When a hard drive fails it usually means data loss (since last backup, anyway), UNLESS you have properly configured redundant hard drives. With a Netgear ReadyNAS server, X-RAID or X-RAID2 is the easy choice to provide data redundancy.
When the hard drive failed in our ReadyNAS Ultra 2 Plus we lost no data because X-RAID2 was providing mirrored redundancy to the 2nd drive in the unit.
How Do You Know A Hard Drive Has Died?
Normally we configure the ReadyNAS units to email us with any alert information we need to know; and we did with this unit as well.
Unfortunately, we did not test the emails after moving the ReadyNAS Ultra 2 Pluse to a new location with a different ISP that apparently was blocking outbound server emails (port 25 SMTP traffic).
However, if you have the ReadyNAS Ultra 2 Plus in a visible area, the unit also alerts you via LED’s on the front of the unit.
This video shows how the LED’s let you know that a hard drive has failed in the unit.
As you can see, the unit will tell you, you just have to pay attention!
ReadyNAS Ultra With 1 Hard Disk or 2?
We know that many providers of 2 drive network storage devices will sell and support the unit with only 1 hard drive. To us, this is short sighted.
The only real justification for that is if the NAS performs ONLY the job of backing up other data. But even then, if that is your only backup, and your sole hard drive dies, now you have NO BACKUPS!
How long is it before you replace that drive, either restore the configuration (if you had it backed up) or re-configure it and perform all of your backups? Naturally any historical backups would be gone.
Therefore, 2 drives in your NAS, configured in X-RAID (for ReadyNAS or normal RAID1 in another NAS product), and you won’t lose any data if you jump right in after a drive failure and get that drive replaced.
Unfortunately, there is a lag time especially if you have to ship in an under warranty drive to the warranty center and wait for a replacement.
Check Your Remaining Hard Drive’s Health
Since one new hard drive died, it made sense to check the health of the other drive. Fortunately it’s easy to check the hard drive SMART status in the ReadyNAS FrontView.
This is found under Home -> Status -> Health:
Look at all of the errors!
Not too many sectors reallocated, but this is simply not good.
Could there be a problem with the ReadyNAS firmware? Maybe, but the drive that failed we tested on a bench PC connecting it with our Vantec USB Hard Drive Adapter and testing it with Seagate’s SeaTools.
It passed the short test but miserably failed the long test. Not being under warranty, it’s going to head out to the shooting range to become a target.
As a result, we are going to take the opportunity to upgrade this Ultra 2 Plus to 3TB hard drives.
If you would like to learn more about ReadyNAS 2 drive NAS servers then see the full reviews of the: