A NAS-ty Problem

Terra-Master NASSo, I was moving some bits of tech around on Sunday, tidying up leads and replugging network cables in preparation for – some time soon – the passing of control for DNS and everything from my old router to my new Mesh Network controllers.

Only one thing didn’t go as planned, I accidentally pulled out the power lead going into my NAS.

Yes, I have backups, but a couple of days old.

But I was not too concerned – this NAS has proved to be terribly resilient, and it soon powered up again. But then I ran into problems.

Two of the four disks run as a RAID1 device, and in setting it up at the start, I decided to encrypt the volume. There was some good reason – the network stuff used to live in my hallway, and I was thinking of the dangers of someone lifting a disk out of the rack. However, this does mean after every power up, I have to mount the volume again with a password.

And this was the problem. The web interface of the NAS had recently changed, and I could no longer find the dialog that let me mount a passworded encrypted volume.

After titting around a bit, I discovered that if I rebooted it, it came up with a mount wizard. But that only let me choose which volume to mount (and my volume was there!). But there was no-where to type in a password, so – predicatably – the mount failed.

(I later viewed the source of this page, and saw there was a DIV containing password entry, but set to display:none. Thanks, guys.)

I logged a call to Terra-Master support yesterday, and today someone took over my spare laptop. They’d offered to do it yesterday, but at 2am, and I wasn’t letting anyone access my network while I was in bed.

A summary of the support call:

○ “The new TOS no longer supports encrypted volumes” is obviously false, it is merely that the web interface does not provide a way to mount them. The fact that the techie was able to telnet into the device and mount the drive says it all.

○ Just mounting the drive was not the solution, as I would have the same problem at the next power-off. So we would need to reconfigure, which meant backing up the newly mounted drive. He proposed we switched back to the old version that worked. I replied “But won’t it try to upgrade itself again?” Duh.

○ Telling the guy that there was no need to back up the media files (which are in a separate folder, change seldom, and I have two existing backups of) resulted him in telling the system to back up everything. “It won’t take long”.

○ This led to him asking me if I thought all my files had backed up *every* time the scrolling command line screen paused for a particularly large video file. “This is taking a long time”. “Yes, it is a 1.8Tb volume.”

○ In the end, I explained that I could see the volume was mounted, and yes I understood that was temporary; but I could probably take it from here. That way I could back up the stuff that actually needed backing up, and not worry that he was going to think “It’s stopped – ok, that’s it”. Someone later pointed out that he was probably cursing me for robbing him of his solitaire-playing time.

I’ve decided that volume encryption is more trouble for me than it is worth. Especially as the NAS now is in a more secure place, behind the sofa. Security by obscurity, and Parker Knoll.

So after the backup is complete, I’ll scrap the volume and start again. But I am still not impressed with a new release that shipwrecks installations that were valid under the old one.

3 Comments

  1. chris
    chris
    February 22, 2020

    It turned out to be even more complicated. After the backup was complete, I deleted my unused Volume 3, as an experiment. I found that although the Storage Pool was immediately recreated, I could not mount a volume on it.

    I’m so glad I didn’t do that with my main Volume!

    But it didn’t make any difference, because when I contacted TerraMaster support, they deleted all my Volumes with great confidence, then ran into exactly the same problem.

    So it then had to wait until the next day, for “senior support” to look at it. They went in at command line level, and eventually I had all 4 disks in a common RAID-10.

    What the exact problem was, I don’t know, but it seemed that the GUI of the new software was not compatible with configurations allowed by the old software.

  2. chris
    chris
    February 22, 2020

    Then I tried to restore my backup, and found the new GUI forced it to be restored not to where it came from, but in a separate folder sharing the same name as the backup drive.

    So after the restore, which took hours, I then have copy/move the files to the right directories; which again took hours.

    Bottom line, though; I have all my data, in a configuration that is better than what I had before.

    And although TerraMaster support took a while to sort things out (and sometimes appeared to be as puzzled as me), they kept at it, and were happy to assist.

  3. chris
    chris
    February 22, 2020

    Others have pointed out that a command line “mv” would have dealt with the copy/move much quicker.

    But I am not a Linux person, which is why I deliberately purchased a product with a GUI.

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