Thecus NAS devices – when things go weird

I’ve use a few Thecus NAS devices, but most of my experience has been with the N8800Pro and the N5200XXX. Both have, at various times, given me a great deal of grief.

The first thing to note is that these devices are only doing software RAID. This is a pain, because of the performance implications. This is also a boon, because of the recovery options it gives you. Either way, it’s good to know before you buy.

The second thing to note is that a power failure can, on occasion, cause disks in the array to be incorrectly flagged as failed. If you are very unlucky, this may cause your array to not only become degraded, but also just to fail to mount. If you can pull the disks out and identify them, you can force the disk improperly flagged to be marked clean and remount your array. Slot the disks back in to the Thecus (you labelled them, right?) and everything should start normally.

The third thing to note (and the inspiration for writing this post) is that sometimes, when you change the network configuration, the Thecus will start to lie to you. It will claim that it is restarting, but isn’t. Or that it is shutting down, but isn’t. Or that it is changing the network configuration, but, you guessed it, IT ISN’T. Pings are maintained the whole way through these procedures, as is access to the admin web interface.

This is bollocks.

The only way I’ve found to get around this rubbish cleanly is to install the HiSSH module from Thecus. When you have downloaded and installed, make sure you activate it. Use Putty to connect to the IP of the Thecus, and use the username ‘root’ and your usual admin password. The just use the bash command ‘reboot’ and you’re away.

If you own a Thecus NAS and it’s compatible with that module, download, install and activate it now. If things seem screwy, you’ll have another hammer to bash away at the problem with.

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