BlackArmor NAS Install FAIL



  • So my wife's Macbook has unexpectedly died. It may be the hard drive, it may be something else. Naturally when fsck fails during a check, the first inclination would be to assume there is a problem with the filesystem (at least, that's my first inclination). So I asked my wife the obligatory question: are your backups up to date? Of course not. The last one was done a month ago. The reason? It's inconvenient to track down the external hard drive used for backups, plug it in, wait N minutes for it to back up, and put the thing away; this is a plausible reason, mind you, which led me to purchase a NAS. If there is an always-on, and always-available hard drive, then there is absolutely no excuse not to have a current backup.

    Now we are a Mac family (say what you will; it's what we have). So I went searching on newegg for a reasonably-priced home NAS solution. I found the Seagate BlackArmor 110, which boasts "Mac Support". I've always been endeared toward Seagate; after all, my wife's backup drive is a FreeAgent Go. So I make the order, and wait the obligatory three-day waiting period for the drive to arrive. I unwrap the "beast" and plug it into the network. I even went so far as to install their handy-dandy "discovery" app (note: I use Lion, and apparently when they burned the CD it had an "older" version that crashed in Lion; not so much a WTF, but a warning to any fellow Lion users out there, that you just need to go to their website and download the latest-and-greatest version... I digress). I was able to log into the NAS, and make my necessary configurations (i.e., change the admin password, set up custom shares, tick the Time Machine backup option, etc). This is where the real "fun" started.

    Mind you, this all started at about 9pm EST last night. For whatever reason, the fine folks </sarcasm> at Seagate decided that it was just too much trouble to have a NAS that simply made a hard-drive available on a network. While for the most part this is fine: their interface allows for easy share, user, and group creation, as well as a rudimentary *NIX-style read/read-write/no-access ACL system, but their "Mac Support" (specifically using Time Machine) is a bit different. In the beginning I saw that my Mac had "seen" a Time Machine share on the network. I was even able to begin copying my old Time Machine backups from my external hard drive. Unfortunately for me, I apparently was trying to copy WAY too much at once (almost 1TB of backups from my external, as well as about 200GB of movies/music from my hard drive) and my Finder decided to freak out and stop responding (probably because I bogged down the network, or some other WTF-worthy reason). So my only recourse was to reboot and start copying again - this time, I was going to only copy my old backups over and let the movies/music do its thing over night - at this time, it was about 11pm EST).

    After my computer booted back up, I - for the life of me - could not find that handy-dandy Time Machine share anymore. Did I bork something by rebooting during a copy? Was my network just being flaky (FWIW, I did have the sense enough to plug my laptop into the wired network to do the large copy operations)? I don't know. After deleting and creating new shares, unchecking and rechecking the "Backup" and "Time Machine" options (basically trying to recreate whatever combination I did to get the share the first time) I decided to just reformat and start over - maybe some reminant configuration was left behind that was getting in the way. [Ed. Let me just say, which is probably obvious to most of you, that formatting 3TB takes a looooooong time. Now we're at 12:30am EST - I wake up at 6am.]

    So I finally start trying to set the NAS up over again, and get that elusive Time Machine share back so I can copy my old backups over. After logging into the NAS fifty-billion ways (between the admin user and my personal user) I was finally able to find where the NAS "shared" the Time Machine share. The problem now was that the share is marked "read only", and I cannot copy my old data over. It dawned on me at one point that the NAS supports a USB-to-NAS backup operation, so I plugged my external into the NAS. Oh, did I mention that my external is formatted using the Mac's journaled filesystem? No? Well, it is, and the NAS does not support it.

    Wait, didn't I mention above that Seagate boasted "Mac Support"? Yes, I did, and no they really do not. Sure, they might speak the Time Machine backup protocol (at least, that's my assumption since there is an explicit option for it in the NAS admin panel), and it is supposed to auto-discover iTunes music. But to me that only seems like they "partially" support Macs, because to fully support Macs, shouldn't they also be able to read a Mac filesystem?

    Okay, so after that big long rant I come down to a question for you community members: can you recommend a decent and inexpensive home NAS solution that is easy to use, versus what I described above? I am going to return this monstrosity if I can't get any help from Seagate's support, and I would like to hear other people's experiences before buying another NAS.



  •  Synology. Several models, apparently with the same interface on all. I have the single drive model, and I'm using it for both WinXp and Linux backups (several different distros).

    I'm VERY pleased with it - good UI, lots of built-in apps (secure remote admin, secure remote FTP, etc), and a solid look and feel.

