Fun with my My Book World Edition II

After the house fire in 2010, we picked up a My Book World Edition II to house all of our files that we did not want to loose (such as photos, videos of the girls, and so on).  Before the fire, I had a software RAID 5 going in one of the servers I had at the house.  Fortunately, that server was the one the fire department picked to throw out the back window during the fire and it sat out in the water hoses and rain.  The good thing was that I was doing forensics at the FBI then so I was able to recover data off the drives (all Western Digital) and transferred them to the My Book.

A week or so ago, I had to power off the My Book to take care of something.  After I turned it back on I noticed that the LED on the front had the ominous “something is wrong with me” flash going on.  I logged in and it didn’t see one of the drives at all and claimed it was missing.  ssh’d into the drive and sure enough the drive was not being detected by the kernel when it booted.

I took the drive out and put it in a USB enclosure to see what was wrong.  The SMART status said it was OK until I tried to do an extended SMART test of the drive.  It erred out with a bad sector.  Out of curiosity I ran badblocks against it to see how many sectors were bad in case I could try to coax it back to life.  A day and a half later (was a 2TB drive), badblocks finished but I noticed it wouldn’t list all of the bad sectors it had found on the drive.  I poked around some more and eventually found that badblocks had recorded 30 GIGABYTES of bad sectors.  Not K, not Meg, but gig.  OK drive is dead.

I had another 2TB drive in the server that I was using for temp storage when I would process things.  Also had my virtual machines and PostGIS database on it.  I figured I could use that as the new drive B in the RAID so I backed up everything from the remaining drive in the My Book and on the drive in the server to another USB drive, cleared the partition table, and put it into the My Book.

The expected behavior when you do this is that when you turn the My Book back on, it will see the new drive and rebuild the RAID to the drive as I had the My Book running RAID 1.  No such luck in my case.  At this point it would just sit and not finish booting (the My Book Worlds are embedded Linux devices for the uninitiated).  I finally found this article online that had a recovery script that would wipe a drive, download the WD firmware, and re-image the drive.  Took both drives out of the WD, re-imaged the working A drive, and put it back in.  Finally it successfully booted again and thought itself a brand new WD mybook (just in degraded mode as there was no drive B).  Turned it off, put the drive from the server in as drive B, then turned it back on.  Voila, the system came back, saw the fresh drive B with no partition table, and rebuilt the RAID.  Now just waiting for rsync to finish copying the back up from the USB drive back to the RAID.

The moral of this story: storage sucks and I want the holocubes IBM promised us 15 years ago!