It's been hours, hours and hours I'm searching for a solution. My QNAP NAS completely died, nothing can make it boot again and it worked only for two years. I cannot afford paying 600$ every two years while I could buy a PC for that price and that would last 5-10 years. I chose a NAS because there is no convenient PC solution to build a RAID, at least not without copy/pasting cryptic commands from web pages which I'm terrible at doing. I end up completely stuck. Just a Linux box with separate drives would have done the trick, and one drive dies you don't loose all data just some, the machine dies you don't loose the drives and can even sometimes recovery the machine (PSU replacement, e.g.).
The only box I have at home that can host my 4 RAID drives is an old Linux-based HTPC, and all I can find as alternative to mounting the RAID on Linux, are Windows-based solutions such as ReclaiMe and R-Studio. I cannot install Windows on that 10-year old HTPC, this is worthless. My other machine doesn't have enough free SATA ports. I tried exploring the possibility of a USB-based docking station. I can find just one bay but need four, claims to work just on Mac but need Windows, etc. I'm also worried some docking station will try to be smart and act like a RAID controller of their own, preventing ReclaiMe or R-Studio to scan for QNAP RAID and just blindly reformatting the drives.
I don't know anybody with a 4-bay QNAP NAS I could borrow. If I did, at least I could try recovering my data. Obviously, I don't have a large enough disk to store it, I have between 6Tb-8Tb of stuff on this, but at least that problem can be solved.
At this point, the only solution seems to buy a new QNAP NAS or try with a data recovery company. But it would cost me hundreds of dollars.
Main data present on this RAID5 was ripped DVDs and blu-rays, but it takes two hours to rip a disk. My home videos, photos and other personal data is backed up at least. My assumption was that at most one drive would die at a time, which allows a RAID5 to be rebuilt and that my QNAP NAS would last several years. After it dies after 5+ years, it would have been a possibility to buy a new QNAP, and I was assuming worst case it would be possible to mount the array in a Linux box. I would never think EVERYTHING would get lost like this. With 4 separate drives, at worst, you loose one drive with SOME data but not ALL. Disks to re-rip, a shame, but at least not the whole collection! What I wanted from a RAID5 is a consolidated view of the collection, removing the need to search in drive1, drive2, drive3, and drive4. Seems this is not doable, not at the filesystem level at least, not with Linux (maybe Windows has simple to configure NTFS-based filesystem merging/virtual volumes, but I don't want a Windows-based media server).
All QNAP is caring about is synchronization between multiple NASes of their brand. Backup on Dropbox? Not supported. Backup on S3? Was working with some app, that app got removed, so no go, just buy a second QNAP NAS and use HBS or what not to synch the two boxes. That is a real non-sense. All I could do with that box is to use it as a SMB/NFS server, which a vanilla Ubuntu box can perform, without the RAID (unless you hack). But I'm ready to give up on RAID, especially after this super frustrating experience. What would guarantee me that if my Linux-baed RAID server fails and requires reinstall, I would be able to rebuild the array? After I saw this incompatibility, I'm really unsure.
Here are some things that could help:
- A Linux-based RAID recovery that would detect QNAP specific structure.
- A 4-bay USB docking station that would support at least Windows, ideally Linux as well (would be a handy purchase for other tests in the future), and that would just expose the drives, no RAID. That would allow me to try my luck with ReclaiMe or R-Studio at least.
- A faster blu-ray/DVD ripping solution, ideally Linux-based, but something Windows-based could help as well. Or a device that would allow to load multiple disks, rip, and eject.
- For the future, after this crisis is over, a Linux distribution with native RAID support at installation time or through a GUI, or at least some kind of script that would be able to scrape web pages for command lines and isolate them more easily than using the mouse for copy/pasting. I know this sounds silly, but this is a real problem for me. If I can't find that, I will simpel give up on RAID and just use large drives or mount multiple separate drives in separate folders.