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Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS

alcester01
Aspirant

Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS

Hi All,

 

I use a RN214 as my 'primary' NAS and an old RNDP400U as my 'backup' at home.

 

The Primary uses 4x3TB drives in a RAID5 configuration and the backup uses 4x2TB in an identical configuration. Both NAS are running OS 6 (version 6.10.4 Hotfix 1)

 

Given the difference in storage capacity, my backup is used to store an easily accessible copy of the family's irreplaceable Photos / Videos / Documents, and only turns on once a week to run rSync jobs to update from the Primary NAS.

 

The Backup is now 90% full (running disks 9 years old) and my Primary is 75% full (running disks 5 years old) so my plan is to buy new 4TB drives for the Primary and reuse the 3TB disks in the Backup. This should keep me going for another 5 years.

 

My question is the best way to make the swap. I'm thinking that I will simply swap one 3TB drive for a new 4TB in the Primary, and swap one 2TB for the 'reused' 3TB in the Backup (and let both rebuild RAID) before repeating until all 4 drives are replaced. Can I do that without needing to format the reused 3TB drives?

 

I'd like to avoid taking the Primary off-line if possible - it is heavily used by the family all week.

 

Very grateful for any input / suggestions you may have.

Model: RN214|4 BAY Desktop ReadyNAS Storage, RNDP400U|ReadyNAS Ultra 4 Plus Chassis only
Message 1 of 5

Accepted Solutions
StephenB
Guru

Re: Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS


@alcester01 wrote:

 

I use a RN214 as my 'primary' NAS and an old RNDP400U as my 'backup' at home.

my Primary is 75% full (running disks 5 years old) so my plan is to buy new 4TB drives for the Primary and reuse the 3TB disks in the Backup. This should keep me going for another 5 years.

An alternative is to get larger drives - that is generally more cost effective.  

 

For instance, two 6 TB Ironwolf drives would have a price of ~$280, and would give you the same storage gain as four 4TB Ironwolf drives (costing about $410).  It would also make future upgrades of the primary NAS less expensive (as you can gain another 3 TB by simply replacing one of the remaining 3 TB drives with a 6 TB one).  The main issue here is that you'd only gain 1 TB of space on the Ultra (2x3TB+2x2TB).

 

I'd get four 6 TB drives for ~$560, and set up both NAS as 2x6TB+2x3TB.  Though that is a bit more expensive, it would give you 12 TB in each NAS (~10.9 TiB) - letting you do full backups of the RN214 to the Ultra.  Using mixed sizes requires XRAID (the default) on both NAS.

 

As an aside, WD Red Plus drives are also good choices.  But avoid the WD Reds - they are SMR, and several folks here have had trouble with them.  The newest WD Red Plus models in these sizes are the WD40EFZX and the WD60EFZX.  You likely will also see the older WD40EFRX and WD60EFRX out there.  But avoid the WD40EFAX and WD60EFAX - those are the SMR models.

 


@alcester01 wrote:

 

My question is the best way to make the swap. I'm thinking that I will simply swap one 3TB drive for a new 4TB in the Primary, and swap one 2TB for the 'reused' 3TB in the Backup (and let both rebuild RAID) before repeating until all 4 drives are replaced. Can I do that without needing to format the reused 3TB drives?

 

I'd like to avoid taking the Primary off-line if possible - it is heavily used by the family all week.

 


I always recommend hot-swapping drives (removing and reinserting them with the NAS running).  Then the NAS "sees" both the removal and the insertion, and doesn't have to figure out what changed.

 

I'd remove the partitions on the drives from the primary NAS that you are re-using before you hot-swap them. You can do that by connecting them to a Windows PC, and running the erase / write zeros test in the vendor tools.  That would also test them, which might be a good idea given their age.  But you should be able to just hot-swap them, and format them from the web ui. 

 

Personally I always test drives in a Windows PC before putting them in the NAS.   I run the full (extended) read test, followed by the full erase/write-zeros test.  I have sometimes had drives pass one and not the other.  Use Seatools for Seagate.  For WD, you can use either the older Lifeguard utility or the new WD Digital Dashboard utility.

 

I'd also suggest have a fresh backup of all your files (at least the non-replacable ones).  If one of your older drives fails during the upgrade, you will lose all the data on that NAS.  There is no RAID protection during a resync, and the process does require either reading or writing every sector on every drive.

 

After testing, hot-swap the new drives in the primary, one at a time, and wait for the resync to complete.  The second drive will resync twice, and the capacity won't increase until the second resync.  If you go with 4x4TB, then the third and fourth drives will also resync twice.

 

On the older Ultra:  If you go with the 2x6TB+2x3TB configuration idea, then you have to hot-swap the two 3 TB drives before you hot-swap the 6 TB ones.  If you try to hot-swap them last, you'll end up with a smaller volume.

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Message 2 of 5

All Replies
StephenB
Guru

Re: Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS


@alcester01 wrote:

 

I use a RN214 as my 'primary' NAS and an old RNDP400U as my 'backup' at home.

my Primary is 75% full (running disks 5 years old) so my plan is to buy new 4TB drives for the Primary and reuse the 3TB disks in the Backup. This should keep me going for another 5 years.

