Reply
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

I bought a ReadyNAS104 a couple of years ago with one 3TB disk.

Now that that disk is full, I bought another 3TB disk to increase the capacity to 6TB.

I stuck the new hard drive into the box, and waited overnight for the system to adjust itself.

I came back the next day to find that even though I now had two volumes, I still only had 2.72TB of space.

How do I get the system to recognise the increased capacity?

Message 1 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Vertical expansion:  expanding capacity by replacing smaller disks with larger ones

Horizontal expansion: expanding capacity by adding drives to empty bays.

 

So what you attempted was horizontal expansion, not vertical.  However, as you discovered, adding a second 3 TB drive doesn't expand capacity.  With XRAID, adding the second disk gives you RAID redundancy - protecting your data from a routine disk failure. That can't be undone without destroying your data.

 

The simplest solution is to purchase another 3 TB drive and put it into slot 3.  If you do that, your capacity will increase to 6 TB (~5.45 TiB). Adding a fourth 3 TB drive would give you 9 TB (~8.2 TiB) of total space. 

 

Your other option is to back up your data, do a factory reset on the NAS, set it up again in flexraid mode - creating two volumes (one for each disk).  Put some shares on each, and then restore your files from the backup.

 

Note it is possible to create a single 6 TB volume that spans both disks.  However, that is a risky thing to do.  When either drive fails you will lose all the data on the NAS.  With two volumes, you'd only lose the data on the failed drive.

Message 2 of 27
Marc_V
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Hi @Trench_Rich

 

Welcome to the Community!

 

This is normal, this is due to the configuration your NAS might be into, If you can check under the volume tab on your ReadyNAS Admin page, XRAID is used which will represent enabled with a blue color line.

 

What happened is that your 1 3TB disk which is in JBOD has changed to a mirror RAID (RAID 1) after you have added the 3TB disk on your NAS making it an exact copy/mirror of your current disk.

 

IMO, you can add another drive or two to make it RAID 5 making it expand it's capacity or You will have to start over by turning of XRAID and destroying the current RAID then setting it up with 2 3TB on JBODs or do a factory reset

 

You need to make a backup first since Destroying the volume will remove all your data as well.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Vertical Expansion

XRAID

Flex-RAID

Change RAID level

 


Regards

Marc_V
NETGEAR Community Team

It's what you do that defines you
NETGEAR Community User Guidelines
Message 3 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

If I remove the second drive and reboot the NAS, is there any way to get it back to a single disk system and start over?

Could I then make the system into a JBOD (or something) array and have it (re)format the second hard drive so I can use it?

Message 4 of 27
Marc_V
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

There is no other way than to change to Flex-RAID and destroy the current volume created or do a Factory reset and start with Flex-RAID. The RAID is now RAID 1 so these are the only option Smiley Sad

 

Both will be destructive so you need to do a backup.

 

 

Regards

Marc_V
NETGEAR Community Team

It's what you do that defines you
NETGEAR Community User Guidelines
Message 5 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

So, if I have no choice but to add another hard drive, what options do I have with the drive: does it have to be exactly the same as the original disks (WD Red 3TB), or can it be just the cheapest I can find?

Message 6 of 27
Marc_V
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

It would be better if you get the same drive as with the first two that you have Smiley Happy

 

If you can avoid Desktop drives and go with WD Reds then it will be best.

 

OR you can disable XRAID add the 3rd drive, set it as JBOD then transfer the files and go DESTROY the other volume and set the other 2 again as JBOD,

 

But JBOD does not have any data protection, once it failed you don't have any data to be recovered.

 

 

Regards

Marc_V
NETGEAR Community Team

It's what you do that defines you
NETGEAR Community User Guidelines
Message 7 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104


@Marc_V wrote:

 

OR you can disable XRAID add the 3rd drive, set it as JBOD then transfer the files and go DESTROY the other volume and set the other 2 again as JBOD,

 

But JBOD does not have any data protection, once it failed you don't have any data to be recovered.

 


If you need to get a different size disk (either bigger or smaller), then this might be a good approach. But if you are getting another 3 TB drive, you are better off sticking with XRAID.

 

As far as disks go, I have quite a few WD30EFRX deployed, and they've worked out well for me.  A Seagate 3 TB IronWolf would also be a good option, so you could price them both.  I don't recommend going with desktop drives.  NAS-purposed drives like the Red and the IronWolf are much better choices. 

