Synology Diskstation – Two Things

I do not get to write neat posts nearly as often as I would like to. But this one does not violate any NDAs and is relevant to an OG post on this blog.

So today I want to talk about two things regarding my beloved DS2413+ that other people might find useful in some capacity. Or at least entertaining.

Be Cool, Be Quiet – Live the Noctua Lifestyle!

I replaced the two Y.S. Tech stock fans in my DS2413+ with two Noctua NF-P12 redux-1300. Technically you can pop in every 3-pin 120mm fan you want, however, due to the way Synology drives the fans, they might not drive enough airflow, stop working (as in stop spinning) or DSM complains about fan failure.

I originally intended to replace the fans with the official replacement parts, however, it seems that I got stiffed so procuring the parts on short notice was no option. After a bit of research, I settled on the NF-P12 because other folks around the internet had positive experiences with the swap-out. I used this rare chance to clean the interior of the NAS, routed the cables nicely and thought I was done – I was wrong. I learned that lesson when the unit started beeping in the middle of the night.

You do want to set the fan setting to “Cool Mode” in your power settings, otherwise, one of the fans will randomly stop spinning after a few hours. Setting the fan speed to “Cool mode” fixes the issue and prevents DSM from issuing alarm beeps.

There are some other hacky ways to edit the fan profiles manually via the console, however, this operation apparently needs to be repeated after each DSM update. I’m way too lazy for that.

As for my cool Noctua lifestyle: The temperatures are virtually identical and the fans are quiet (as you would expect from the mighty Austrian owl!).

If you want to live the dream, please be sure to check the web for other people’s reports of your specific unit. Depending on the model the fan size, pin type and compatible fans will vary.

The big question, though: Is it worth the hassle?

Honestly speaking there is very little difference between the Y.S. Tech and Noctua fan in terms of cooling performance and noise level – at least when used on “Cool mode”. But you want that Noctua lifestyle, don’t you?

Addendum 2021-09-13: After upgrading to DSM 7, something about the way the fans are being addressed seems to have changed. I ran into several instances where DSM would report the fan as “faulty” and turned it off completely. Changing the fan settings around does not seem to make a difference here. I have popped in a new set of Y.S. Tech fans (original Synology replacement parts) for the time being…

Data Scrubbing – Or: Dude, Where is my Data?

I run my data scrubbing tasks regularly. Due to a recent power outage, the system complained about possible Write Cache issues, successfully completed a scrub and prompted whether I want to reboot now or later. It also asked whether I wanted to remap the disk.

“Sure”, I thought to myself, “I like maps!”. I toggled the option and hit “Reboot now”. DSM rebooted… and that was about it.

Blinking status LEDs but no DSM web interface, no SMB and no NFS shares. Slightly nervous I tried to connect to the NAS via SSH. dmesg and the system messages did not show anything of particular interest, so I started poking around the internet.

Google spew upon me pages and pages of horror stories that made my skin crawl: Bad superblocks, broken filesystems, complete loss of data, cats and dogs living together – the whole nine yards to make me break into a cold sweat and fear for the worst.

In this case, though, a simple “top” explained the situation: DSM was performing an e2fsck check of my filesystem.

This obviously caused the logical device to be busy or unavailable and explains why all lvs, pvs and vgs commands listed everything to be in order and mdadm was reporting proper operation. This also explains why the shares were not available, as the logical volume was not mounted.

Personally, I find the design decision to not initialize the web interface a bit weird, as it is truly unsettling to see all your data in limbo, with your only indication that something is or could be happening being the blinking lights on the front of the unit (not the drive indicators).

I hope that DSM 7 might improve on that end. It would be cool if the web interface had come up and indicated that a volume is currently unavailable due to running filesystem checks. This would be much more transparent.

Closing Thoughts

The DS2413+ is still an awesome unit and I very much appreciate the stability and ease of use of it. Synology is doing a great job at being very user friendly, so it really hits hard when something like the e2fsck situation comes up.

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