found Plex (I always have the latest version installed, so I self install the deb and don't use the Amahi app).. I just tried Amahi Anywhere, but it doesn't work on my release (bug) and seems like a dup for a VPN anyway. Amahi Sync is limited to the public folder?? I have Google drive and Dropbox anyway, so never use it... These apps seem very "me too", perhaps to attract users that Amahi is a more complete solution, but fall short on their own... Many are behind in releases... Other apps like Joomla and Wordpress, I would never use on a home server, I'd always host those remotely for security purposes... Also, a wiki app on a home server? I guess my point is, perhaps the team is spread too thin. For me, and again I admit, for me, Greyhole has always been an integral part of the solution and it's really the one thing I look at when I log into the HDA web UI. The disk utilization and the ease of config'ing shares and copies is so(was) so easy. I do realize other users have different requirements, but I'm expressing my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I am a friend of the CLI and use it regularly for scripting and troubleshooting, etc, but the ability to create a share, add it to the pool with a checkbox, and add addtional copies all on one page without messing with samba and greyhole conf, etc is (was) a great solution. Again, lots of apps. Many in alpha... Many never making it out of beta. Why not focus on the core (including greyhole)... Users can use the package manager and the repositories to install apps anyway and frankly if you're on Linux you should take the time to learn these things.

I have experience with both Fedora and Ubuntu. I prefer Ubuntu though (not by much). I initially implemented Amahi when it came out on Fedora 12 I believe... (I could be wrong..).. I recall looking at upgrading to 14(16?) and it took forever it seemed and then there appeared to be this shift toward Ubuntu, so earlier last year, I went with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Amahi during a hardware transition.. I now see there's a shift in focus back to Fedora with Amahi 7 support it seems only for Fedora, which is perplexing. Again, with the development staff being thin.... ?? I certainly understand why we would want Amahi on both platforms, but...

Again, I appreciate the user community and especially your daily involvement and commitment. I want to recognize that much of the attention I've personally received has been from you and I appreciate that. I am just expressing my opinion and some frustration about this change. In my opinion, the change is a mistake.

Regarding plans.. I just checked and I'm not currently on the pro plan now it seems, but was for a long time. I want to make clear that I'm not opposed to donations or some type of maintenance plan. I just don't need 4 hda's and sync access to my public folder. Plex has a "lifetime" one time fee option perhaps that should be an offer.

bigmango
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Re: Very disappointed with Amahi 7

Postby bigmango » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:02 pm

I 100% agree with this.

Greyhole (+ the easy samba shares) also was the only reason I came to Amahi (which has been working great, many thanks).

Amahi without greyhole is of no use to me. At least until BTRFS raid5/6 gets proper auto-healing support, once this lands we won't use greyhole anymore (our 15Tb Amahi has been running with greyhole on BTRFS drives set as single mode for more than a year with great success, always with the latest ubuntu mainline kernel of course (3.13 currently) , which is so easy to get going on ubuntu: http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/ + latest btrfs progs from ubuntu launchpad ppa).
I have experience with both Fedora and Ubuntu. I prefer Ubuntu though (not by much). I initially implemented Amahi when it came out on Fedora 12 I believe... (I could be wrong..).. I recall looking at upgrading to 14(16?) and it took forever it seemed and then there appeared to be this shift toward Ubuntu, so earlier last year, I went with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and Amahi during a hardware transition.. I now see there's a shift in focus back to Fedora with Amahi 7 support it seems only for Fedora, which is perplexing. Again, with the development staff being thin.... ?? I certainly understand why we would want Amahi on both platforms, but...

Again, I appreciate the user community and especially your daily involvement and commitment. I want to recognize that much of the attention I've personally received has been from you and I appreciate that. I am just expressing my opinion and some frustration about this change. In my opinion, the change is a mistake.
Yes this is a mistake.

Extremely short lifetime of ~7 months (13 months Fedora lifetime - ~6 months until Amahi arrives) is unacceptable for a server.

Every time after ~7 months we are left hanging out to dry in the sun with:

- no security fixes anymore
- many providers drop RPM availability for their software as soon as Fedora reaches End Of Life, so no updates anymore

Anyway, our ubuntu Amahi has a lifetime until 2017 (haha byebye Fedora!), so there is no need to upgrade (especially since Amahi 7 has less features without greyhole).

Before then we will probably move to http://www.openmediavault.org/ , which has GUIs for greyhole, snapraid, etc... of a quality Amahi can only dream of (greyhole is a plugin, check the openmediavault.org forums plugin section). And the new OMV 6 should be coming out in a couple months (before May) with BTRFS support).

Furthermore, the OMV web ui seems to be having everything the Amahi web ui is missing (configuration for email notifications on errors, SMART, RSYNC, etc... etc...). AND the devs say they will always make a new version available before the current Debian version reaches End Of Life - Debian Lifetime being 3 years).

Live demo here: http://demo.omv-extras.org/

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