Three Tries Migrating Plex

6 minute read

Description:

So I borked my Plex install on Centos 7 with Virtualbox because I kept shutting down my computer without stopping the VM for various things. No big deal, I back it up often - but I wanted to see if I could have it run with Docker instead! So I wiped my PC and setup Docker with WSL2. I noticed weird performance issues so instead created it once again in a Centos 8 VM this time with Hyper-V. Lastly, I decided to move it locally on the machine instead of with Docker because I still need to be able to import playlists and I couldn’t figure out how to do it with Docker mounts. All things considered, I will continue to test Docker but wanted to just get Plex back up and running like it was before!

To Resolve:

  1. So first using Windows Host machine with WSL2:

    • I went to Plex’s official Docker repo and read what I needed:
    • Get the correct timezone string - America/Chicago
    • Get a claim token
    • Ensure my user has rights to read/write to certain directories on a different drive letter in Windows (see below)
    • So after getting the information I needed, I opened up VSCode and ensured that the Remote Development extension was working with WSL2 by typing wsl followed by code . which will launch vscode from the remote environment. While in the remote-wsl, I also ran docker --help and ensured that it could run docker commands. Lastly, I simply ran two commands to pull down the docker container and set it up as I wanted:
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    # make sure my user is in correct group
    sudo usermod -aG docker gerry
    docker run \
    -d \
    --name plex \
    -p 32400:32400/tcp \
    -p 3005:3005/tcp \
    -p 8324:8324/tcp \
    -p 32469:32469/tcp \
    -p 1900:1900/udp \
    -p 32410:32410/udp \
    -p 32412:32412/udp \
    -p 32413:32413/udp \
    -p 32414:32414/udp \
    -e TZ="America/Chicago" \
    -e PLEX_CLAIM="claim-mYxClaim" \
    -e ADVERTISE_IP="http://192.168.33.30:32400/" \
    -h "plex" \
    -v /mnt/s/plex/db:/config \
    -v /mnt/s/plex/transcode:/transcode \
    -v /mnt/s/:/data \
    plexinc/pms-docker
    
  2. So before this, I had folders under my s:\ in Windows that I shared to my Centos 7 VM that would mount them on boot and use those to read into the Plex library. Now I get to point it locally!. But I had a problem… all my directory permissions were read/execute only even though I had computername\Adminstrators as full control to the root of the S:\ with inheritance enabled.

    • So I was able to create folders if I launched powershell as administrator, then typed wsl and then cd /mnt/s/somefolder and mkdir whatever.
    • But I didn’t want to launch PS as admin every time….
    • Found the fix was just to add my user explicitly to root of S:\ NTFS Security and then run wsl again and it would pick up that my user had permissions!
  3. So after I got permissions sorted and the container running, I went to localhost:32400 in my browser and Plex was running! I signed in and removed my old server and pointed to this server. Now, I just need to run wsl -e docker start plex in my startup script to start my container instead of launching vbox.

    • Some docker commands:
    • Start the container: docker start plex
    • Stop the container: docker stop plex
    • Shell access to the container while it is running: docker exec -it plex /bin/bash
    • See the logs given by the startup script in real time: docker logs -f plex
    • Restart the application and upgrade to the latest version: docker restart plex
  4. But after using it for a day or two and testing at a friends house, I noticed subpar performance. So I decided to replicate everything again in a Centos 8 VM in Hyper-v:

    • First, install the role and create a network switch called Shared-LAN that pointed to an external network which is my NIC in my host machine.
    • Setup Centos 8 minimal install
    • Setup docker and docker-compose:
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    dnf config-manager --add-repo=https://download.docker.com/linux/centos/docker-ce.repo
    dnf list docker-ce
    dnf install docker-ce --nobest -y
    systemctl start docker
    systemctl enable docker
    docker --version
    # Docker version 18.06.3-ce, build d7080c1
    docker run hello-world
    
    dnf install curl -y
    curl -L "https://github.com/docker/compose/releases/download/1.25.0/docker-compose-$(uname -s)-$(uname -m)" -o /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
    chmod +x /usr/local/bin/docker-compose
    /usr/local/bin/docker-compose --version
    #docker-compose version 1.25.0, build 0a186604
    
    • On my host Windows machine, created Data and Vids shares to be used by Plex VM.