    Key point for me: As far as I can tell, it uses a standard file system, so if this device gets fried, I can take the drive out and use it elsewhere (I have a Netgear SC101 where that is not possible because of a retarded proprietary file system.).

    The Synology devices come out "Recommended" in every review I've seen of NAS devices.





  • I dislike Black Armor, but love Thecus, with my personal favoriet being the 5000 and 7000 series.



  • QNAP might be an option to look at. Disclaimer: I'm not a Mac user, but the FAQ list and product comparison charts seem to mention various Mac-relevant items.

    (Back when I was doing some research in to home NAS, QNAP and Synology both seemed to get a general thumbs up.)



  • If the primary purpose of the NAS device is Time Machine backups, maybe a Time Capsule would be a good solution?  (Buying the smallest capacity you can find and replacing the disk with the largest capacity you can find, naturally.)



  • @Rootbeer said:

    If the primary purpose of the NAS device is Time Machine backups, maybe a Time Capsule would be a good solution?  (Buying the smallest capacity you can find and replacing the disk with the largest capacity you can find, naturally.)

    Yes, in my sleepy stupor (at 2:30am) when I was laying in bed trying to relax enough to fall asleep, that thought did occur to me. Thank you for reminding me about it. I don't mind paying extra, if it means that it will ultimately make my [Mac] life easier. Also, +1 for the idea of "upgrading" it to a larger capacity. I'll have to check around for low prices.



  • @dohpaz42 said:

    Let me just say, which is probably obvious to most of you, that formatting 3TB takes a looooooong time.
     

    TRWTF is "full" formats... Did it not give you the choice for a quick format?



  • @dohpaz42 said:

    I don't mind paying extra, [Mac]
    Yes, we know.



  • We had deployed 10 Seagate Blackarmor's on client sites for backups (small businesses).

    After 6 of them failed in the first few months, we recalled them, sent them all back and replaced with qnaps. haven't had an issue yet but i have heard of people who have (in particular iscsi support does bad things)



  •  I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI:  The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).  Personally I don't like backup utilities, don't even use Time Machine.  I just have one script that reads a file, figures out which of the three hard drives got written to last, then writes to the next one in the sequence of three, so I always have three days worth of backup.  Way overkill for my home machine, but I've not lost a single thing in about 7 years with such backup zealotry, so I guess I'm doing something right.



  • @Master Chief said:

     I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI:  The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).  Personally I don't like backup utilities, don't even use Time Machine.  I just have one script that reads a file, figures out which of the three hard drives got written to last, then writes to the next one in the sequence of three, so I always have three days worth of backup.  Way overkill for my home machine, but I've not lost a single thing in about 7 years with such backup zealotry, so I guess I'm doing something right.

    As long as it works for you, then there is no argument there. At work I use rsnapshot to back up my workstation and servers. It's great because it's just a fancy wrapper around rsync (with the added bonus of auto-rotating backups by hour, day, week, and month; as well as easily telling me how much difference there is between backups (albeit, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to tell the individual differences in a nicely-formatted way)). But, for my home machines I wanted the Time Machine interface, because Time Machine gives you a graphical way to go to a specific point in time and view the files/folders using the Finder, which then would allow you to cherry-pick as much or as little of the backup to "restore". This is especially great if, say for example, you remember having deleted something that you had six months ago, and you can just go into Time Machine and pull it out of that snapshot.

    As for my main topic, it turns out that after leaving it alone for a couple of days - I haven't had the time to sit down with it until now - it seems to be working as I expect it to. It's making a backup of my drive right now, and I've begun the process of copying over my old backups into the backup share. I guess the WTF is on me for putting too much effort into it. Though, I still think that the way the NAS limits its users is still a WTF. But time will tell. I'm going to go ahead and give it a full shot and not return it, since my only reason to return it has fixed itself.



  •  All my important files (and quite a few unimportant ones!) are all on my server, with a ZFS zmirror and daily snapshots.  Those snapshots then get sent to a second drive on that same system where double-copies are stored.  They also get sent to a second system which keeps yet another mirror the originals.  About monthly I copy to a USB drive which I usually keep at work for short-term site-survivability and once a quarter I turn on the tape drive and burn a tape which I store at work for archival purposes.  Somehow, I've never considered USB drives particularly reliable, though for the use I am putting one to, I think it'd be fine even by itself.  If I didn't have the tapes, I'd probably rotate the monthlies with two drives.

    For about 6 years now I've had a tacit agreement with a friend 2500 miles away to swap backup space.  All we have to do is implement something.  sigh  One of these days. 