Message 8 of 27
Marc_V
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Hi @Trench_Rich

 

 


We’d greatly appreciate hearing your feedback letting us know if the information we provided has helped resolve your issue or if you need further assistance.

If your issue is now resolved, we encourage you to mark the appropriate reply as the “Accept as Solution” or post what resolved it and mark it as solution so others can be confident in benefiting from the solution.
 
The Netgear community looks forward to hearing from you and being a helpful resource in the future!
 
Regards,

Marc_V
NETGEAR Community Team

It's what you do that defines you
NETGEAR Community User Guidelines
Message 9 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

I don't have any money to buy another hard drive at the moment, so this issue will remain unresolved for me until I can get another drive. 

Message 10 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104


@Trench_Rich wrote:

I don't have any money to buy another hard drive at the moment, so this issue will remain unresolved for me until I can get another drive. 


Which I guess also means that you don't have the ability to back up your NAS (since you could solve it w/o a purchase if you did).

 

I'd recommend investing in a backup plan before you expand capacity.  Although RAID isn't enough to protect your data, it does offer more protection than jbod (which is what you had with only a single drive).

Message 11 of 27
JBDragon1
Virtuoso

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

What sounds like happened is that the NAS which had no backup, and really basically running like any old single drive HDD you can plug into your computer took that second HDD and did a direct copy of the first HDD, now using RAID 1.  What you do to one HDD is done to the second HDD as a copy.  If either HDD takes a dump, you can swap it out with a new HDD and all your data will be copied to that new HDD from the 1 working HDD.

 

What YOU seem to really want to use is called RAID 0.  This is in fact what I use on my second NAS which I use for a Backup.  It's backing up my 6 HDD NAS which has 6, 3TB HDD in it and copying all that Data onto 2 8TB HDD in RAID 0 giving me enough space.  Since this is a backup NAS, and it only runs 2 days a week and only late at night.  It automatically powers up, and ready when my Main NAS starts copying anything NEW over to it.  In the morning that NAS powers down once again for a few days.   So it's not on much and I have a backup.  I have a copy of my files on one or the other NAS unit.

 

The big NAS is using RAID 5.  So basically I have Data on 5 of my 6 HDD's in such a way if any of the 6 HDD fail, I can swap it out with a new HDD and the NAS will rebuild its self,  losing no Data.  Now RAID 0 will give you want you want.  1 BIG HDD using 2 drives.  So double the storage space.  But you also have double the odds of a HDD failing and losing ALL of your data from both HDD's!!!   You were already taking that risk, so continuing to do that is on you.    The problem is now, I don't think you can change it from Raid 1 to Raid 0 without removing the Data on it and starting over.    I'm not 100% sure.   So you may have to copy the Data on it off to someplace else, then reformat to raid 0, and then put your files back onto it.

 

So this explains RAID.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID

 

So you are using RAID 1 currently as that is what the NAS would normally do on its own when just popping in a second disk.  You want RAID 0.  So go to that link and it'll explain RAID 0 and RAID 1.

 

Also because you're going to use RAID 0,  you won't be able to Vertically expand once both drive bays are full for sure.  Because pulling one drive means losing all your Data.   It would be impossible to pop in a replacement larger HDD and rebuilt since the data you would need to rebuild with is on the drive you pulled.  Without those 2 drives together, you can't rebuild.   On the other hand, using RAID 1, since they are clone drives.  You could pull either of the 3TB drives, pop in a 6TB drive and it would copy everything from the 3TB drive to it.  But still look as a 3TB HDD until you replaced the second 3TB HDD with another 6TB HDD and the data cot copied over.  Then it would look like a 6TB NAS using RAID 1.   Later expand to maybe a 10TB HDD.    See you can't fill 1, 6TB HDD with 5TB of Data and expect the 3TB drive to hold 5TB of Data, so it can't be RAID 1 and see the 6TB drive without both being 6TB's.    Doesn't matter the size, they both have to be equal to use all the space.  On the other hand RAID 0 doesn't matter.  It'll throw a 3TB and a 6TB together making 1 large HDD and using all the space.  BUT you have ZERO redundancy.  Double the odds of a HDD failure losing ALL of the data on both HDD's.    A NAS already is not a BACKUP.  A backup is having you Data in at least 2 different places. Offsite as a 3rd backup is even better.

