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HELP! How to salvage data from a failed RAID1 setup (Hammer MyShare)

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September 8, 2008 6:12:59 PM

Hello all,

Situation:
I purchased a 1 TB Hammer MyShare NAS *almost* a year ago and for some reason, the unit refuses to power on as of last night. The LED on the power adaptor brick is flashing on/off when I plug it into the NAS but is strangely solid green when it is removed.

Anyhow, I contacted Hammer's Tech Support and the tech is going to send a replacement cord out today for me to try. The problem is that I don't think that a new cord will fix things and the unit itself is bad.

My problem is that if I send it back for warranty coverage, Hammer's tech support will only send me a new unit and I lose all my data. The tech support rep said that my only other choice is to break the warranty seal and pull the drives out and have someone extract the data. Although $500 would go down the drain, I would still be able to keep all of my files (which is probably what I'm going to do).

Specifics:
Long story short, I had the NAS set up in a RAID1 configuration where data is mirrored on both drives. I've heard that you cannot simply plug a mirrored drive in and copy the data off to your PC. I'm afraid that there is a way to salvage the data with some specialized software but I don't know what to do.

Can someone help with this? The Hammer tech support cannot advise me how to do this (because it voids the warranty), and all they could say is that I have to take it to "someone who knows how to do this."

Thank you for your help!
a b G Storage
September 8, 2008 6:26:37 PM

The implementation of RAID 1 is usually such that the drives can be used outside the RAID 1 if it breaks. In other words, you can generally take one of the drives of the RAID 1 and put it in another computer by itself, and read your data like normal.
September 8, 2008 6:52:19 PM

That blinking led when connected sound like a short circuit, maybe your box is fine, do you know or are aware of any smoke coming out of the NAS box (or any smell of burn inside the NAS) maybe to much time passed for it to be noticeable it could be the controller board or one of the drives.

Maybe If you want to resort to opening the seal you can try blowing hot air to it and peel it of carefully I dont see it right that you loose your data or loose the NAS, whats wrong with that company?

The NAS itself appear to be user serviceable or very sealed like a consumer electronic device? The drives look to be in craddles? This really piss me off...

Sorry to hear you are in such a choice more without knowing it both drives are fried...

I hope it only the power brick that enter in short when loaded and that nothing Is wrong with your Box, If that is the problem I recomend you use that NAS in a completely diferent way as a RAID 1 that leave you out of warranty in event of needing recovery don't sound to to prectical.

Good luck.
September 8, 2008 7:20:16 PM

I would call back and ask to talk to someone higher on the food chain or e-mail customer support ( just for documentation ) tell them the reason you got there product was so you would not loose info and this need to be made right !!!
September 8, 2008 9:20:18 PM

Thank you everyone, for your help.

- I've read a couple of reviews of the unit where they've gotten into the unit to see how it's built, but I've read that there might be a problem getting the data if I plug one of the RAID 1 drives into my PC. Is there a chance that a RAID 1 HDD will fail if plugged into a PC without a RAID controller present?

I was always under the impression that RAID 1 drives are simply mirrored and that there isn't any striping to complicate matters.

- I didn't smell any smoke or anything similar, but I'm hoping that the replacement cord/transformer is all that I need. The funny thing is that the tech asked if I had a similar power adaptor that I could use, and I thought that was pretty scary to ask a customer to test. What if the voltage is wrong and I fry the unit or worse?

The Hammer MyShare unit can be opened from the rear, but it will tear a warranty seal. I've convinced myself that I'll have to break the warranty to save the data, but I'm going to wait until the replacement AC cord/transformer comes by mail.

- I am very close to attempting to escalate my troublecall, but it really seems that they're a small tech shop (even though they're a division of Bell Micro). I'm pretty sure that I'll be out of a NAS very soon though.

