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jeffmikan

Why I ordered a Synology DS1812+?

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jeffmikan

So I have been listening to Dave since episode 5ish (included going back and listening to episode 1 at the time) with a small break during the WHS v1 corruption bug. Since that bug was fixed, I purchased and build my own WHS v1 box and was loving it with no problems (that I can remember).

 

WHS v2 Era

When WHS v2 was released, I upgraded and kept backups running to be safe. My primary reason to upgrade was getting support for DVBLink on the server. For those that don't know, this software network enables any tuners in your server so that any thing can access them (DLNA,WP7,Android,iOS,xbmc....). I got this all up and running and was happy.

 

Problems: I started getting software conflicts on my WMC and I was listening to too many people podcast about VM's :) I was also starting to push my SATA connections.

 

Then came the BYOB podcast and their discussions on RAID's and the dream of empty disk space fragmentation disappearing.

 

RAID Era

So I bough the RocketRaid I rebuilt the computer using 2008R2. I installed the RR and started having problems. First, I never could get it to initialize in the forground. Even after I got it up and running, hard drives would drop out every 2-3 hours. In addition, I continually get Errors/Fixed Error messages in the log.

 

Troubleshooting RAID

After several weeks of head->wall, I started to think my power supply wasn't big enough. After a quick search and determining that I had a problem there (had 450w, need estimated 650, oops). I ordered the Corsair Professional Series Gold 850-Watt 80 Plus Gold Certified High-Performance Power Supply - CMPSU-850AX. Well, this allowed me to initial the drives realiably in the background (add fixed a DVBLink audio glitch), I was still getting hard drive drop outs every 4-5 days. Well, you know what was next, if 850w helpped, 1200 would fix it. NOT. After a getting the 1200w PS (same type), I figured that I could use the modular cables and avoid re-wiring everything. No so since the 1200 has special cables. So another late night changing out the power supply. Remember, this is my primary server so all recorded TV and live TV tuners are in this box so when this box is down, wife and kids (3) are asleep.

 

Troubleshooting RAID 2.0

After more head-> wall scenerios (no TV come saturday morning/afternoon), I randomly tried to plug the computer into a generic power strip instead of a 1000VA UPS. Well this looked like it fixed it. So the guess at the time was that UPS needs to be replaced. About this time, PC Doc describes his new build. And guess what, he has the same RAID card and exact same hard drives. I must have whipped the problem. It was all a power issue.....

 

Round 3

Background: I push my RAID through to a VM WHSv2 so that I keep all the My Movies and HomeGroup functions.

So after 2-3 weeks of smooth sailing, WHS was hanging on the boot chkdsk. Well this isn't good. If I moved the Array to 2008R2, I could do chkdsk. Well something kept messing up. After more down time, I moved the Array to be hosted by 2008R2 and let all the clients remote access it. For WHSv2, I started using iSCSI and VHD's.

 

This is where I should have stopped. I was still getting hard drive error's (yes latest and same firmware on hard drives). Since PC Doc hadn't posted any issues, I thought it must be related to how I formated the hard drives (with compression). While this would be a stretch to be causing all the issues, I said what the hell.

 

Round 4

I shifted around the now 3 TB of data (have to rebuild my ~150 disc BR/DVD archive, oh well). I moved all the data off the Main Raid Array, Blew the entire raid array away and started from scratch. I tried 4k blocks, 512b blocks, formated on WHSv2, formated on 2008r2, and any combination that could happen. Finally, I was going to give it a shot with 512b block, no compress format, pass through to WHSv2 for My Movies transcoding and auto-rip functionality. Well, as you might expect, I had two different drives fail on me but a simple reboot gets the raid array rebuilding. (Thought: I can live with this because it took 2-3 rebuilds before Round 2 was settled down). Just after I finished copying stuff back on to the array, a verification failed. It started rebooting. No problem right. Well, it was no problem until a power outage hit.

 

Round 5

After the power hit, the RR won't even talk to one of the 3TB hard drives. It sees it but the RR loads it as Legacy/disabled. I even took it out and tried to format it to blow away the Raid config. No dice. The drive was functioning but when inserted back into the server, Legacy/Disabled, well <explitive>.

 

7th Inning Stretch ( I hope)

About round 4, I started looking at alternatives. I settled on Synology based on the applications for cloud sync, DLNA, and iTunes server (for iPad 1 support). So when Round 5 hit, I pulled the trigger on the DS1812+. Lets hope it works out better then the RR card.

 

Why did I pick the Synology platform? I wanted a quality server that I could let it manage itself. In addition, I wanted dropbox/skydrive/... type clients for all platforms (android, iOS, WP7). I also wanted it expandable to meet my needs until Cloud Storage meets my needs at a reasonable price. I currently have 500GB of 15k slides from my childhood in addition to HD video of my kids. I really hope this platfom carryes forward to be a Cloud Backup for my once the Cloud can carry all my storage. I fully agree with Steve Wozniak around faults in the cloud are more dangerous then at your home. I will use Cloud Storage for my convience but hopefully use this Synology Box (and potential expansions) to back up my cloud data.

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ikon

Reading through, I can't help but think that using compression was your Achilles' Heel. That, and it just seems your scenarios are too complex. I could be totally offbase, but those are my initial impressions.

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jeffmikan

Fully agree. I was trying to put too much into one box with little experience with RAID.

 

Things that I would warn anyone trying RAID for the first time

  • Verify you have a powerful enough PSU
  • Don't do compression
  • If you have problems, don't hesitate to remove the drive cages from the scenerio. (this could also have been my problem, but doubt it)

Is there any way to test to see if the RAID card is good or even just it's cache? This is the one that I don't know how to test and I really think is the problem.

 

Note: I really don't want to spend any more money going down this path but I would like to test it before I put it up for sale.

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