 

You're not really even using the benefits of a NAS.    You could have just got a cheapo 3TB External drive and plugged the thing into your computer.  If you need more space, buy another external HDD and plug that in also.  I'm just trying to warn you of the risks.  HDD's do fail.  Sometimes quickly to maybe lasting YEARS.   You having 2 HDD ina RAID 0 means double the risk of losing everything.  Maybe quickly, to maybe years down the road.  I have WD RED drives in my NAS that are over 5 years old and zero errors and problem free.   Others haven't been so lucky.   So Cheapo External drives plugged into your PC.  It's not in RAID.  If one of them dies, it doesn't affect any others.  On the other hand, I don't know what you're doing with your NAS.    

Message 12 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Perhaps it's best to not reply with "what I AM doing with my NAS" as what I want (and what I thought a NAS would do).

I have a 1 TB laptop, my wife has a 500 GB laptop, and we both have several external hard drives of varying sizes.

What I want is for a large network hard drive that can back up all these things conveniently, not having to plug things in and out of our laptops all the time.

I thought a NAS would do that, leaving me room for expansion as my finances would allow.

It appears I was wrong.

What solution is possible?

Message 13 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104


@Trench_Rich wrote:

 

What solution is possible?


We already told you that.  You have two options

  1. add a third drive, which would double your current capacity and preserve your RAID protection or
  2. Offload your data, do a factory reset, and set up the NAS as jbod.  Then restore the data.

 

Either way you will need to spend money - either on a third internal drive or a backup USB disk.  If you had asked here before you inserted the disk, we would have told you how to avoid that expense.  But now that you have a RAID-1 volume, that isn't possible.

 

Note that if you care about data safety, you do need to back up your data to a different device.  You aren't doing that, and therefore your data is always at risk of being lost.  If I had to choose between the two options above, I'd go with (2) and invest in a backup USB disk that is large enough to store all my data.  Backup is more valuable to me than RAID protection.

 

 

 

Message 14 of 27
JBDragon1
Virtuoso

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Well, I think he only has a 2 drive bay NAS.  So adding a 3rd drive is not an option.    It's one reason why I think if you're going to get a NAS, you're wasting your time with a 2 bay, you might as well go with at least a 4 bay NAS.  

 

So he popped in a second HDD and it just put it right into RAID1.  Which is what you normally want.   He doesn't care about the reliability of his Data.  That is fine.  What he should do is take a look here.  http://rdconfigurator.netgear.com/raid/index.html

 

Now all he has to do is drag into that virtual NAS 2 3TB HDD's that he has.  Now on the right top, it shows XRAID.  This is what he has now and what the NAS would default to.  It shows Level: Xraid (Raid1).  Which means the Second drive is being cloned to the first drive.  If either drive fails, you can swap it for another 3TB HDD and everything will get copied from the good drive to the new HDD and continue on as always.

 

Down Below is FLEX RAID.  It defaults to RAID 1 also.  So the same amount of storage as XRAID.  But you can change that to FLEX Raid 0.  This gives you 5.45TB of space from 2 3TB HDD!!!   I'm not going to get into why a 3TB HDD is not actually 3TB.   It really is only 2.72TB of Space per drive.   With only a 2 drive bay, your options are Limited.  It's either RAID 1, which you only get 2.72TB of space with the 2 HDD or you can use Flex Raid 0 and combine the 2 HDD to get you double the space.  BUT,  if either of the 2 HDD's fails, you lose ALL of your Data!!!  Or if you want the full space, without losing everything on BOTH HDD.  You can split the drives to just 2 separate drives.    Ignoring a big reason to have a NAS.  You have Z: drive for 1 HDD, and a Y drive for the other HDD.  Instead of 1 single big drive.  This way if/when 1 HDD fails, you won't lose the Data on the other HDD.    Just like any other non-raid HDD setup.  

 

If he wants MAX drive space and doesn't care about a HDD failing and losing Data, he is going to have to Copy anything that's on the NAS to something else.  Then Reset/ Wipe the NAS, and change the settings.  To do this,  once your NAS is backup and running and fresh, on the Admin Page, in System, and then Volume, on the right side of that page, you'll see X-Raid.  Click on that.  It'll ask if you want to change it over to Flex-Raid Mode.  You'll want to say YES.   From there you can change it.  I'm not going to see it on my NAS to see what it says past there.  You should then be able to change it to like Flex Raid 0 for example.

