Why A NAS With RAID Is Cool

A Synology 412+ Network Attached Storage device (NAS) holds all of the my file-based music, i.e. all of the downloads I’ve purchased and all the CDs I’ve purchased and ripped. Like any library, that represents a significant investment in $ and time. The 412+ has four drive bays which I’ve loaded with four Western Digital 2TB hard disk drives (HDD). I have the NAS configured as a RAID array using Synology’s Hyrbid RAID with 1 disk-failure fault tolerance. Sounds cool, right?

I know, this stuff can sound drier than Grape Nuts (GN) cereal but here’s the cool part—last Saturday my Synology 412+ NAS started beeping (I have it set to do that). I logged into Synology’s browser-based Diskstation Manager software and quickly learned that one of my Western Digital drives had failed. Crap! That is so not cool. But…

…Since this failed drive was part of a RAID array with 1 disk-failure fault tolerance, it was as if nothing happened beyond the beep. I could still access and play all of my music. Needless to say, if I was using a a single drive and it failed, and I didn’t have a backup, I could be in big big trouble depending on the type of drive failure. I once had a HDD experience a mechanical failure which meant the data on the drive was not recoverable. It was gone forever (I had a backup but it was partial because the disk failed during a backup which corrupted the backup).

To fix my NAS, I just purchased another 2TB Western Digital drive from Amazon and slapped it into the slot where the failed drive lived. That took all of a minute. I then ran the Repair utility in Diskstation Manager which adds the new HDD to the RAID array thus becoming part of the family that stores and protects my investment in music.

The moral of the story—if you own or plan to buy a lot of downloads and/or rip CDs, you’ll want to seriously consider buying a NAS (from Synology or QNAP) and setting it up as a RAID array with fault tolerance for drive failure. I also highly recommend adding external backup, I use a USB drive directly attached to the Synology, as a true backup.