As far as a replacement NAS, I'm looking at a Synology NAS http://www.synology.com/enu/products/CS407e/index.php as I doubt that I could afford a ReadyNAS unit. If anyone has any suggestions for a reasonably priced NAS, I'd love to know what you think. Thanks again!
September 11, 2008 4:36:56 AM

In case anyone was wondering what was happening with this situation, I received the replacement power cord today from BellMicro and sure enough... my Hammer myShare NAS still refuses to power on. The replacement cord is displaying the same activity that the original cord did.

So the unit still refuses to power on, and I have about a week left of warranty coverage. The tech rep stated that if the replacement cord didn't fix the problem, I have to send back the entire unit and they will replace it with another.

Here's the catch(22): I have personal data still on the drives, and the unit cannot be powered on. Therefore, how do I format the drives to prevent personal data (including billing info and job resumes) from being exposed? BellMicro has already stated that they won't salvage the data because they don't have the facilities to do so, but I have to return the unit without opening it if I want to get a replacement?

What's going to happen to my data?

This isn't right. BellMicro is saying that I (the customer) have to abide by their warranty policy and put my data at risk if I want a replacement unit. I don't know of any other NAS manufacturer that prevents its users from accessing the physical drives like this. In case of unit failure, the user's data cannot be erased and must be sent to the manufacturer without any assurances or guarantees that the data will be destroyed.

This should be addressed here. I would recommend that NO ONE buy any BellMicro/Hammer NAS products until they change this horrible policy. If a customer cannot be sure that their data will not be exposed if they do not break the warranty and format the drives, are they stuck with a dead unit (like myself)?

Here's my reply to the tech rep at BellMicro/Hammer:
Quote:
Hello -------,

I received the power cord this afternoon and as I suspected, my MyShare NAS didn't power on with the replacement cord either. This means that the unit itself is defective and needs to be replaced since it is still under warranty.

My issue with this is that the current warranty policy requires the unit to be replaced, but in the process I'll also lose all data on the drives. In addition to losing the data, I am unable to format the drives since the unit doesn't power on. This results in my personal data (including resumes, and billing information) to be live and intact when it is returned to BellMicro.

As you can imagine, this is not acceptable under any circumstances. A customer's personal data cannot be compromised because of a warranty policy, and I will need to talk to someone in your company's management to address this. The idea of a manufacturer producing a NAS unit that will not allow customers access to that unit's drives is unacceptable.

I appreciate the assistance that you've provided, and I wish to state that your customer service was wonderful. But I have an issue with BellMicro's warranty policy and the potential problem with my data being compromised if I am forced to return this unit to your company without the opportunity to either salvage or erase the contents.

Please let me know how we can proceed. I have only a week left on my warranty period, and I only want my data back.

Thank you.
September 11, 2008 9:25:35 PM

Have you got a reply?
September 11, 2008 9:49:26 PM

I heard back from BellMicro's tech rep this morning, who offered to send back an empty NAS enclosure. This is so that I could move my drives there (and hopefully recover the data).

I'm more or less certain that I'll forfeit any warranty replacement, but I'm very happy that BellMicro's tech support were trying to help me more than what I was originally told.

Hopefully the new enclosure will recognize my existing RAID 1 array, and all will be good.

Thanks for everyone's advice and help!
September 25, 2008 10:31:44 PM

You might wish to take a look at Drobo - it's not the cheapest,* but it appears they use the best things from Raid and add to it to back things up - plus hot swappable drives, so if a drive goes bad, you won't lose anything - just pop a fresh drive in and it'll rebuild your data. It appears the unit is available during the rebuild too.

I looked at lots of solutions. Infrant is really nice, but since they got bought out, too many bucks for my wallet. I like the Drobo deal because I can set and forget it, and it appears to have a healthy 3rd party add-on developer community. So, I picked one up last night from Newegg plus two Seagate 1.5TBs. We'll see how it goes. Wasn't real happy that the NAS stuff is in a standalone "Droboshare" unit, but what the heck, got that too.