An alternative is to get larger drives - that is generally more cost effective.  

 

For instance, two 6 TB Ironwolf drives would have a price of ~$280, and would give you the same storage gain as four 4TB Ironwolf drives (costing about $410).  It would also make future upgrades of the primary NAS less expensive (as you can gain another 3 TB by simply replacing one of the remaining 3 TB drives with a 6 TB one).  The main issue here is that you'd only gain 1 TB of space on the Ultra (2x3TB+2x2TB).

 

I'd get four 6 TB drives for ~$560, and set up both NAS as 2x6TB+2x3TB.  Though that is a bit more expensive, it would give you 12 TB in each NAS (~10.9 TiB) - letting you do full backups of the RN214 to the Ultra.  Using mixed sizes requires XRAID (the default) on both NAS.

 

As an aside, WD Red Plus drives are also good choices.  But avoid the WD Reds - they are SMR, and several folks here have had trouble with them.  The newest WD Red Plus models in these sizes are the WD40EFZX and the WD60EFZX.  You likely will also see the older WD40EFRX and WD60EFRX out there.  But avoid the WD40EFAX and WD60EFAX - those are the SMR models.

 


@alcester01 wrote:

 

My question is the best way to make the swap. I'm thinking that I will simply swap one 3TB drive for a new 4TB in the Primary, and swap one 2TB for the 'reused' 3TB in the Backup (and let both rebuild RAID) before repeating until all 4 drives are replaced. Can I do that without needing to format the reused 3TB drives?

 

I'd like to avoid taking the Primary off-line if possible - it is heavily used by the family all week.

 


I always recommend hot-swapping drives (removing and reinserting them with the NAS running).  Then the NAS "sees" both the removal and the insertion, and doesn't have to figure out what changed.

 

I'd remove the partitions on the drives from the primary NAS that you are re-using before you hot-swap them. You can do that by connecting them to a Windows PC, and running the erase / write zeros test in the vendor tools.  That would also test them, which might be a good idea given their age.  But you should be able to just hot-swap them, and format them from the web ui. 

 

Personally I always test drives in a Windows PC before putting them in the NAS.   I run the full (extended) read test, followed by the full erase/write-zeros test.  I have sometimes had drives pass one and not the other.  Use Seatools for Seagate.  For WD, you can use either the older Lifeguard utility or the new WD Digital Dashboard utility.

 

I'd also suggest have a fresh backup of all your files (at least the non-replacable ones).  If one of your older drives fails during the upgrade, you will lose all the data on that NAS.  There is no RAID protection during a resync, and the process does require either reading or writing every sector on every drive.

 

After testing, hot-swap the new drives in the primary, one at a time, and wait for the resync to complete.  The second drive will resync twice, and the capacity won't increase until the second resync.  If you go with 4x4TB, then the third and fourth drives will also resync twice.

 

On the older Ultra:  If you go with the 2x6TB+2x3TB configuration idea, then you have to hot-swap the two 3 TB drives before you hot-swap the 6 TB ones.  If you try to hot-swap them last, you'll end up with a smaller volume.

View solution in original post

Message 2 of 5
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS

Since your volume is at higher risk due to lack of redundancy during a sync, having both your primary and backup in that condition simultaneously, especially with older drives involved that may fail during the more intensive sync process, is a higher risk that you may want to re-evaluate.  Personally, I'd do them in series, not parallel.

 

Having converted your Ultra to OS6, another option would be to move all the drives from the primary to the backup (with power off), retaining the old backup drives at least till the process is complete, then setting up the 214 with a whole new set of drives (perhaps 3 x 8TB, with a slot open for later expansion). 

 

Prior to migrating the drives, you would want to uninstall any apps on the 214 before moving the volume to the Ultra because of the difference in archetecture (ARM vs. Intel), but the OS will convert itself automatically.

Message 3 of 5
StephenB
Guru

Re: Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS


@Sandshark wrote:

Personally, I'd do them in series, not parallel.

 


Me too.

 


@Sandshark wrote:

 

Having converted your Ultra to OS6, another option would be to move all the drives from the primary to the backup (with power off), retaining the old backup drives at least till the process is complete, then setting up the 214 with a whole new set of drives (perhaps 3 x 8TB, with a slot open for later expansion). 

That's another good option.  3x8TB would cost about $600 (about the same as the 4x6TB route I suggested) - and @alcester01'd would end up with 16 TB on the RN214 and 9 TB on the Ultra. 

 

@alcester01:  If you want to take this path, you'd want to uninstall any third party apps (plex, etc) before migration. In general, arm-specific apps won't run on the Ultra, and uninstalling them first avoids any problems you might have uninstalling them post-migration.

 

If you are still running with the stock 1 GB memory in the ultra, I'd also disable services you don't need on the backup (file indexing, all file sharing protocols, and perhaps antivirus).  That would avoid any risk of running out of memory.    

Message 4 of 5
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Increasing Primary NAS Capacity - Reusing disks in Backup NAS

You could, of course, save a bit with 3 x 6TB, but I suggested 8TB because that seems to be the current best price per TB.

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