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Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:45 am
by Fides_
Hi,

I currently have a QNAP TS-251+ with 2x WD Green 4TB drives and I'm looking to expand and add some redundancy as I currently have none (oops) and I noticed my drives are getting pretty old (5 years) and it's pretty foolish of me. So I've been looking online and after a few days of searching I've decided instead of purchasing a new server altogether, I want to purchase an expansion tower (the compatible TR-004), a new drive (just 1 to start with), some extra RAM to help my server run smoother and then combine my current drives with the expansion tower in a RAID 5 format. Giving me redundancy and the ability to add more drives in the future to increase storage space.

So I need to know if its possible in my current set up to do this.

I have 1 Data volume comprised of the 2 drives not linked by RAID in any way. These drives are at 88% capacity total so there really isn't much free space. I want to connect my TS-251+ to a new TR-004 expansion tower with a single (new) drive in, making there 3 drives total. I'd like to merge these 3 drives together as a RAID 5 array in a single data volume without losing any of my current data (I know I won't get any more space initially, I'm just after drive failure protection at the moment). Meaning I will need to keep the TR-400 always connected to my TS-251+ which is fine.

I've read about RAID migration in the Storage/Snapshot manager and it sounds like it might be possible with just purchasing one drive, and if not, 2.

Any help/info/advice before I go around spending lots of money for something that won't work as expected would be greatly appreciated. I can't really afford to lose any of my data.

Thanks,
Dean

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 4:18 am
by P3R
Fides_ wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:45 am
I have 1 Data volume comprised of the 2 drives not linked by RAID in any way. These drives are at 88% capacity total so there really isn't much free space. I want to connect my TS-251+ to a new TR-004 expansion tower with a single (new) drive in, making there 3 drives total. I'd like to merge these 3 drives together as a RAID 5 array in a single data volume without losing any of my current data (I know I won't get any more space initially, I'm just after drive failure protection at the moment). Meaning I will need to keep the TR-400 always connected to my TS-251+ which is fine.
No that's not possible.
  1. Your current disk configuration can't be migrated into any other configuration.
  2. A RAID can't consist of both internal and external disks. External storage will always be in a separate RAID and it must also be in a separate volume.
You have a very, very risky storage configuration right now and you're very lucky to not have lost data yet.
  1. WD Green is strongly adviced against in NAS/RAID applications.
  2. Disks with 2-3 year warranty have a very high risk of failing after 5 years.
  3. Since you use the disks creating one large volume, the risk increases as all data will be lost as soon as either disk fail,
Your thinking of implementing redundancy is great but much more important than disk redundancy (RAID) right now is system redundancy, which mean a backup of your data on a separate system. If the NAS only holds backup data from your client devices, then it's okay but if the NAS have data that is unique and of any importance to you then you'd better get a backup NOW! Really, I mean that.

The best low cost backup is usually an external USB-connected disk but it could also be another computer/server/NAS or a cloud service.

It's a very common misunderstanding but RAID shouldn't be used to protect data. RAID is used to keep your NAS running and make data available despite a single disk failure. It's sometimes used to increase performance as well but that's irrelevant here.

An external backup will protect your data from, among other things; single disk failures, multiple disk failures, user mistakes and ransomware attacks. It will also protect the data from fire, flooding and theft if the backup is stored at another location than the main site.

RAID is optional, backup is mandatory!
Any help/info/advice before I go around spending lots of money for something that won't work as expected would be greatly appreciated.
Normally I would just recommend a large external backup backup disk but with +7 TB data today you need to think about that one more time. Does everything need to be backed up? If some of it can be recreated from other sources then maybe not all data need to be backed up again? Your backup solution should also not only cover your current data volume but also the expected data volume in say 3 years from now.

Many of us buy a new larger NAS and use the old NAS as a backup unit. Depending on your future storage needs then maybe a 4-bay NAS with 3*6 TB (12 TB usable storage) in RAID 5 and 2*10 TB or 2*12 TB without RAID in the backup unit could be a good configuration?
I can't really afford to lose any of my data.
BACKUP!

