Wednesday, April 13, 2011

iomega StorCenter drive swaps

In my previous post about the iomega ix2, I wasn't sure that resizing the storage could be done without shell access by using GUI commands. I've now played with it enough to know that a) you can, but it is a destructive operation and b) the same technique can be used to shrink the available storage instead of grow it.

First, the technique:
  1. Swap in your new drive.
  2. Let it rebuild.
  3. Swap in the second drive.
  4. Before it gets done rebuilding, use the "delete disk" option:

    You'll have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make this happen, least of which is deleting all the data and shares (like I said, it's a destructive technique!), but once it's going, you might not get any indication that it's actually "doing" anything.
  5. Restart the unit
When it starts, if you have email alerts configured, you'll get a message that it's rebuilding the storage. Log back into the GUI and check your Dashboard; it should now show the new, increased capacity.

So why would anyone ever want to go smaller with one of these units? Well, suppose you had a pair of SSD drives that you picked up for cheap from Woot! or some other retailer. And suppose you picked up a pair of Icy Dock 2.5"-to-3.5" HDD Converters so that they'd fit correctly in the drive frame for the ix2? Well, you would then have the opportunity to create a smoking fast NAS with those SSDs.

I don't know enough about the StorCenter's Linux kernel (or Linux kernels in general) to tell if the unit can or does use TRIM to keep the write speeds optimal. But let's be fair: even without it an SSD blows away spinning disk at any speed. Given the cost/capacity ratio of SSDs, however, you'd have to be pretty starved for performance to try such a thing—and would certainly be better served by putting SSDs in a higher performance box than an ix2-200!


  1. Does this really give you a blank slate and clean hard drive? I've heard that there are ways of retrieving data even if it has been "deleted."

    1. From the perspective of the user, it does, but no: it doesn't do any sort of DoD wipe or whatever on the disk blocks. Someone with sufficient skill, knowledge & equipment could resurrect data from the drives.

      If your goal is to prep the system for sale, you should first DBAN the drives, then perform a recovery install.