    • I then mounted CIFS like my old Plex server:

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    # Test smb stuffs
    smbclient -m SMB3 -U user //192.168.30.30/Data
    (enter password)
    # Prompt changes to: smb:> 
    exit
    
    smbclient -m SMB3 -U user //192.168.30.30/Vids
    (enter password)
    # Prompt changes to: smb:> 
    exit
    
    #create creds
    cd ~
    vi .smbcred
    username=msusername
    password=mspassword
    Save the file, exit the editor.
    chmod 600 ~/.smbcred
    
    # setup auto mount
    sudo vi /etc/fstab
    //192.168.30.30/Data /mnt/data cifs vers=3.0,credentials=/home/gerry/.smbcred,rw,uid=1000,gid=976 0 0
    //192.168.30.30/Vids /mnt/vids cifs vers=3.0,credentials=/home/gerry/.smbcred,rw,uid=1000,gid=976 0 0
    
    # mount and test
    mkdir -p /mnt/data
    mkdir -p /mnt/vids
    
    
    cd /mnt/data
    ls
    #empty
    cd /mnt/vids/
    ls
    #empty
    mount -a
    
    
    cd /mnt/data
    ls
    #stuff
    cd /mnt/vids/
    ls
    #stuff
    
    • Now just start my docker container using new mount points:
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    docker run -d --name plexmediaserver --network=host -e TZ="America/Chicago" -e PLEX_CLAIM="my-claim" -h "plex" -v /mnt/s/vids/linux/plexmediaserver/db:/config -v /mnt/s/vids/linux/plexmediaserver/transcode:/transcode -v /mnt/s/vids/linux/plexmediaserver/data:/data plexinc/pms-docker
    
    • Ran into an issue:
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    Attempting to obtain server token from claim token
    % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                            Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
    0     0    0     0    0     0      0      0 --:--:--  0:00:04 --:--:--     0curl: (6) Could not resolve host: plex.tv
    
    • It won’t get to the screen where you claim your server…
    • Fix found here
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    # Masquerading allows for docker ingress and egress (this is the juicy bit)
    firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-masquerade --permanent
    
    # Specifically allow incoming traffic on port 80/443 (nothing new here)
    firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-port=32400/tcp --permanent
    
    
    # Reload firewall to apply permanent rules
    firewall-cmd --reload
    
    #Reboot or restart dockerd, and both ingress and egress should work.
    
    systemctl restart docker
    
    #then run the docker run command again - good now!
    
    # add my user to plex
    sudo usermod -aG docker gerry
    
  5. Set it to run on System Startup:

    • Inside Hyper-V, just set the VM to always run on startup.

    • Inside the Centos 8 VM, create:

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    vi ~/start.sh
    
    #paste in
    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    
    docker run \
    -d \
    --name plex \
    -p 32400:32400/tcp \
    -p 3005:3005/tcp \
    -p 8324:8324/tcp \
    -p 32469:32469/tcp \
    -p 1900:1900/udp \
    -p 32410:32410/udp \
    -p 32412:32412/udp \
    -p 32413:32413/udp \
    -p 32414:32414/udp \
    -e TZ="America/Chicago" \
    -e PLEX_CLAIM="my-claim" \
    -e ADVERTISE_IP="http://192.168.30.50:32400/" \
    -h "plex" \
    -v /plex/db:/config \
    -v /plex/transcode:/transcode \
    -v /mnt/data:/data \
    -v /mnt/vids:/data-vids \
    plexinc/pms-docker:1.19.4.2935-79e214ead
    
    # save and exit
    # Add it to crontab so it will run at system startup
    crontab -e
    # paste in
    @reboot	/home/gerry/start.sh
    
  6. As mentioned, this was working fine and I could have left it at that, but I wanted to be able to import my MediaMonkey playlists and it still doesn’t have an import playlist that’s easy. I went through tons of articles playing around with Postman, but eventually just decided to use a local plex install again:

    • Run:
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    vi /etc/yum.repos.d/plex.repo
    # paste in:
    [PlexRepo]
    name=PlexRepo
    baseurl=https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/rpm/$basearch/
    enabled=1
    gpgkey=https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key
    gpgcheck=1
    # save and exit
    # now install
    sudo yum install plexmediaserver -y
    
    • Now to use my playlist importer which still works surprisingly! I may look at this in the future if Plex doesn’t offer anything.

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