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:35 am
by Fides_
Hi thanks for the detailed response,

I know I've been extremely foolish with lack of backups but the data stored is more of an archive of pictures/videos/programs etc. (its all personal use) which is why I went with WD Green in the first place due to the low power cost and the fact I would only be using the NAS every once in a while to say, watch old videos or something. Not needing high read/write speeds as a multi-user NAS with many VMs and such. If it is so badly advised against for even such little use and mainly just mass archival storage, would you really recommend I change from Green to say, Black or Red? Is it worth the money? How much more years usage would I get out of them?

As for the expansion situation it sounds like I should invest in a separate server but, at the moment, this is far too costly for me to purchase, populate and justify at my current budget. The redundancy can be more cost effective if I used RAID rather than a separate server, and I believe that rebuilding any lost drives over a few days at a one time cost of replacing the failed drive is better than a secondary system in my current situation (however, in the future this will 100% change based off of your advice) costing way over 1000

Hypothetically if I purchased this TR-004 and 2 more drives (Green or otherwise) could I populate the main server (TS-251+) with a single drive (for system files, possibly a smaller drive) and then build a RAID 5 configuration consisting of the 3 remaining drives in the TR-004 whilst keeping my data intact? Costing ~500
Or would I have to buy 3 drives, build RAID 5 first on the TR-004 with the new drives, and then move my files into the RAID array to keep my data. Costing ~650

It has taken my 5 years to amass this amount of data and I do not expect to come close to generating the same amount for a very long time so I don't really need space; I mainly need redundancy as I expect a drive to fail because of how old they are. Any money I can save on not purchasing drives that I simply wont use before they "go bad" (5+ years) will be a large help.
The ideal solution would be to buy a single matching drive (WD Green 4TB) and build a RAID 5 array with my current data in an expansion module, and buy a smaller drive to run the main system on as I don't need much space. Costing ~400 for RAID which I think will be cheaper than any backups as I just want to save my data.

What do you think?

Thanks

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:39 am
by Moogle Stiltzkin
don't go black.

just go wd red NAS hdds.


What is the difference between the WD Colours – Blue, Red, Black, Green, Purple and Gold 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBbIGtjdz8s

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:44 am
by P3R
Fides_ wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:35 am
If it is so badly advised against for even such little use and mainly just mass archival storage, would you really recommend I change from Green to say, Black or Red?
Not Black but Red.
Is it worth the money?
Yes!
How much more years usage would I get out of them?
You won't get more years out of them as the Red hardware is the same as Green but they have a firmware adapted specifically for use in NAS/RAID-applications. As I said, you've been very lucky with the Greens. I'd say that the average lifetime is less than 5 years for these low end disks.

If you want better longetivity you need to step up to 5-year warranty disks like Seagate Ironwolf Pro (WD Red Pro is expensive and have much worse specifications) or a less costly enterprise disk from any manufacturer. Such disks will usually be less costly per year with warranty but they're of course more expensive up front.
Or would I have to buy 3 drives, build RAID 5 first on the TR-004 with the new drives, and then move my files into the RAID array to keep my data. Costing ~650
Yes.

You need to be careful with how you do that though. I've never used the TR-004 but I know that it's a bit different and I think that you should ask for advice here in the forum about how you to configure it to not find yourself painted into a corner when your Greens die and the NAS become unavailable. Make sure that the NAS configured with new disks can recover the RAID 5 on the TR-004 without data loss. Also I'm not sure about the possibility to expand that RAID 5 later should it become necessary...
The ideal solution would be to buy a single matching drive (WD Green 4TB) and build a RAID 5 array with my current data in an expansion module, and buy a smaller drive to run the main system on as I don't need much space. Costing ~400 for RAID which I think will be cheaper than any backups as I just want to save my data.
I don't think there are any Green mechanical drives available any more but even if there are, please stop thinking about WD Green in a NAS/RAID environment! They're evil and bad for you... :wink:

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:55 pm
by Fides_
Thanks for the advice guys.

What I'm going to do (after checking about the tr-004) is purchase 3 WD Red 4tb, set up RAID5 with them on the tr-004 with a software controller and then move all my data from my current drives to the external tower. I'm fairly certain you can expand RAID arrays with same sized/bigger disks, so I will check this too.