 

https://kb.netgear.com/22808/What-is-Flex-RAID-and-how-does-it-work-with-my-ReadyNAS-OS-6-storage-sy...

 

See, when you have a 4 bay NAS.   You do what I did, you start out with 2 HDD in RAID 1.  Part of the reason to have a NAS is to use RAID and have some Data Protection.  When you get close to filling up that 2.72TB of space from those 2 drives. you pop in in 3rd HDD.  It'll get added to the system, and change over to RAID 5 all on its own.  This would give you 5.44TB of Data.  This gives you 2 HDD worth of Data storage with redundancy.  In that if any of the 3 HDD fails, you can swap it out with a new one, it'll rebuild the files gone from the old drive to the new HDD and everything will be good.  When that is close to filling up, you go ahead and pop in a 4th HDD.   It'll get added to the system, and you'll have storage space of 3 HDD's and still have a 1 HDD redundancy.  If any of the 4 fails, you can swap it out and it'll rebuild the files onto the new HDD.  8.16TB of Storage with 4 3TB HDD's.  In fact, this is how I started with my old Orignal 4 Bay NAS.    Some good reasons for doing things this way is that you're not getting all your HDD from the same batch of HDD at the same time.   Another reason is to save wear and tear.  Why do that to HDD you're not filling up with Data yet?    Besides, why spend more money on HDD's than the NAS cost all at once.  

 

This is why I say don't waste your time with a 2 bay NAS.  It's a waste of money because you're going to end up wanting more space in the future.   It doesn't mean you have to buy all the HDD to fill it up right away.  Which ends up costing more money than the NAS.  It just gives you future options.   3TB drives are not a whole lot of money.  If he had a 4 bay NAS, just throwing in a 3rd would have been the best option.  He would have double the storage space and redundancy from RAID5.  All would have been good.  

 

I think part of the problem here is ADVERTISING!!!!  What do they do?  They advertise it as being able to store 20 TB's of Data from a 2 bay NAS!!!  Sure, you have to buy 2 expensive 10TB HDD, and use ZERO redundancy in a FLEX Raid 0.  Most people just don't know better.  These people go, I'm not going to buy expensive 10TB HDD's  I don't need that much space.  But a 3TB WD Red HDD is $109 from Amazon.  Buy one of those now, then it gets close to filling, they buy another expecting double the space.  When that doesn't happen.  That they just spend $109 for another HDD and storage space didn't change at all.  What would a normal person be thinking???  

 

?????  What the hell happened?  They don't know or understand RAID.   They just see they can up to 20TB of storage space and then buy it.  So I kind of take issue with that.  On the other side, the person buying it should really know what they're buying.  So both are at fault.  I saw his NAS on Amazon, and in big print on top 20TB!!!!  On a 2 bay NAS.  Really at most, it would be 10TB in RAID 1.  Which anyone with half a brain would want.  No one in their right mind would use it for 20TB.  If you stuff a 3TB HDD into it, you should be looking at it as a 3TB NAS with 2 3TB HDD in it.  Not a 6TB NAS unless you pop in 2 6TB HDD into it.  

 

The things people are now expected to know that used to be in the domain of the IT expert.  Routers, Switches, RAID, etc, etc, etc.   Just trying to get people to change the default password in their Wifi Router is hard enough.   How many people these days think the Internet is Facebook?  

Message 15 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Since it seems I can't do anything without spending more money, what would happen if I buy another 3 TB drive and place it in bay 3 (it's a 4-bay NAS)?

Do all the drives have to be the same size, or is the size and type of the third drive unimportant?

Message 16 of 27
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

If you are going to expand the volume and take advantage of RAID redundancy protection, then the additional drive needs to be at least as large as the two you have.  If it is larger, the additional space above that of the current drives will not be utilized.  You would need to add a 4th or replace one of the existing with a larger one to use that space, so it has a place for the redundancy to reside.

 

If you want to use the additional drive as a separate, non-redundant volume, then it can be any size.  But you'll have to disable XRAID before you insert it.

Message 17 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104


@Sandshark wrote:

If you are going to expand the volume and take advantage of RAID redundancy protection, then the additional drive needs to be at least as large as the two you have. 


Yes.  Hot-inserting a 3 TB drive (with the NAS running) will do the trick.  The expansion will take some hours, but you will end up with 2x the space you have now (6 TB, which is the same as 5.45 TiB).  The NAS uses TiB (but labels it as TB).

