Why you might want to factory reset a Sparc ReadyNAS

A factory reset  wipes all data, settings, everything. So obviously it’s quite time consuming as you need to backup all data on the ReadyNAS first, backup the system configuration should you wish to restore it, then do a factory reset, restore configuration backup and restore data from backup.

However, there are multiple reasons why one might want to factory reset a Sparc ReadyNAS (e.g. Duo, NV, NV+, X6, Repertoire, 1000s, 600, 1100):

  1. Sometimes when troubleshooting a problem e.g. a performance issue, a factory reset can be necessary to help isolate the cause of the problem. This would be one of the last things to try after exhausting other options first.
  2. A factory reset after updating to the latest firmware gives you a clean setup on the latest firmware. This would mean that in some ways your ReadyNAS would be in a better condition than when it left the factory!
  3. A factory  reset can be much faster than expanding your X-RAID volume particularly when using high capacity disks.
  4. You cannot reduce the number of disks and expand your X-RAID volume i.e. if you have 4x1TB disks installed you can expand to have a volume of 4x2TB disks, but you cannot expand to have a volume of 3x2TB disks.
  5. You cannot add smaller capacity disks and expand your X-RAID volume e.g. if you have a 4-bay Sparc ReadyNAS with 2x2TB disks installed you cannot expand your volume by adding 1TB disks. Smaller capacity disks must be added first. However as X-RAID uses the capacity of the smallest disk you probably wouldn’t want to add a smaller capacity disk to a ReadyNAS array anyway even if it were possible.
  6. On Sparc ReadyNAS, Flex-RAID volumes cannot be expanded. Using Flex-RAID you can have multiple volumes (up to four, with any given disk being included in these) but you may prefer the simplicity of having a single volume or you may already have the maximum number of volumes and be unable to add additional volumes to utilise additional space from higher capacity disks.
  7. The reason we all hope we never have: You’ve had multiple disk failures and had catastrophic data loss. You’ve contacted tech support for assistance, they’ve confirmed this and repairing one of your disks for data recovery has not been possible. Disks can and do fail at any time, so it is recommend that you backup important data primarily stored on the ReadyNAS regularly. See Preventing Catastrophic Data Loss
  8. Unfortunately some benefits cannot be obtained without a factory reset.
  9. Unfortunately some expansion limitations cannot be overcome without a factory reset. You can seek advice as to whether you are affected by any expansion limitations by posting on the ReadyNAS forums or contacting NetGear technical support

Benefits and expansion limitations that require a Factory Reset

Regarding the last two points above, the following is a list of major reasons why you may wish to do a factory reset to remove expansion limitations and for other reasons. This list is current as of RAIDiator 4.1.7. It is by no means exhaustive, but lists the key reasons why one would want to do a factory reset on a system that is functioning fine.

The block size

Unless you’ve had your Sparc ReadyNAS for years you shouldn’t be affected by this issue. Users who did their last factory reset (or initial setup if they’ve never factory reset the unit) on RAIDiator 4.x will already have a volume with a block size of 16384. If you did last factory reset (or initial setup if you’ve never factory reset the unit) of a Sparc ReadyNAS on RAIDiator 3.x, your volume would have a block size of 4096. A factory reset on RAIDiator 4.x gives a volume with a block size of 16384. The new block size provides some important benefits:

  1. A performance gain
  2. Slightly larger volume capacity with same disks installed
  3. Can expand volume beyond 5TB up to around 5.4TB when using 4x2TB disks. If your Sparc ReadyNAS has a block size of 4096 and you intend to use 2TB disks in your ReadyNAS in the future, backing up your data, upgrading to the latest RAIDiator 4.x firmware then doing a factory reset is recommended.

You can read more on this issue including how to check the block size here: Upgrading from RAIDiator 3.x to 4.x on the ReadyNAS

Please note that x86 ReadyNAS use the standard block size of 4096 and are not affected by this issue.