I mention all this because I too have a 1TB Hammer Myshare, running as one big drive (JBOD). (My bad, never again, big storage pools need RAID)

The Hammer Myshare was the cheapest 1TB NAS I could find, and after looking at the glowing reports of people (many who had owned it a month or less, I bought it. But the main reason I bought it was price. I could've gotten an Infrant ReadyNAS, but my wallet was screaming 'No, No!' so I got the Hammer.**

About a week ago, one of the two drives went belly up. (according to the internal Hammer Myshare log, it failed SMART testing) I'm four months out of warranty, so that's that, as they say.

I did send an email off to Tech Support, documenting what happened. No reply. Waited three days, and resent the same email with a more emphatic request. Still no reply.

I should've known better - heck, they don't even have a problem reporting/ticketing system, so no way to officaily document my displeasure with the Myshare failing way before it should have and then my getting zero response to my emails, to make things even worse. Anyway, none of the data was critical, had it backed up elsewhere, but still, an expensive learning experience.

Anyway, there are many backup solutions, and I suggest you take some time to investigate them so you can weigh the pros and cons of each solution. For me, I like "set it and forget it," hot swapping and the active third party add-on community. If it wasn't them, I'd go for a driveless Infrant ReadyNAS, or whatever Netgear calls it now.

**Yeah, I got the hammer, alright.
September 25, 2008 11:33:58 PM

I'm sorry to hear about your Hammer MyShare but I am also seeming to be getting the runaround from BellMicro as well.

After speaking to a tech and getting assurances that I would be shipped an empty enclosure on 9/11, I have yet to receive the enclosure. I have made two inquiries with the same technician who has said that she'd look into the status of the enclosure, but I have not heard back from her yet.

I hope that anyone reading this thread thinks twice about purchasing a Hammer product. I cannot understand how these companies insist on their customers not being able to handle the drives (in case of failure) with the threat of pulling the factory warranty.

I will look at Drobo products, but I have also been looking at Synology's products too. Thanks.
September 26, 2008 3:32:21 AM

It's unfortunate Hammer has not sent you an enclosure yet,
_nor found the time to status you._
Your data is valuable to you, and you'd think they'd "get it." With customer sat like yours and mine, they're on the fastpath to business craterization.

As a last resort, you might consider escalating your problem and lack of rep responsiveness to a Hammer supervisor. If you decide to go that route, make sure you get full names and job titles (or unique company identifiers if they have privacy issues) If no help, go further up.

Eventually, you should find someone who will help you, especially if you remind them how customers now have lots of public ways to recount their aftersale experiences -- areas like this, resellerratings dot com, and so forth.

One snippet - I note from Drobo's website, if the unit is under warranty/extended warranty, Drobo will send a drive case to you in advance if yours gets sick. Pop out your drives, slap them into the new unit and you're back up again if the problem was the case. Right then and there, you know whether the culprit is the drives or the case.

Whatever happens, be it Synology, Drobo, or eventual satisfaction from Hammer, good luck to you and please let us know how things turn out.

I'm off now to discover if a Drobo and a barebones HP Mediasmart Home Server will play well together, happily merging their features and advantages.
September 26, 2008 3:41:37 AM

I have looked at Drobo's offerings and another network-related site mentioned that the performance of Drobo's setup (I'm guessing with the optional network add-on) is not that high. What are your impressions of Drobo's performance and quality?

I have to admit that they have the ease-of-use aspect of external storage perfected.

Thank you again for your advice. I appreciate it.
September 26, 2008 5:12:25 PM

Most talk I found seems to be about the old Drobo, which had no Firewire and an underperforming USB 2.0 implementation.

The Drobo 2 came out a few months ago with Firewire 800, a more powerful CPU, improved USB 2.0 speeds and a quieter fan.

I found a graph on the Drobo website, comparing Drobo 1 and 2, here's the D2 speeds:
Firewire 800: ~ 45 MB/sec read, ~34MB/sec write. See their website for more detailed info, but take manf. specs with a grain of salt)

I also found this from a D2 user: "I am using it on a mixed environment network with no compatibility problems. It is very fast, and very easy. I am using mine for all of my videos streamed to our TVs. IT ABSOLUTELY WORKS WONDERFULLY! It can simultaniously stream mp4 videos to 2 TVs while having data copied to it.... all without any hiccups."