 

You can use the same model drive you already are using, or you can purchase a different one.  I'd recommend NAS-purposed drives for your NAS - either the WDC Red (WD30EFRX) or the Seagate Ironwolf (ST3000VN007).  Current street prices for either is about $100 in the US.

Message 18 of 27
JBDragon1
Virtuoso

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

I think I was pretty clear on what happens.  What your options are, and how these things are sold can be misleading.    As I said, you just about have to be an IT expert.  What is that?

 

"An information technology (IT) specialist is a computer support and security administrator who assists companies and organizations with managing hardware, software, networking and solving problems. These professionals go by a range of titles, including information security analyst and network administrator."

 

YOU as just a normal person are somehow expected to know about a NAS, or a Wifi Router, and all these other things that used to be in the domain of the IT expert.   So it's not your fault for not really understanding.  Or sure about what you're buying and how to use it correctly.   I'm always learning new things in this area and so it's easier for me, but trying to keep up with it all when I'm not an IT expert.  I get by thanks to the Internet these days to learn what I need to.  

 

So you can buy a NAS which is just short for "Network Attached Storage"  Really, it's just a computer with a number of HDD's that you talk to remotely.  You normally don't have a Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse Attached to one.    Most run a custom version of LINUX as the ReadyNAS does, which is Linux Debian 9 currently I believe.   You really don't need to worry about that.   You get a nice Interface when you log into your NAS,  kind of like looking at Windows instead of a CLI (Command Line Interface).  You can click your way around instead of having to type in commands. 

 

Now you can buy a NAS in a number of sizes.  How many discs it can hold.  Normally, cheaper HOME NAS units are 2 or 4 bay.  I normally say, just get the 4 bay unit as it's generally not all that much more money.  If you don't use all 4 bays right away, that's just fine.  You can also get NAS with even more.  I have a ReadyNAS 516 which has 6 bays.  But you can get 8 or 12, or even larger.  I think they can get up to like 48 HDD in one unit.  Generally, 6 or more bays start getting into Business Class NAS units.  Prices go up to match. 

 

Normally, when you get a NAS, it's for the RAID Capabilities, otherwise, you would just buy an External HDD, plug it into your USB port on your computer and be done with it.  In fact, many Wifi Routers have USB ports on them, where you can, in fact, plug a USB HDD into that and use it as a Network drive.  My ASUS Router has that capability.  I've never done it as I have a NAS.    Now if that 1 HDD fails, as all HDD's will fail at some point.  Maybe 1 month, maybe 1 year, maybe 10 years.  You just never know.  This is why you backup your Data.  You need at least 2 if not more copies of your Data, and offsite is even better.  If your House burns down, or you get robbed, or whatever, do you want to lose that Data?   So I have 2 NAS Units.  1 is used to back up my MAIN NAS.  When you have 13+ TB of Data, the only practical way to back that up is with another NAS.  You want your Laptop or Desktop Backed up.  My Pictures and Text files and some other things I have backed up off-site using Carbonite.   If you have a Smartphone, backing up all your pictures to Google, or Apple, or Amazon, etc, some for free. 

 

When you use your NAS as 2 HDD's combined into a single Partition,  This is normally called RAID 0.  It splits data evenly across two or more disks, without parity information, redundancy, or fault tolerance. Since RAID 0 provides no fault tolerance or redundancy, the failure of one drive will cause the entire array to fail; as a result of having data striped across all disks, the failure will result in total data loss!!!   

 

That is what you were expecting to happen, and advertised in a way.  Pop in that second HDD and double your space!!!   Except for not knowing the results of doing that.  Since 1 HDD can fail at any time.  Now you throw a second HDD into the mix, your odds of a failure of losing everything goes up!!!  If one HDD fails you lose your Data on BOTH HDD's. 

 

This is why I say the Ad's are misleading.  They sell these 2 bay NAS units and say,  sure it can hold 20TB of Data.  Of course, it can if YOUR DUMB!!!!!  You can pop in 2 10TB HDD into the thing, use RAID 0 and get almost 20TB of space.  But if 1 HDD fails, you just lost 20TB of Data if your NAS is filled up that much.  Now if you had 2 of them, and backed up 1 to the other, it would be OK!!!  You would have Redundancy doing that.  Now I do use RAID 0 on my Second NAS.  Because it's only a cheap 4 Bay NAS, and I use 2 8TB HDD in it.  This gives me enough space to back up my 13TB on my other NAS.   But see, it's a BACKUP!!!  That means 2 copies.    If I lose Data on either, I have a backup on the other NAS.  Also, that cheap NAS of mine is only on 2 days a week late at night.  That is when my Main NAS backs up to it.  The rest of the time it's powered off.  So 95% of the time it's not running.   It's all Automatic.  I don't have to really do anything but check and make sure all is good once in a while.  Sometimes update the OS on the backup NAS as it can get behind as I don't normally look at it.  It's normally only on 12:30PM to about 6AM for 2 days a week.

