We just had a really nice two week vacation to Mexico – post with photos coming later – but while on vacation the monthly S.M.A.R.T. Hard Drive Health Report ran on the Synology NAS. Soon after the email of that report, I got an email alert that a drive had failed due to a sharp spike in bad sector count. Uh oh…
Sitting in the hotel suite in a remote beachside Oaxacan resort, I switched on the Wireguard app on my phone and navigated to my Synology interface and saw that Drive 2 had a “Crashed” status. This is the Synology DS1621+, and I had all 6 bays filled with WD Red 4TB drives. I setup this NAS as the hybrid Synology RAID (SHR) with data protection for 1-drive fault tolerance, so I knew I was fine until returning home.
Arriving back home on a Saturday I could hear the “beep beep beep” coming from the rack that the Synology was mounted in. This was my first drive failure, so I didn’t know about the audible alarm. I looked up the Synology guide for how to handle the situation: Remove the drive, replace with a new one, execute a Repair on the volume. Only one problem, I didn’t have a spare.
This is where I had to chuckle to myself, since I had always heard that one should have a spare laying around when running a NAS. I was still fine, and since this was a home NAS that the critical data was being CloudSync’ed to a BackBlaze B2 bucket, I wasn’t in any danger. However, this was noted in case I have a client someday that is running a business. I unlocked the Drive 2 bay, slid the drive out and removed it from the hot-swap tray. Then in the UI, I muted the audible alarm.
Looking at the failed drive serial I looked up the original order on Amazon and the warranty had expired a half a year earlier.
I had heard that Synology was starting to be more critical about which drives they would support, so I took a look on their compatibility guide and learned that they prefer the WD Red Pro version of the drives that I am using. Looking on Amazon I sought out the recommended model and added two to the cart at $83 each. This is where I have to give kudos to Amazon – the default shipping option for the hard drives was overnight, arriving at my doorstep between 4am to 8am. And sure enough, they arrived at 8am. Amazing!
Knowing that hard drive failure was a fact-of-life when running a NAS, I started a new procedure with the new drives and wrote on the boxes the date they were acquired. The labels on the boxes have the matching model and serial numbers for the drives. In case any of these fail within the warranty period, I can easily tell and have the original box to return them in.
I installed one of the new drives into the hot-swap tray and slid it into the bay. Then in the UI, selected the degraded Volume 1 – in my simple home use case, we only have one volume – and started the Repair wizard. On the second screen, it asked me if I wanted to use the new hard drive to repair the volume, clicked yes, and then it was on it’s way to being repaired. Time until finished at 5.86% done was approximately 12.5 hours.
Quick Update: It occurred to me that I should pause the live recording from my security cameras to the NAS while the rebuild of the volume was taking place, so I disabled them. The repair rate looks like it is speeding up. This sort of feels like something that should be asked as part of the repair wizard – Do you have any automated tasks that should be paused while the repair is happening? Anyway, I’m still impressed with the Synology and very happy to have one.