Background information ℹ

I always loved the idea of a proper NAS, lovely to have a lot of storage accessible at high speed and it being local meaning easy troubleshooting if SHTF. In my old living situation I had access to a wonderful NAS, about 3 TB in size, used it each and every day for all my storage needs.

Since I moved to a new apartment and my relationship changed, I had to get a new NAS and some new HDDs anyway. Luckily for me, a friend of mine wanted to get rid of his Synology DS411+II, needless to say I absolutely took him up on that offer! 😸

He left me two 3 TB drives with it, with a very clear warning about the status of the drives, which I didn’t take as seriously as I probably should’ve done.

First bootup and installation ✨

After inspecting everything, it was time for me to set up the NAS with the two 3 TB drives included in the NAS. I had heard about Synology and SHR (Synology Hybrid RAID) before, it just seemed a bit odd to not use RAID in a NAS, but rather something proprietary instead, especially for data recovery possibilities!🚑

The setup didn’t take too long, but I wanted to understand what the NAS was capable of and which kind of underlying system was running, what kind of alarms it would send me and how.

After a few minutes I had the NAS building a SHR array with those before mentioned 3 TB drives, and a few days later it started to fill with backups and a mirror of my cloud things.

S.M.A.R.T alarm time 🚨

So after having a good time and loving the NAS, saving a few things here and there on it, one day I got an email which read:

Dear user,

Drive 1 in DS411+II is severely damaged and is failing. Please back up your data immediately and then replace the drive.>

Drive information: Brand: WDC Model: WD30EZRX-00MMMB0 Capacity: 2.7 TB Serial number: WD-XXXXXXXXXXX Firmware: 80.00A80

S.M.A.R.T. Status: Failing Bad sector count: 0 Drive reconnection count: 0 Drive re-identification count: 0

Well $#!%, drives really do be dying…💀

I didn’t have anything of importance saved to the NAS by now, but I definitly didn’t want to re-do the entire setup procedure again.

My last step was to disable the broken HDD, and running the whole array without a parity disk.

Expanding the NAS 📈

Since installing the NAS, I found myself wanting to expand, since 3 TB of usable space wasn’t going to cut it in the long run anyway.

Also since one drive was dying, I needed to chuck new ones in to prevent desaster!

Looking around online and checking in with friends, it seemed to me that WD was the brand of choice for my budget and needs.

After having a think or three, my desicion fell on 8 TB WD Red Plus WD80EFZZ, two of those.

I already can hear the voices “But cat, why wouldn’t you choose the pro models over the plus, you’re bonkers!”… Money my friends, living on your own for the first time ever is scary and takes some planning and experience that I still need to learn.

After chucking the drives into the NAS, I started the rebuild and had a few…many cups of tea and coffee, since two 8 TB rebuilds take a good while to complete! We’re talking about three days per disk, maybe more.

Label your shit! It’s worth it!🏷

My NAS is set up next to my couch, plugged into an outlet and sitting inside of my TV bench where it feels nice and cozy. Since I was so excited to start it up back when I set it up for the fist time, I didn’t think a lot about where I was plugging it into, if there’s power, it’ll be fine.

After having someone sleep over on my couch, checking in with them in the morning had me skipping a few heartbeats. 📉📈

The outlet where the NAS was plugged in, now had a phone charger in it, the NAS power cable dangling underneath.

Me, in my superb planning, never labelled the mains cable for the NAS or told my visitor to please not unplug this seemingly normal cable from the wall.

After recovering from my shock, I calmed them down and explained that this was on me, I should’ve taken the steps to avoid this.

I don’t think I need to explain to you, the dear reader, how bad of a situation that was. A power loss on a NAS, while rebuilding the SHR array, with broken disks.

Conclusio 💾

After all that chaos, I’m now running my NAS with the following setup:

  1. WDC WD40-EFZX-68AWUN0 (4 TB)
  2. WDC WD80-EFZZ-68BTXN0 (8 TB)
  3. WDC WD40-EFZX-68AWUN0 (4 TB)
  4. WDC WD80-EFZZ-68BTXN0 (8 TB)

This setup should give me 16 TB useable, according to Synology’s online SHR calculator. However, I currently have 12.53 TB of usable space and no idea why. As soon as time will allow it, I’ll do research on why it’s smaller then calculated.