 

What any normal NAS will do, be it a 2 or 4 bay or larger, if you have just 1 HDD, it's just like a normal single External HDD you plug into your computer.  Once you pop a second HDD into the NAS is where the magic starts to happen.  It'll copy the Data on the first HDD to the new Second HDD.  This is called RAID 1.  Now you have a CLONE of the original HDD.  This is giving you 2 copies.  A single location, but it's at least a Backup.  If either HDD fails, you don't lose any data.  Just pop in a new HDD where the old one was, and the Data from the old good drive gets copied to the new drive.  You're back once again to 2 copies of your Data and you didn't lose anything.

 

Now you can disable XRAID, and set the NAS to use each HDD on its own.  So that it's like having 2 external HDD plugged into your computer.  Each can be set up to have its own mapped drive letter.    This allows you to use the 3TB of space on each drive like you were expecting to, just not as 1 large volume.   So they're each on their own.   The Benefit of this is you do get full storage of each drive.  If 1 HDD fails, you only lose Data on that 1 HDD.  The other still works for however long its life is.    But again it's kind of a waste of a NAS.  You get a NAS in general for RAID and some safety.

 

With a 2 Bay NAS, you just don't have the flexibility you do with at least a 4 bay NAS.  See with 2 Bay NAS, the real only redundancy you have is RAID 1.  It's nice to have.  But if you get a 3TB HDD, it's a 3TB NAS.  That's because it's using RAID 1.   I know when you pop that second HDD you spent money on you expected more space.  What you were really doing was creating a Backup of sorts.  That's a good thing.  You're not getting more space, but you are getting an Automatic CLONE of your Data.   But you're stuck at that point with a 2 bay NAS.  That's fine for some people.  There is Vertical Expansion though.  So you could have popped in a 6TB drive into it.  Let it rebuild, you won't see that extra space until after it's rebuilt, and you pop in a second 6TB HDD.  Now you've doubled your space and still have RAID 1 redundancy.    Yes, it's spending yet more money!!!  That's one way to go if you only have a 2 bay NAS and want more space without buying a new NAS!!!  

 

Now if you had a 4 bay NAS, you would have 2 slots free.  Once you popped that second HDD in, you have RAID 1 and redundancy.  A Backup.  That is how you should look at it.  Having a Backup is a good thing.  But you have 2 extra spaces.  So you can now buy a 3rd HDD and pop that in.  Now you not only have Redundancy,  but your space can now expand.  It will on it's own change to RAID 5.  Now if any of the 3 HDD's fails, You still have your Data, pull out the BAD HDD, and pop in a new HDD of equal or larger size.  If it's larger than the other 2, you won't get any extra space.  You would need at least 2 larger HDD's to gain more space.   So you stick with just 3 HDD's.  You've doubled your storage space now and you have some redundancy.  You can call it HDD Magic.  It's amazing that the Data on any of the HDD's that fails can be rebuilt onto a new HDD and not lose anything.  To me that's Amazing.    But when you get close to using up most of the space with 3 drives, you can then just pop in a 4th HDD.  It stays RAID 5.  You still gain more space, and still, have a 1 HDD redundancy.  If any of the 4 HDD fail, you won't lose any of your Data.  Pull the bad HDD and replace with a new HDD, and the other 3 HDD will rebuild the Data onto your new HDD.  This is why I recommend a 4 bay over a little cheaper 2 bay unit.   To me, a 2-bay NAS is silly.

 

When you start getting into larger NAS Units, in the 7, 8 bay and larger, then you can get into RAID 6.  This is like RAID 5, but allows 2 HDD's to fail at once and still be able to rebuild your Data without losing anything.  But you basically lose 2 HDD's worth of Data storage instead of 1 HDD like with RAID 5. 

