What happens if the enclosure fails?

The EX2 in RAID 1 mode will provide redundancy if one of the hard drives fail, but what happens if the drive enclosure fails in the future. If the drives are fine, can the data be copied from a drive by putting it in another external drive enclosure (without formatting the drive, of course), or can the data only be read if it is in an EX2? WIth the rapid changes in products, I’m worried the EX2 won’t be available in a few years.

RAID1 is for drive redundancy - not for backup. Though it can seem confusingly similar. Folks who put important data on their EX2s should also backup their EX2 data somewhere else. If the enclosure fails, RAID formatted drives won’t be readable by another device…the software RAID controller is proprietary. Only if you have another EX2 shell, you can be assured that if you put the disks in the same order in that shell, that they’ll work fine. But the chances of drive enclosure faling is very small compared to the inevitability of an HDD failure because HDDs have moving parts, while the enclosure does not. Sure, there is a PCB inside and all electronic boards slowly degrade over time, esp. capacitors, but their rate of degradation is much slower. But if that is your concern, you can always buy a diskless EX2 to future-proof yourself from that very small probability :slight_smile:

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This post indicates that the My Cloud Mirror may have drives others than the Red:

http://community.wd.com/t5/WD-My-Cloud-Mirror/difference-between-My-Cloud-Mirror-and-My-Cloud-EX2/td-p/732296

My plan is to definitely move to Red soon, but, for a short while, I’ll take a chance on my green drives. Of course, I’ll keep a close eye on them.

I think you responded in the wrong post - but that’s alright, I know you were responding to your other post ( http://community.wd.com/t5/WD-My-Cloud-EX2/Changing-Drives-in-the-My-Cloud-EX2/m-p/803147 ) . Thanks for linking to that old post where Bill, the chief moderator of this forum, clarified that though Mirrors will likely come with Red drives, it is not guaranteed to do so. Well, based on my anecdotal interaction with a couple Mirror users, they have Red drives in their My Cloud Mirrors. And based on many, many posts I have seen for the single-drive My Cloud, it appears WD never puts a Red drive in those - I have seen almost always posts (and youtube videos where someone cracked open the My Cloud’s shell) mentioning that they contain green drives. So it is my distinct impression, that WD almost always puts green drives in their single-bay My Cloud but the other 3 NASes (EX2/EX4/Mirror) comes with Red drives, regardless of what Bill has said in that linked post. But thanks again for the refresher.

the software RAID controller is proprietary

Are you sure about that ? I thought that EX2 uses some standard Linux software raid solution?

Yes, I am quite sure. Every major NAS vendor uses their proprietary RAID controller. Plus, I have seen WD staff commenting the same in other posts on this forum.

I must check this on my EX2, but that wouldn’t be good information. 

This means thet when EX2 fails after WDC qualify it as ‘discontinued product’ it would be impossible to recover data from drives.

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If you are willing to risk it then it would be great if you would pull one of your drives and mount it in a linux system to see if you can read the data. 

I disagree with Cybernut1 on this one, but I really cant afford to lose 3TB of data testing this theory.  Just because the hardware controller is specific to the EX2 that doesnt mean the data format is custom as well.  In fact, I’m certain that the data is formatted in one of the standard Linux formats and should be readable on another system if properly mounted.  It would be nice if we could get some WD input on this, perhaps someone can put in a ticket to WD support to ask this question?

Here is a link to a quick walk through on accessing the data of a raid1 disk on an Ubuntu system.

http://community.wd.com/t5/WD-ShareSpace/HOWTO-Recover-files-from-a-RAID-1-mirrored-drive-when-the/td-p/138448

Vertech1 wrote:

I disagree with Cybernut1 on this one, but I really cant afford to lose 3TB of data testing this theory.  Just because the hardware controller is specific to the EX2 that doesnt mean the data format is custom as well.  In fact, I’m certain that the data is formatted in one of the standard Linux formats and should be readable on another system if properly mounted.  It would be nice if we could get some WD input on this, perhaps someone can put in a ticket to WD support to ask this question?

Vertech1 - You misunderstood what I said. The drive formatting isn’t proprietary…the drives are formatted in standard Linux format ext4. A quick look at /etc/mtab would show you that. It is the propriteary RAID controller which determines how on a RAID drive the data is actually stored which would make it unreadable outside of the box - but I suspect that would happen only with RAID 0, and though does not apply in this case but for the EX4 product would also happen with RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10. But because there are only two drives in the EX2, I suspect with a RAID 1 formatted drive (when each drive is a standalone copy of the other), you might be able to read it from another Linux computer or from a Windows/Mac with a driver to read Linux ext4 formats. But someone can test and confirm that for a RAID 1 drive - that’s just my guess.

Vertech1 wrote:
Here is a link to a quick walk through on accessing the data of a raid1 disk on an Ubuntu system.

http://community.wd.com/t5/WD-ShareSpace/HOWTO-Recover-files-from-a-RAID-1-mirrored-drive-when-the/td-p/138448

This legacy WD ShareSpace product talks about RAID 1 drives…just as I suspected it might work for EX2 as well. And that was my guess only - not a confirmed fact. Someone can test and confirm it if they like.

Cybernut1,

So I must have misunderstood you when you said that the data could only be read if we had another enclosure to put the drives in?

"

Cybernut1 wrote:


RAID1 is for drive redundancy - not for backup. Though it can seem confusingly similar. Folks who put important data on their EX2s should also backup their EX2 data somewhere else. If the enclosure fails, RAID formatted drives won’t be readable by another device…the software RAID controller is proprietary. Only if you have another EX2 shell, you can be assured that if you put the disks in the same order in that shell, that they’ll work fine. But the chances of drive enclosure faling is very small compared to the inevitability of an HDD failure because HDDs have moving parts, while the enclosure does not. Sure, there is a PCB inside and all electronic boards slowly degrade over time, esp. capacitors, but their rate of degradation is much slower. But if that is your concern, you can always buy a diskless EX2 to future-proof yourself from that very small probability :smiley:

Vertech1, sorry for any confusion - I probably should have caveated my post by adding that for RAID1 it might work - but as I said in my first comment (excerpted in your post) - that you can be assured of readablity if you have another enclosure. But as of this point. I do not know for sure if RAID 1 drives will work or not outsde of the enclosure. JBOD drives probably will (I say probably only because I do not know if WD in a 2-drive JBOD setup spans the drives into one volume or keeps them as distinct volumes - I just have one drive in JBOD in my EX2) and RAID 0 certainly won’t.

This is what WD Support has to say about this;

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is [Deleted]

In regards to your request about mounting the internal hard drive in a Linux operating system in order to retrieve the data, since the file system in which the drives are formatted is compatible with Linux, you should be able to install the hard drive in a Linux system in order to retrieve the data, though this is not official nor we provide support for that procedure. You should be able to mount the drive in a Windows computer and attempt to recover the data by using a data recovery software.

Should you have any further questions, please reply to this e-mail and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
[Deleted]
Western Digital Service and Support
http://www.support.wdc.com

Thanks Vertech1 for following up with WD and providing the confirmation on the RAID1 scenario.