Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Abomination: Maxtor One Touch III

Okay, so after that catastrophic failure of the internal hard disk on my church server we purchased a Maxtor One Touch III external unit with 1 TB of storage. It has two internal hard disks in it with 500 MB each. You can configure it in either a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration. I wanted data integrity/security, so I opted for the RAID 1 configuration. On top of that, I implemented a weekly backup of the device to Amazon's S3 service.

The joke's on me. Just when you think you have the bases covered, new ways of failure reveal themselves. Not even three days after installing the drive it crapped out on the server, reporting that the volume was corrupt. Since both physical drives appear as one drive on the server, the data went bye-bye. So did my faith in data security.

Fortunately I had just gone through the process of recovering backed-up stuff from DVD, so I was well versed in putting things back where they should be.

After reinitializing the drive it actually behaved as it should for about a month. With my faith a little bit restored in it (thinking maybe I just had a first-time install hiccup) I started moving other things onto it, including the new church database files. See, since the original hard disk blowup the church was still based on a system using some crusty software. The blowup provided a good reason to switch all the data over to the new system we had recently purchased. So we put the new data files on the drive, hand-converted the data from the old system, and then started updating that data in the new system.

So like I said, it was behaving for just over a month, or for a time period known as just past the store return date. Then it happened again, and of course this time a week or so worth of church data down the drain. So now I'm in the enviable position of having to back up the thing every day as well as going through the fun process of diagnosing the drive through Maxtor's tech support or online forums.

It appears that I'm not the only customer having this problem. When installing this drive (it's actually a USB device) there is software you have to install with it so that the operating system can find it. I also noticed you can't replace the drives with ones of your own, and after a little digging found out that the software in conjunction with the firmware on the device makes sure that only Maxtor drives (or possibly only the Maxtor drives that came with the unit) will work. Some users are claiming that this software/driver installed on the operating system is the point of failure causing the data corruption on the drive. And when I say data corruption, I mean the partition table is either wiped or messed up.

I guess the upside to all of this is that I'm taking data security a little more seriously these days.

1 comment:

lokki said...

I'm telling ya... an abacus and a notepad are all you need. And you don't need the notepad.