 

So I don't recommend 2 bay NAS units.   Spend a few dollars more and get the 4 bay version.  The HDD's are going to end up costing more than the NAS unit.   But if you don't need to fill it up with HDD's, then don't.  I never did.  I started with 2 and grew to 4 over time.  Then Replaced that NAS with my 516 which is 6 bays.  I added a 5th HDD and later a 6th HDD.  I'm about full, so I'll have to start vertical expanding myself.  I have 6 3TB HDD's currently.

 

But a RAID, especially anything more than RAID 1, is not a real BACK UP.  If one HDD fails, you can swap out and be up and running in no time and not lose anything.  BUT again, maybe the NAS takes a dump. Maybe you get robbed.  maybe your place burns down.  Bye, bye Data!!!   

 

Windows computers use a file format on HDD called NTFS.   You may have also heard of FAT and FAT32.   Apple just changed over on iOS and MacOS to their new AppleFS last year.  The Linux OS uses EXT3 or EXT4 and some others.  One of those that the ReadyNAS units use these days is called BTRFS.  Which is a file system based on the copy-on-write (COW) principle, initially designed at Oracle Corporation for use in Linux.  As far as I know, there are no real Windows Drivers to access this format.   There are some experimental Windows drivers.

 

All the drives in the NAS, in general, should be the SAME SIZE!!!!  You can't add a smaller HDD. It has to be Equal or Greater.  So say you pop in 4 3TB HDD into your NAS.  That's just fine.  Or 4 8TB HDD's into your NAS.  Whatever.  That is what you want to do.  Now say you have 4 3TB HDD in your NAS and it's about full.  What do you do?  Well one thing you can do, and it's called Vertical Expansion as I said above,    As you go from 2, to 3, to 4, etc, that's Horizontal Expansion.    So you maxed out your 4 bay NAS doing that.   You need more space.  Now you can do Vertical Expansion.   You can pull out the HDD's,  1 at a time, and say go from a 3TB HDD to a 6 TB HDD.  In effect, changing all 4 HDD doubles your storage space.  NOW, this is the important part, you ONLY do 1 HDD, and then the NAS has to rebuild to that new HDD you just popped in.  That can take HOURS depending on what size of a HDD you are using.    You have to let the NAS rebuild.  If you just start pulling out all your HDD, you're going to lose your Data.  So only 1 HDD, let it rebuild, and then you can repeat.  

 

Now you will gain NO extra storage space using just 1 larger HDD.    Think about it.  Say you have 3, 3TB HDD in and 1 6TB HDD in and the 6TB fails.  A 3TB HDD can't hold 6TB's of Data.  So how could you expect the NAS to rebuild all the Data on a larger HDD?  It can't.  So the NAS would treat the 6TB HDD as a 3TB HDD. That's ok.  When you pop in a 2nd 6TB HDD, the NAS will rebuild once again, and then you'll gain more room.   When that's done, move to the 3rd, rebuild, and then the 4th, rebuild.  You'll have the max space if all are the same size.

 

Some people around here don't understand this because they are not an IT expert, and so they pull 1 HDD,  pop in larger and right away, do another and then another, lose all their Data and now don't understand where all their Data went?   Because they didn't let the NAS copy the Data to the New HDD one at a time.  This could be a 4 day process to swap out 4 drives in a NAS!!!! 

 

No matter what you do, I think you'll end up spending money unless you don't care about redundancy.   I don't know what you want out of your NAS?   If you really don't care about the Data on the NAS, take the gamble, use RAID 0.  

 

I have a TIVO, if you know what that is, a DVR that records TV programs.  Well, you can plug in an External drive to gain more space.  The problem with that is basically the same thing.  if either HDD fails you lose all that Data.  In this case, all the TV shows you've recorded.   So it's not something people recommend.  Instead do what I did, pulled out the 500Gig drive that it came with and popped in a single 3TB HDD.  I greatly expanded the space without doubling my HDD failure odds.  3TB is the largest you can go with just popping in a new larger HDD.  If you go larger, there are a few tricks you need to do plugging the drive into your computer first.    3TB in my TIVO is a ton of space!!!    It's your Data and your Risks and it's on you what you want to do.   

 

Lastly, when I'm spending my money on something, I try to get as much Data as I can on it.  Learn as much as I can to see if it fits my needs and does what I expect it to do.  I just don't go blindly buying anything.  I'm not spontaneous!!!  Which is why I give you Links on things like RAID.  So you can read and learn and understand a little more.  What you learn can help you, your friends and family if they're looking into this stuff. Maybe not fall into the same kind of trap you may have.    Know the Pro's and Con's.     