I'll then expand my RAID 5 with an old disk to squeeze as much life out of it as possible as I don't mind too much about read/write speeds.

Then I'll keep up to date backups of the system settings on a seperate system and wait for the final drive in the main server to fail. Then repopulate it with a cheaper drive (for now) and load the backup and all (hopefully) should be fine.

So I guess all I need to know now is if it's easy enough to load backups of the main OS for when the drive should fail, or if I should just go straight ahead and populate it with 2 new small drives in a RAID 1 configuration.

Really appreciate all your help and as a first time user of the forum I'd say it is a brilliant place to ask for help/assistance.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 2:00 pm
by Moogle Stiltzkin
you're welcome :}

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:38 pm
by P3R
Fides_ wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 1:55 pm
I'm fairly certain you can expand RAID arrays with same sized/bigger disks...
I'm not:
TR-004.jpg
Source: https://www.qnap.com/en/product/tr-004
I'll then expand my RAID 5 with an old disk to squeeze as much life out of it as possible as I don't mind too much about read/write speeds.
Since both internal disks are used in the same volume, you'll break that and need to start over from scratch as soon as you remove either internal disk.

Then it's time for the huge question; will you be able to recover the orphaned RAID 5 when you have the NAS up and running again? I wouldn't bet on that unless someone with experience and/or Qnap support tell you that it's possible and preferably provide a step-by-step instruction.
So I guess all I need to know now is if it's easy enough to load backups of the main OS for when the drive should fail...
It's only a small file so it's easy to both backup and restore. It'll only hold the things documented though. No apps or any other things you may have there.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:01 pm
by Fides_
Right I'm very glad I decided ask on here rather than finding out for myself then.

What would be your recommended course of action? All I really want is to save my data for as cheap as possible whilst retaining my current data AND current settings/environment.

The way I see it I can either:

1.
Buy an expansion tower that I'll have to have fully populated with drives as RAID 5 to start with as I can't expand it afterwards, COPY my data to the new RAID array so its safe, wipe my data from my current server drives (2x4TB) so I now only have 1 copy in the external TR-004 and an *empty* server TS-251+ (besides my current environment)
If I remove a drive from the TS-251+ would I then be able to buy a smaller drive (say, 500gb) and create a 500gb RAID 1 array with the small drive and a current old 4TB drive leaving approx. 3.5Tb unused and a spare 4TB drive. This should retain my environment on the NAS and as it is RAID 1 this is good redundancy and should stop the orphan extension tower problem unless both drives fail at the same time.
So if I can do this I should retain all my settings including the RAID 5 external array set up and if/when the 4TB old drive should fail, it will still be present on the 500gb drive as its RAID 1.
If all this is true I wonder if I could temporarily store my current 7TB archive somewhere, wipe my drives and create the 500gb RAID 1 array incrementally with 2 new drives, keeping my environment intact before setting up the new enclosure. That would then enable me to use my current 4TB drives in the new RAID array meaning I would only have to purchase 2 new 4TB drives, 2 smaller (500gb) drives and the expansion enclosure, rather than 4 new drives and then having a 4TB drive spare.

2.
Buy a new 4 bay server and 2 new drives, create a storage pool that can be expanded at a later date as I have done with my current server (no RAID) on the new one, and MOVE my data to that. Then use my old (now empty) server as a back up which I will have to buy higher capacity drives for at a later date as it has less bays and then use snapshots to back up my data from the new server to the old server. This would mean I need to purchase a new 4 bay server, 2 new drives and I would probably lose my current environment unless I can clone it to the new server.

Sorry if this is all confusing/hard to understand what I'm on about, I'm trying to write in detail for myself so I can look back on this in a week or 2 and know what my plan is.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:01 pm
by Fides_
While this is fresh in my brain (I am sorry for probably repeating myself, this is for my own sanity):

My ideal solution would be to store my current 7TB archive somewhere temporarily so I don't have to worry about it.

Then I would wipe my current drives so just my current environment remains and hopefully I am able to put it all on one single 4TB drive, and then onto one single smaller (maybe 500gb-1TB) drive, and then into a RAID 1 array of 2 smaller drives so my original 4TB drives would now be free and then the TS-251+ will have its own redundancy in RAID 1.