Another person is using a D2 with the Firewire 800 interface to their Mac and say they're getting 40MBsec speeds. Since I don't have mine yet, I can't tell you for sure what's what. My XP Pro machine has a Firewire 400 interface and USB 2.0, so I'll see what speeds I get when the Drobo arrives. Another factor is my computer hard drive's max data rate for large files. If things go well, my sata HD could be the limiting factor.

As time goes on, a gigabit card and switch might be added if I'm not completely overjoyed with the Firewire 400/USB 2.0 speeds.

I might also look into what a HP Mediasmart Windows Home Server/Drobo combination will do for me. Supposedly, the Mediasmart WHS will do smart backups of all computers on the network, create bare metal system restore images for each, and use the Drobo hooked to it for its storage.

This would give me a smart backup machine with server capabilities using a Raided hot swap array for storage, since the Mediasmart presently doesn't come with Raid. I need to investigate the Mediasmart/Drobo combination thing a lot more before I go down that road and since all that's off in the future, it might never happen.

In the meantime, I need to find a Firewire 800->400 conversion cable/plug pretty quick, I forgot all about that.

October 15, 2008 5:45:33 AM

In case anyone is wondering, I STILL HAVEN'T RECEIVED MY REPLACEMENT ENCLOSURE FROM BELL MICRO/HAMMER. It's been two weeks since I last heard from the Bell Micro Tech Support (email), and I sent a blunt email to her and the entire Hammer Tech Support department this afternoon.

It's been nearly two months since my in-warranty unit failed and I'm almost a month out of warranty thanks to this company.

I cannot stress how disappointing this is to deal with a company like Bell Micro / Hammer. DO NOT PURCHASE THEIR PRODUCTS if you want to avoid situations like this. My hard drives are still in the dead enclosure and I'm debating whether to attempt a salvage as recommended previously.

Buyer beware.
October 15, 2008 8:00:22 AM

Sorry to hear that you've not heard back from Bell Micro. With the explosion of NAS devices, I doubt they'll be around much longer.

I continue to test my Drobo + Droboshare, but am not happy with transfer speeds. I have a Gigabit NIC card and cat 6 cable coming in shortly, will post an update when I see what that speed looks like, but from what I've seen so far, I am not expecting any miracles - - the device appears to be slow. If this trend continues, back it goes.
January 30, 2009 2:14:28 PM

bolobolo said:
Sorry to hear that you've not heard back from Bell Micro. With the explosion of NAS devices, I doubt they'll be around much longer.

I continue to test my Drobo + Droboshare, but am not happy with transfer speeds. I have a Gigabit NIC card and cat 6 cable coming in shortly, will post an update when I see what that speed looks like, but from what I've seen so far, I am not expecting any miracles - - the device appears to be slow. If this trend continues, back it goes.


I stumbled upon this chain in looking into the latest Hammer MyShare devices (I have a 1TB model also NOT in RAID configuration so feeling a bit exposed)....so thinking of getting another since the price of the 2 TB is less than what I paid for the 1 TB 1.5 years back...but changed my mind after reading this.

Thanks for the great info - sorry anybody had to go through this though.

My Question: I too have read great things (lately) about DroboShare so this thread is all th emore interesting since I'm looking at those also - Did you get the Gigabit NIC card/Switch and test the speeds? I have a Gigabit setup here at home and know that I'm limited by the HD speeds themselves, but wondering how the Droboshare will perform?

The MyShare has worked well as far as streaming video to my AppleTV...no issues there but backups are still slow even on a gigabit setup...just not sure if that's a result of the MyShare or some other issue?

Any updated info on this thread and especially on the DroboShare would be appreciated. OR if anyone has any other feedback on other NAS devices.

Thanks all
!