4k sector partition alignment

First of all please note that this is not to be confused with the block size issue. As the move was made to higher capacity disks, disk manufacturers began to release 2TB disks using 4k sector partitions in preparation for when it would be needed with 3TB disks (please note that 3TB disks are not supported on Sparc ReadyNAS – this is a separate issue).

The ReadyNAS needs to format the disks you use. Before 4.1.7, when disks were formatted they would be formatted for 512-byte sector alignment, but not 4k sector alignment. When 4k sector disks are not properly aligned you will have poor write performance.

If your Sparc ReadyNAS came with RAIDiator 4.1.7 (or later if newer firmware is released) installed or you last did a factory reset on RAIDiator 4.1.7+ your disks would be 4k sector aligned. If not, unfortunately to get 4k sector alignment you need to upgrade to RAIDiator 4.1.7+, backup all data, do a factory reset then restore data from backup. This is strongly recommended if you intend to move to 2TB drives in the future as most 2TB disks are 4k sector disks.

If unsure if your disks are 4k sector aligned,  download your logs (Status > Logs > Download all Logs), extract the zip contents and look at partition.log. If your disks are 4k sector aligned the entry for a disk should look something this (you can see the start sectors are divisible by 8, remember 4096 = 8 * 512, so 4k sector aligned disks are also 512-byte sector aligned):

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hdc1              32     4096031     2048000   83  Linux
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hdc2         4096032     4608031      256000   82  Linux swap / Solaris
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/hdc3         4608032   976736335   486064152    5  Extended
/dev/hdc5         4608040   976736335   486064148   8e  Linux LVM

Do note that in an X-RAID (eXpandable-RAID on Sparc ReadyNAS) array one of your disks is the parity disk and will not have a partition table.

If you are unsure about whether your disks are 4k sector aligned you can seek help by posting on the ReadyNAS forums or contacting NetGear technical support

How should I proceed with doing a factory reset

If you want to backup all data and do a factory reset proceed as follows (this assumes you have a fully working system and have access to your array. if not you can skip some steps as appropriate):

  1. Backup all data
  2. Verify backup is good
  3. Upgrade to latest RAIDiator for your NAS if you haven’t already. You can check the latest version of RAIDiator under System > Update > Remote in Frontview. If a newer version than what you’re running is offered, update. Be sure to reboot the NAS when prompted to complete the update.
  4. Optional – If you don’t want to reconfigure the NAS manually and would rather restore the NAS configuration after the factory reset, do a System > Config Backup (keep the zip file that is downloaded as this is what you will need to restore later). If your NAS has a configuration problem restoring the config may well bring that configuration problem back, so if you are having what you think is a configuration issue you may not want to restore it.
  5. Power down the NAS.
  6. If you wish to add or remove disks, do this now.
  7. Do a factory default using the ReadyNAS boot menu
  8. Optional – if you don’t want to reconfigure the NAS manually, restore the Config Backup.
  9. Restore data from backup

Category: Uncategorized 2 comments »

2 Responses to “Why you might want to factory reset a Sparc ReadyNAS”

  1. MJ

    Great stuff here. My compliments. Question about Factory Reset: Is it your understanding that drives get fully re-formatted when doing that as opposed to quick formatted or just left as-is?

    Also wondering what you know about the Erase function: On the Duo v2 an Erase will leave WD Red 3TB drives in an unusable condition. Kindof a bummer. They get locked and have to be unlocked using an Ubuntu installation or something similar.

    If Factory Reset truly fully reformats the drives I’m happy about that and won’t worry about it anymore when reconfiguring.

  2. mdgm

    The disks are not overwritten with zeroes. The old partition table etc. would be blown away and a new one created and a new RAID array created. This would already make data recovery of data on the old drives difficult if even possible. Over time as you write data to the disks it would eventually become harder still to recover any of the data that was there before.

    The Duo v2 is not Sparc but ARM. A very different product. If you interrupt a secure erase the drives may be left locked. You could unlock them using a PC running a flavour of Linux if you need to.

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