Then I would build a RAID 5 array on the expansion module with my 2 old 4TB drives, and 2 new 4TB drives. This gives me redundancy and 4TB extra space. Then I'd load my old archive data onto this TR-004. I so far know that this part is possible (I just have to free my current 4TB drives)

This way I would be able to use all my drives, have separate file redundancy, avoid the orphaned expansion module issue (by using RAID 1) and I think this would be the cheapest way to do it. This would also be good for future use as I can add up to 2 TR-004's to my TS-251+ and the only way I can lose data is if 2 drives on the same device fail at the same time.

Would this be possible? To incrementally remove huge drives and replace them with smaller ones to use in the new expansion module,
Thanks

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:13 pm
by Moogle Stiltzkin
This way I would be able to use all my drives, have separate file redundancy, avoid the orphaned expansion module issue (by using RAID 1) and I think this would be the cheapest way to do it. This would also be good for future use as I can add up to 2 TR-004's to my TS-251+ and the only way I can lose data is if 2 drives on the same device fail at the same time.
2 x tr-004 ?

if you are going to be needing 8bays , probably should wait for the TR-008T
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU8mh4rPXNI

I want to connect my TS-251+ to a new TR-004 expansion tower with a single (new) drive in, making there 3 drives total. I'd like to merge these 3 drives together as a RAID 5 array in a single data volume without losing any of my current data (I know I won't get any more space initially, I'm just after drive failure
problem here is, 2bay is not cutting it out for you. and as others mentioned, you cannot use the tr-004 to expand existing raid. because the tr-004 will have it's own raid volume. so you can 2hdd in the 2bay nas and the 3rd hdd in the tr-004 to make a raid5.

just seems like you should get a 4bay or more NAS if that is the storage capacity is needed.

you can use something like this to figure it out how many bays is required based on the capacity sizes of the hdds (4tb hdds is a good place to start)
https://www.servethehome.com/raid-calculator/



2bay nas is suitable for raid1, for people that know they will be fine with that much capacity and won't be requiring raid5. my recommendation is 4bay nas minimum, then you can do 4hdds in raid5 which is plenty of storage for most people.

Many of us buy a new larger NAS and use the old NAS as a backup unit. Depending on your future storage needs then maybe a 4-bay NAS with 3*6 TB (12 TB usable storage) in RAID 5 and 2*10 TB or 2*12 TB without RAID in the backup unit could be a good configuration?
that 2bay nas would then be your backup under this setup. so all you need to buy is a new 4bay NAS minimum, and the hdds.

You only need the tr-004 if you plan on using raid5 for your backup. because then you can combine 3-4 hdds into 1 volume using raid5. it's far safer than jbod spanning. with 2 hdds you either do raid1, or single jbod volume each hdd.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:38 am
by Fides_
Hi Moogle Stiltzkin,

The thing is I don't really want to lose any data or my current environment AND just give myself some redundancy on my current set up for as cheap as possible, so building a RAID 5 as an external expansion with my current drives would be perfect if I could move my data to it.

I guess the question it all boils down to is: Can I move my data to some other place and then copy my environment/settings/apps and basic user data to different drives on the NAS even though my little 2-bay is already full? To do this I think I would have to move everything onto one drive, and replace the now empty drive with a smaller one, and then put everything on the smaller one and THEN make it RAID 1 with 2 smaller drives.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:42 am
by P3R
Fides_ wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:38 am
Can I move my data to some other place and then copy my environment/settings/apps and basic user data to different drives on the NAS even though my little 2-bay is already full?
No.
To do this I think I would have to move everything onto one drive, and replace the now empty drive with a smaller one...
That's impossible as the volume will fail as soon as you remove either disk. You need to backup what you can externally and live with the fact that that you will need to recreate some of it later.

I'm sorry but I think you're painting yourself further and further into a corner.

