Buffalo LinkStation 220: first impressions

At the end of 2014 my Synology DS411slim decided to abandon me and a couple of weeks ago I have purchased this nas to store the data in the Synology until I could put some more thinking into an appropriate fix/hack/replacement.

I expected that the LS220 would be no match for the higher end brands in the SOHO area, but still I couldn’t help the first thought: cheap plastic.
Once it is filled with the two disks it feels a bit better thanks to the extra weight and reduced flex that they warrant to the device.
The setup was fairly smooth even if the quick startup guide could be better and the UI was all but exciting.
The same feeling as before: cheap.

In the end all I need in the short run is a SMB share to copy as much data as possible from the DS411Slim while it works before overheating.
For this basic use I consider the device as a good fit for a very convenient price, but then comes in the performance in my environment.

The best sustained writing rate I could get so far is 28MB/s on a cabled 1Gbit link while using disk2vhd to backup my notebook (98GB in about 57 minutes).
Compared to the 37-40MB/s that I was getting on the 4 years old DS411Slim (see this old post about encrypted vs. unencrypted writing speed I was experiencing) this is not a good number for this workload and makes the LS220D less suitable for one of my key use cases.

To conclude: if you have a pair of spare 3.5″ drives in a drawer the LS220D is an expensive way (I paid mine 69.99€) to put them to work for the benefit of the entire house.
If you are planning to purchase the drives for the purpose of putting together a NAS you should really shop for a higher class NAS than the LS220D.

My DS411slim went south

It was a while that I was traveling quite a bit and giving little attention to my home NAS.
It was getting stuck from time to time but I was not really worried.

For Christmas I had some spare time and decided to do some much-needed backup: the notebook to the NAS and then the NAS to a USB disk that I usually keep disconnected to be on the safe side.

Things did not work out as planned because the DS411Slim was not running long enough for me to complete even the first step.
Status led a solid blue, network led blinking, but no data movement at all and it will not shutdown using the physical button.
Only way to restart the NAS was plugging the power and as you know this is not the nicest thing to do to a disk with data being written to it.

I did it once.
I did it twice.
I did it one time too many and got the status led blinking nonstop.
Not good.
One of the disk’s metadata was corrupted and the mirror diskgroup in degraded state.

Situation was bad but not tragic: I decided to reverse the order of activities and do the NAS backup first using the disk still working.
This worked fine.
Then I decided to hack the fan control file to make the fan spin faster as suggested in and then did the notebook backup using from Microsoft.
This worked fine again.

I felt all my problems were fixed, but I was soon proved wrong.
Due to the scarcity of space on the share I decided to let the NAS compress the .vhd file by issuing the command through the web file manager and I got hit by the CPU overheat issue again even if the fan was clearly spinning (relatively) fast.
I did another try at the compression after restarting the NAS and it went down again: cpu in the web interface appeared to be in the 52-53 celsius last time I checked before going to sleep, but in the morning the system was stuck again.

I have almost alternatives: I have to mod the device.
One option is to replace the fan: maybe it just got tired after a few years and can’t spin as fast as it should.
Another option is to use a thermal adhesive to attach a finned heat sink to the CPU: the heat spreader (irreplaceable) is absolutely untouchable (I mean burning) when the system is blocked hence it can clearly benefit from a better heat dissipation.
Before I go down this road I need to have a failsafe solution hence I ordered a cheap Buffalo LinkStation 220 with a pair of 1TB disks where I will copy all the content of the Synology.

Synology DS411slim: getting slower with time?

I’ve written in the past a few posts about this small nice NAS: here, herehere and here.

Yesterday I did another test after updating the complete local copy of my gmail messages on Thunderbird.
It took 4 hours 33 minutes to compress 11,548,610,909 bytes (578 Files, 61 Folders) to a single 7zip file of 7,108,652,903 bytes: it is a lot of time.
16.380 seconds of runtime means an average read/write speed of 1.139.027 bytes per second.

Both the NAS and the computer I used are connected with 1Gbit copper ethernet to the same switch: during the process the usage stats on the windows 7 (64 bit) machine indicated almost no load and the same was true for the NAS according to the web interface.

The DS411slim is running version 4.2-3202 with 3 HDDs in a single disk group using SHR (Synology Hibrid RAID)

This is really puzzling. And a bit upsetting.
Any suggestion to recover from this bad performance is welcome.