NAS Drive's, sensible advice needed.

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Dec 24, 2021, 8:17:54 AM12/24/21
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A few years ago I purchased a NAS drive (Western Digital 4TB My Cloud) I've recently had emails from WD saying that support will be ending next April for it i.e. it can't be updated to the latest firmware. 
I've been toying with the idea of going the 'open media vault*' route and making up my own 'bespoke system' with SSD's and an RPI 4 as the brains, but, not being conversant on all the 'techie' lingo I would probably end up getting something I didn't need or want.

The question is, do I stay with a name brand NAS drive, if so which make is likely to be the least aggravation or do I go with a home brew system.


(*I know that open media vault isn't the only one)

Frank in Woodcote

Dec 24, 2021, 9:42:32 AM12/24/21
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Do you really need the latest firmware? Go home brew...

I just have a big drive (low RPM for reliability) connected to a spare port on my router/hub, with power saving enabled. You know, using one of those cheapo chinese ethernet to HDD modules made of chinesium. Can save/stream/retrieve anything on there and still access it if I'm out. All on VPN. Also useful when I file share for torrent engines, but on a different partition.

Or is it better to have a dedicated NAS drive? I don't know. I've seen some NAS drives with just the most beautiful browser interfaces. Drag and drop etc. 

Alex Gibson

Dec 24, 2021, 10:50:24 AM12/24/21

You might want to check out Jeff Geerling’s youtube videos about NAS using raspberry Pi. 


Word of caution regarding the name brand route:

 I plumped for a 4-bay NetGear ReadyNAS with 2x 2tb drives some years ago, it seemed nice and solid hardware, worked perfectly, all was excellent until I ran out of space and decided to add 2 new HDDs.  For maximum possible compatibility I put in two new drives *identical* to the ones it came with.  Rebooted, it found them fine, and said ‘rebuilding raid array’ for several hours.

I came back to a warning about an error with one of the new drives – of course possible, but being brand new from a reputable distributor, could be a false positive too, not important though.

The problem was that the error offered no possibility to recover my data.  It just declared the whole raid setup a failure wanted to reformat the whole lot!  I was naively shocked it could not handle reverting to its previous perfectly OK configuration.


Unfortunately, and the moral of the story, I had used Netgear’s proprietary X-raid system.  This means that it is not possible to attempt recovery using open source/third party paid or freemium tools which I could if it were using standard raid protocols.  X-Raid meant it would have to be sent away, at high cost, to Netgear (/approved) repairers, with minimal guarantees.  Due to customer confidentiality contracts on some of the data within, I am unable to do that, so I had to take the hit of losing everything, pending finding a third way – it’s been a long while now and I’m yet to find it.  It’s very frustrating as there is a load personal data (family photos etc) and some CAD work of mine I really want to recover.  The customer work related stuff I got past some time ago as everything current was mirrored on my work PC. 


So if you do use branded hardware, look very closely at the recovery options and run a mile from vendor lock-in!  And, even a raid mirror drive is not actually a backup, in this circumstance.


Ideas for recovering Netgear X-raid, anyone?




Alex Gibson


+44 7813 810 765    @alexgibson3d    37 Royal Avenue, Reading RG31 4UR


admg consulting


edumaker limited


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Jeremy Poulter

Dec 24, 2021, 11:55:20 AM12/24/21
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I would second this cautionary tail, had a similar experience with my Drobo worked great for years auto expanding as my data grew swapping discs out with lather ones, exactly as advertised... Until it didn't now stuck with the a dead NAS and leagalised ransom ware.... I mean extended warranty ;-) luckily there is nothing on there that I care about so I am just planning on building a new NAS, probably still going to get an off-the-shelf solution, just one that isn't built on proprietary RAID tech.

That being said always remember no RAID is perfect and you are just as likely to lose an open source based NAS as you are a proprietary one, you just have a greater ability to attempt to fix the issue yourself, and remember 3, 2, 1 backups, 3 copies, 2 different mediums and 1 off-site copy (although personally I think the 2 is less relevant these days) 



Dec 24, 2021, 3:09:06 PM12/24/21
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I found out a long time ago that you can't have too many backups although 3(GFS) works for most people .I try not to take any action that might impact a single dataset. When I upgrade a NAS I've generally found it quicker to restore than to rebuild a raid. You can usually remove a raid set of disks and put in small volume set to test a config and when you think it's working (after GFS backup)  put the large volume set back and apply the new config.

Merry Whatever


Dec 25, 2021, 4:04:50 AM12/25/21
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The advice for importand data is 3-2-1: Keep 3 backups in 2 locations with once of them air-gapped to prevent ransomeware encryption.

I've been down the same route as Alex.  I had Netgear RAID 1 and used to hot swap one drive and take it to my parents house (2nd location and air-gapped).

When they pulled support I got Western Digital MyCloudMirror, with one device in my daughter's house in Dorset synchronised over the web.  It can not cope with change of remote IP addfress so I had to recreate the backup jobs every time BT changed my daughter's IP address.  Then WD pulled support for remote access,  followed by pulling support for that generation of the box completely.

I have just installed a Synology DS720+ at each location and they work beautifully.  They are designed for the users, not for the convenioence of the programmers.  (I think Netgear and WD let the inmates run their programming asylum,)  I have a USB attachable backup at home for the air-gapped copy.

Mike Robinson

On Friday, 24 December 2021 at 13:17:54 UTC wrote:

Paranoid Android

Dec 27, 2021, 4:18:45 AM12/27/21
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I recall getting the same WD email, as Rich, recently.

(I have two of WD's devices, World & Book generations repectively).

Considering replacing them with Synology devices, so interested where this NAS discussion goes.


Vance Briggs

Dec 27, 2021, 4:33:25 AM12/27/21
I have gone "Homebrew" using TrueNAS as the OS on a second hand HP DL360 with 64GB RAM and 8 drives configured as a ZFS RAID - Yes I have gone over the top!

It was a fun exercise and I am using it for more than a pure NAS - It is also doing my Freeview recording using Emby and a few other tasks.  But in hindsight I would probably scale back the computing power and RAM a bit.  Also because I used the DL360 I was limited to 2.5" drives which are expensive and probably not as long lived as their bigger brothers.

The second-hand DL360 was a bargain to buy, but I am using about £25 of electricity per month, so not an overly green solution.

My takeaways from this exercise are:

1. Get a chassis that supports 3.5" drives
2. For a home solution you don't need masses of computing power, unless you plan to run some heavyweight apps on it (e.g. video conversion on the fly)
3. Consider the power consumption - you are going to have this running 24/7


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