You intend to spend good money on this crippled (no future storage expansion) RAID chassis and on smaller disks just to have something to boot the NAS on. Those are both short term band-aid fixes but you plan to go further down that road later with another expansion chassis... :roll:

I told you that a proper data storage consist of the main storage (preferably running RAID to protect the configuration and apps that can't be backed up but that's optional) and a separate backup. I listed several things (there are more) that can go wrong and that an external backup will protect your data from and any one of those threats will take out your data despite you having spent not insignificant funds. The only improvement from the current configuration that you'll get is that your NAS will be able to handle single disk errors.

Storing data cost money and you're storing 7 TB! You've been very lucky up to now but unless you start doing things properly, you will lose all that data.

I would suggest that you immediately buy an 8 TB WD Red and a USB-dock/enclosure and make an external backup. That way you will at least have protection for your current data. Then start saving money fast. You'll need that as soon as either WD Green die, which may happen as I write this.

The sweet spot where you get the most bytes for your money is with 6 or 8 TB disks today and that will continue up to larger disks in the future. Also with larger disks, you don't have to buy a very large NAS to manage future expansion.

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:49 am
by Moogle Stiltzkin
last time i was in this situation, i had to use whatever storage i had on hand.

at that point i could easily insert whichever hdds into the new nas, reinitialize from scratch, then recover from my TEMPORARY backup.

Then i would setup my new backup (in your case, either your 2bay NAS, or a tr-004) by inserting the hdds, and reinitialize setup. Then using HBS to do the backup.

For me, i use RTRR one way sync to remote (although you're on the same lan)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnW8zSho7cY

i would first create a test share on main nas, then back that up and test if it restores the way i want it to (which is the same share structure). Once that test is confirmed with the correct result, i then do the backup job for real.


i'm assuming p3r means easy store external ? 8-10tb
https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/se ... ance&t=all


what some people do, they get these easystore external drives (when there is a good bargain discount), then cannibalize the hdds by removing the casing, then using those hdds in their NAS later. Or... you can just use it as is (in it's existing external case). It seems it comes out cheaper than buying just the hdd itself directly (no idea why).

Re: Help/Advice Needed on Expansion

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:27 pm
by Fides_
You intend to spend good money on this crippled (no future storage expansion) RAID chassis and on smaller disks just to have something to boot the NAS on. Those are both short term band-aid fixes but you plan to go further down that road later with another expansion chassis...
Surely the RAID expansion module is more future-proof than buying a new 4-bay server as I can have up to 2 if needed expansion modules on my current server (cheaper and for the same amount of extra storage space) buying a new server for main use and using my old as a backup will surely be putting myself into more of a corner because if I wanted to expand after that I'd have to buy yet another server and reconfigure it etc.
I would suggest that you immediately buy an 8 TB WD Red and a USB-dock/enclosure and make an external backup
I don't know why but I didn't even consider an external hard drive; I just made the connection of the word backups with a separate server (silly me) so I'll just purchase a 8TB backup HDD for now so I'm safe as you both suggested.

I think what I'm going to do is buy the expansion module:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/QNAP-TR-004-De ... B07K23ZJFN

Buy 2 new 4TB drives for use with my old 2 in a RAID 5 in the expansion module:
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/464tb-w ... -cache-ncq

Buy an 8TB backup hard drive:
Possibly this as the previous version is compatible with my NAS (so I can just assume this one is, but I will look further before buying)
https://www.scan.co.uk/products/8tb-sea ... ive-pc-mac
Or any other 8TB external hard drive as it seems cheaper to buy an external rather than an internal and a docking station, unless you have any suggestions?

And finally put 2 decent performance drives in my NAS in RAID 1:
(probably the Seagate barracuda for the 2 year warranty and general reliability) https://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-sea ... viously-st

This way, I have a RAID 5 array protecting up to 1 disk (with ~10TB storage according to the RAID calculator) and I will also have up to 8TB of backups, should anything go wrong.
I will also have good performance in my NAS, separate to my archive if I want to host websites/servers etc. Also, in the future I COULD also add another expansion module IF I wish which makes this more future proof as it makes expanding my storage solution easier than buying another server so I'm not painting myself into a corner as its easy to upgrade, and definitely not a just a short term fix (its conveniently cheaper)

Thanks for your suggestions guys, you've been a bigger help than you realise.