"What a refreshingly honest blog about listening to music through hi-fi. So happy to see views based upon the enjoyment of music rather than so-called sound 'quality'." - Peter Comeau, Director of Acoustic Design at Mission / Wharfedale

Sunday 18 November 2012

HDD Down (And Up)

I have a QNAP TS-209 II running 2 x Seagate Baracuda 1.5TB in RAID 1 (mirrored).

One of the drives failed a few weeks back. As they are about 3 years old I thought I would not be able to find a matching drive. However, found a factory refurbished drive on ebay for a reasonable £100.

It is supposed to be possible to hot-swap a drive in the QNAP and for the RAID 1 to fully rebuild itsself. However, due to where my NAS is located I needed to power the NAS down in order to unplug it from the mains and the network before I could lift it out onto a bench to get good access to the front panel to allow drives to be swapped over.

Now I work in IT, and know that there are many factors that mean things don't always go to plan... or to feature set!

So it was with much trepidation that I opened up the NAS, removed the faulty drive and then slotted in the refurbed drive. Even more trepidation when I plugged it all back in and powered up the NAS. Within the usual couple of minutes the drive was visible again on the network, with file explorer much snappier than it had been in the past few weeks and all files present and correct.

All the indicator lights on the front of the NAS were matching with the sequence in the instruction book that says a RAID 1 config is being rebuilt. We wrote no further files, nor did I use the DS or the Squeezeboxes during this process. In fact, it was allowed to run overnight. I don't know when the RAID rebuild finished, or how long it took, but it was completed sometime in the 7 hour overnight window and that's with 800GB of data (single copy of data = 800GB).

All is now well again, and I can breathe once more.

As its inevitable that hard drives will fail, I went for the dual bay NAS approach, but I still had my doubts about what would happen in the event of a failure. On this occasion it was all good news. This has also cemented my faith in the QNAP NAS - I know many think they are a little on the expensive side, but with this experience I think that is inconsequential compared to the hassle I could've gone through due to hard drive failure.

So a good news IT story. Music was saved!


  1. Hi Neil
    Happy new year !
    I have a similar QNAP .. 2 bay job, can't remember which number. Got it just before going down the DS route as well.
    Had a brief episode of bleeps and flashing green/red lights. Panic over when I realised it was full. Will have to look at putting in two x two terra bit drives . Can you recommend your source of supply?

  2. Steve

    Thanks for your comment.

    My QNAP as 2 x 1.5TB Hitachi drives. They were originally supplied by QNAP, already installed in the NAS. As for the replacement, I couldn't get them new, so found a factory refurbished drive on ebay.

  3. Hi Neil
    Just a quick update..
    Many thanks for posting your experience on updating hard drives in the first place. It gave me the confidence to proceed, especially as I tend to leave my QNAP well alone really. It does what it does very well without me tinkering. It's a 219+ by the way.
    Through the winter and spring I'd continued to rip CDs on a dedicated pc laptop, with a terra bit external portable hard drive. I'd loaded Minim on it, so the DS picked that up separately from twonky on thQNAP. A bit of a faf having two sources, but it worked and also has now given me additional back up on this years downloads and rips.

    I then bought two 3 TB WD red drives from scan.co.uk
    Great place to get drives from. Didn't want stuff posted from amazon (reports of handling problems) and also wanted somewhere physical to go back to kn case of problems. So these guys are in Bolton- easy trip, and hugely impressed by the operation there. £115 a drive is a great price as well.
    As you did, bunged one in and away it copied. I did have to go into the qnap system to tell it to expand the memory which took me a while to figure.. But then it recognised nearly 3 TB and I was able to pop the 2nd drive in, and it then copied over.
    Next run was to transfer 600 gig of stuff on my portable drive, which I had to do via Ethernet - but let it run overnight and voila- all my stuff on twonky and on the qnap.
    Phew! Cheers Steve.