Expansion possibilities for EX4

What expansion possibilities are there when I reach the maximum capacity of an EX4?

Can additional units be linked perhaps with additional RAID volumes? i.e. Not just extending the initial volume but creating additional volume/s.

Hi, let me see if I understand.

You want to expand the capacity of the EX 4 not just adding additional drives to the enclosure, if this is the case then there are a few ways you could expand the capacity that come to mind.

  1. Add USB drives to the USB ports in the back.
  2. You can use Volume Virtualization and map iSCSI drives on another system and present to them as volumes on the My Cloud.

Thanks for the reply.
Let me be a little more forthcoming. I am setting up a home based office and at the present time do not know how much storage will be needed to backup all the machines in the LAN and VPN. If I purchase a fully populated 4TB EX4 and it starts to run out of space I could of course re populate the EX4 with 6TB HDDs. but as I understand it there is no way to migrate the 4TBs to 6TBs with offloading all the data and reloading it again. A very time consuming task.
From your answer I believe you are saying that there are no WD Accessories/External enclosures which can be attached to the original EX4.
Am I correct?

You are correct there are no accessories that would allow you to access the data that you have on the original volume, however If you already have the 4x 4TB drives you can put those drive on an empty EX 4 enclosure and have access to the data that way.

Thanks again for your reply.
Judging from what you say I do not think the EX4 is the device for my business.

The answer provided by IIuna is incorrect.

-IF- you have your EX4 running in Raid 5, then you have the ability to expand the capacity - e.g. from 4x3TB - 9 usable TB, to 4x6TB - 18 usable TB. You do this by going to Storage tab>RAID Screen>Change RAID Mode Button>selected Raid 5>check Expand Capacity>click Next.

You will follow the procedures - these are in summary - starting with drive 1 the blue light will change to red and you will be asked to remove the disk in drive 1 and replace it with the higher capacity drive, the system will rebuild the Raid array incorporating this new larger drive. Once the first drive is assimilated, next the light on drive 2 will go to red and you repeat the process. Once you have repeated this for all drives and all drives are now assimilated, the system will respan the raid array and will set the usage and size of the array based on the size of the smallest HD used. If you started with 4 3TB disks and end with 4 6TB disks, the respanned array will have 18 TB of usable space.

This expansion is only offered on the EX4, or so WD Tech support so informed me.

This procedure is called Vertical Expansion by Synology and Netgear - both of which support this upgrade procedure!

I am sorry it has taken so long to get a complete answer to this question. I have already chosen an alternative supplier.

Your explanation is good and pretty clear. I have one question. I want to expand only one drive out of 4. I currently have 4 1TB drives. I’d like to exchange one of the 1TB drives for a 4TB drive, thus expanding the capacity. Possible? I have tried and now it is asking to exchange the second drive, which I don’t want to do.

WD’s expansion is not working … see this link:

  1. The expansion will transition your existing array onto larger capacity drives (and will require you to do this for all 4 disks - more below), but then will not expand them and in fact you will loose your entire array (!) at the end of the integration of the 4 drives and a reboot of the EX4. The initial part of the expansion (a rebuild of your existing array onto larger drives) can be duplicated if you have Auto Rebuild On, that is, you remove one of the disks and the system will report your array as degraded (assuming you have a 4-drive based Raid 5 array). However, you will accomplish nothing in the way of a utilization of the extra space of the new disk(s) - you will have a Raid 5 array of the same size with unused space on the disks.

  2. … (more below) … My advice is the following: 1. Back up your Entire EX4 onto a USB hard disk. 2. Order enough disks of the same size to create a larger Raid 5 volume. 3. Reformat the single large disk you now have integrated into your existing Raid 5 array. 4. Place all 4 new larger (empty) disks into the EX4 and create a Raid 5 array (empty). 5. Restore your files from the USB hard disk onto this new larger Raid 5 array.

  3. There may be something you can do with the extra space on the one drive larger drive, and you could perform all of the steps in 2. above to create a new Raid 5 array with 1 larger drive and 3 smaller ones, but I am not certain about this.

  4. To my knowledge, now that you have started this expansion - the only way to get out of it is to do either steps 2 or 3 above - you have to start all over using the steps outlined!

I hope all of the above is lucid and helpful - write back if not.

So just to be perfectly clear, do all 4 drives in the EX4 running raid5 have to be the same size?

No, you can have any variety/size of disks making up your 4-disk Raid 5 array, but the array will be limited in capacity/size to the smallest disk used in the array. Adding larger disks to an array of smaller disks is useless, you will not get any extra capacity from the larger disks used. To expand an existing array, you need to follow step 2 above - backup your existing array on USB hard drives, remove your existing array, install 4 new larger disks and follow steps to create an empty Raid 5 array, restore your files to this new larger array from your USB backup. Remember, you still have your old array on the 4 smaller disks you removed (keep them safe until you have restored all your files from the USB disks).