  • @Master Chief said:

    I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI: The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).

    Is rocking tits good or bad?



  •  @dohpaz42 said:

    @Master Chief said:

     I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI:  The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).  Personally I don't like backup utilities, don't even use Time Machine.  I just have one script that reads a file, figures out which of the three hard drives got written to last, then writes to the next one in the sequence of three, so I always have three days worth of backup.  Way overkill for my home machine, but I've not lost a single thing in about 7 years with such backup zealotry, so I guess I'm doing something right.

    As long as it works for you, then there is no argument there. At work I use rsnapshot to back up my workstation and servers. It's great because it's just a fancy wrapper around rsync (with the added bonus of auto-rotating backups by hour, day, week, and month; as well as easily telling me how much difference there is between backups (albeit, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to tell the individual differences in a nicely-formatted way)). But, for my home machines I wanted the Time Machine interface, because Time Machine gives you a graphical way to go to a specific point in time and view the files/folders using the Finder, which then would allow you to cherry-pick as much or as little of the backup to "restore". This is especially great if, say for example, you remember having deleted something that you had six months ago, and you can just go into Time Machine and pull it out of that snapshot.

    I just prefer simplicity.  I know the scripts backward and forward, how they work, how they can break, how to change them, etc.  And that keeps me from landing in situations like yours. :)

     



  • @pjt33 said:

    @Master Chief said:
    I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI: The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).

    Is rocking tits good or bad?
     

    Very good.



  • @Master Chief said:

    @pjt33 said:

    @Master Chief said:
    I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI: The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).

    Is rocking tits good or bad?

    Very good.

    You have extremely low standards. "Something that's worked in every other OS since like 1995 finally works on Macs! ROCK TITS!!!!"

    To make my contribution:
    1) My Mac is a MacBook Air with no disk space, but I have it sync with DropBox for my important stuffs, as long as my DropBox doesn't get too large it works out
    2) My PC backs-up the DropBox data and all my other stuff on a second HD in the same case using Windows Backup (and yes I know that's not a "real" backup)

    It turns out that the really important stuff I really need to back up all fits on DropBox. I used to use Mozy, but since it has to upload everything, backing up a big file in Mozy can sometimes take days of overnight uploads, which is just too long to get an effective backup. (If you, for example, rip 4-5 DVDs a day for a few days, it can take weeks before they're backed-up. The Real WTF is broadband in America, amirite?)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    The Real WTF is broadband in America, amirite?)

    No argument there!



  • TRWTF is that you acutally like seagate

    it's either WD, or it's shit



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Master Chief said:

    @pjt33 said:

    @Master Chief said:
    I just have a bash script auto-run on my iMac to backup my data to a shared drive on a Windows server (finally being able to reliably mount shares via samba via CLI: The one thing about Apple that even I can't deny rocks tits).

    Is rocking tits good or bad?

    Very good.

    You have extremely low standards. "Something that's worked in every other OS since like 1995 finally works on Macs! ROCK TITS!!!!"

    To make my contribution:
    1) My Mac is a MacBook Air with no disk space, but I have it sync with DropBox for my important stuffs, as long as my DropBox doesn't get too large it works out
    2) My PC backs-up the DropBox data and all my other stuff on a second HD in the same case using Windows Backup (and yes I know that's not a "real" backup)

    It turns out that the really important stuff I really need to back up all fits on DropBox. I used to use Mozy, but since it has to upload everything, backing up a big file in Mozy can sometimes take days of overnight uploads, which is just too long to get an effective backup. (If you, for example, rip 4-5 DVDs a day for a few days, it can take weeks before they're backed-up. The Real WTF is broadband in America, amirite?)

    Before my current Mac, my only experience outside Windows was Open Source Linux, and getting a samba share to mount in open source linux in the GUI, forgetting CLI scripts, is next to impossible. Therefore, from my perspective, this is extremely awesome that I can finally reliably back up my files on a linux OS to my storage server.


  • Just a follow-up to this thread: I found my problem to be something between the NAS and my D-Link router. The sad thing is, this has been a known problem for over a year, and Seagate is blind to fixing it. So on the principle of the matter, I've returned the NAS and purchased a Time Capsule instead. Sure, it costs a heck of lot more money, but at least I can be assured of complete compatibility - Hell, it's nice that there is a bonefide GUI, and not some crap web interface. On the plus side, my transfer rates peak out around 50-60/MBs, which is astronomically faster than the BA NAS provided, and if my router were to ever die, the TC can take its place. Sigh.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.