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_RAID_levels

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage

 

 

Message 19 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

I have ordered another 3TB HDD the same as the other 2 for my ReadNAS104.

Are you saying that if I plug that 3rd HDD in, the NAS will expand to a 6TB drive?

Some of your post seemed to indicate the possibility that I would just finish up with 3TB of space spread out across 3 3TB HDDs.

I hope that is not the case, as it would mean I have wasted several hundred dollars at that point.

What setting should I check before plugging the drive in (given that I don't have access to any other hardware that can back up my existing 3TB to anywhere safe in case I lose the data on my NAS through setting something wrong)?

 

Message 20 of 27
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

You, the third drive will expand the unit such hat it has 6TB of usable space with 3TB used for redundancy.

Message 21 of 27
JBDragon1
Virtuoso

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

Popping in a 3rd HDD will double the space you have currently and keep the redundancy.  It will change from Raid1 to Raid5,  if any of the 3 HDD’s fail, you can pull that 1 and install a new HDD and it'll rebuild the data that was on the failed HDD that you pulled.

 

When you get close to filling up the NAS once again, go ahead and install a 4th.  This gives you 3 HDD worth of data with the 4th for redundancy.  

 

It's that second HDD you don't see any storage space benefit.  Only redundancy!!!    Adding a 3rd and later a forth will expand your storage space and keep the redundancy.  So if you already have a 4-bay NAS, great.  Get that 3rd HDD.  3TB NAS drives are reasonably priced.  I think that was the size you're using currently.

 

 

Again, just to repeat. A NAS is not a Backup unless your Data is in at least 2 places.  So your NAS and computer HDD.  Or. A large Exteral HDD plugged into the NAS and it has backup capabilities built in. An external 8TB HDD can hold the data on your NAS with 3, 3TB drives in it.   Usually there's a button on the NAS you can setup, where you plug the Drive in, push the button and it copies everything new onto that drive and when done, unplug and put it in a safe place.  Backup as you need to. Daily, once a week, or once a month.  It's something to think about.  What's your data worth yo you?   That is your call. A NAS cant protect you from everything.

 

 

Message 22 of 27
StephenB
Guru

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104


@Trench_Rich wrote:

I have ordered another 3TB HDD the same as the other 2 for my ReadNAS104.

Are you saying that if I plug that 3rd HDD in, the NAS will expand to a 6TB drive?

Some of your post seemed to indicate the possibility that I would just finish up with 3TB of space spread out across 3 3TB HDDs.

 


RAID creates a "virtual disk" called a volume - that looks like a single file system to you, but the data is spread across all the drives.  There is also redundancy information (called "partity blocks") that are used to recreate the contents of a failed disk from the remaining good ones.

 

As I said, the capacity rule is "sum the disks and subtract the largest".  If you have 3x3TB, then the capacity is 3*3 - 3-> 6TB.

 


@Trench_Rich wrote:

 

What setting should I check before plugging the drive in (given that I don't have access to any other hardware that can back up my existing 3TB to anywhere safe in case I lose the data on my NAS through setting something wrong)?

 


Look on the volumes tab of the web ui.  If you see a green stripe on the XRAID control on the right, then you are currently using XRAID.  You should also see both of your existing disks shown as blue, with "RAID (RAID-1)" underneath.

 

You could also download the log zip file from the logs tab, and look in disk_info.log.  That would give you information on the health of your current disks.

 

However, disks (and all computer equipment) can fail at any time, so there is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong.  When you can, you should put a backup plan in place for your data.

Message 23 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

My drives are shown in blue, with a small green dot in the bottom.

The X-RAID logo is grey, and clicking on it asks me if I want to change from Flex-RAID to X-RAID.

I had attempted various changes when I put the last drive in the machine, so I'm no longer sure what settings I'm supposed to have.

Should I change to X-RAID?

I have another 3 TB drive ready to put in, but I don't want to put it in until I know I'm going to get a benefit out of it.

If you recommend I change to X-RAID, what should I do with the new drive?

Should I just insert it, or is there something else I should do first?

Message 24 of 27
Trench_Rich
Aspirant

Re: how to vertically expand a ReadyNAS 104

This is a picture of the admin page, in case I haven't been clear in the posts above.

Message 25 of 27
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