Iomega StorCenter ix2

Iomega StorCenter ix2

A friend of mine was using this NAS for some time. For three+ years to be more precise. And he was considerably happy given the price he paid for it. A week ago he called me telling the thing is dead and he has run out of ideas. He is a smart guy but he is not into computers. So I picked the thing up to see what’s inside and if it’s worth wasting time with or just buy another one.

So, first things first, hook it up to my notebook, setup a local dhcp server and start tcpdump. It kinda seems to boot. Asks for IP, gets it and then just sits there periodically sending broadcast UDP to the port 2080. The packets seem to be some binary protocol with only “m1” and mac address readable as strings. So it seems to be looking for some manager. Makes sense. But couldn’t find one the NAS is looking for. The “owner” of this product line has changed and probably more than once and there are all kind of software and versions iomega support offers to download none listening on udp/2080. Oh well. Next step then.

Disks out, just to be sure, checking the S.M.A.R.T. data:

SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: FAILED!
Drive failure expected in less than 24 hours. SAVE ALL DATA.

that is on both drives after as much as:

Error 51 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 26407 hours (1100 days + 7 hours)

That is. as usual, we are slightly off the 3 years limited warranty and things start to die. And my friend had the bad luck (not unheard of) to get the both disks kaboom at the same time. For the note, these are the original 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000333AS iomega stuck into the nas.

However, the disks are spinning still and I can peak into the data. The layout goes like this:

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 1 2040254 1020127 83 Linux
/dev/sdc2 2040257 1953525167 975742455+ 83 Linux

and the Linux partitions are two RAID devices. The first one is smaller so we can assume it is where the system stuff should sit. What does md driver thinks about it?

# cat /proc/mdstat
Personalities : [raid1] [linear]
md126 : active (auto-read-only) raid1 sdc1[1]
1020032 blocks [2/1] [_U]

md127 : inactive sdc2[0](S)
975742336 blocks

makes sense, we’ve got a small mirror and a big linear here. Mounting the mirror … Ughm, on both drives it is a virgin ext2 with only lost+found showing up.

After an hour of googling, and mind you, with ix2 being the first of the line and a bunch of variations followed, it was not a simple task. I’ve found this blog post by a French collègue (my eternal gratitude) who saved and shared original files from his NAS. While waiting the files to download I’ve copied the partitions table onto a new disk, created the raid1 on first and mkfs’ed ext2 on it. Mounted, extracted the files and the NAS started. Power off, add another empty drive, boot and voilà! like nothing has ever happened to the thing.

If someone is looking for the files, what I’ve downloaded form the mentioned blog post in french is mirrored here on my box and My OneDrive, which is a clean firmware snapshot from the raid1 partition. Just in case the post in french ever goes down.

19 Thoughts on “Getting iomega storcenter ix2 back to life

  1. Thanks for this post, i have just the same problem and i´ll try to follow your indications so i hope return to life my ix2 with two news disk i have bougth.
    Thanks in advance

  2. Thanks for your guide, I’ve successfully rebuild my IX2 up till the part where i’ve got two functioning disks but no partition. When I click erase disks everything get’s deleted and I can start all over. Suggestions ?

    • Sorry HD, I don’t follow you. there can be no functional disk without a partition. what do you mean ? I don’t have the device itself anymore so it can be difficult to help you with iomega terminology.

      • I got the first partition down, installed your image and the thing boots up all is fine. But the rest of the disk isn’t partitioned, therefore the has can’t be used. I tried erasing the disks but this causes a complete failure and I have to start all over again. Can I create the second partition also by hand and select this partition as raid1 as well ?

        • hmmm, losing the first partition on erase is strange. try to finish everything single disked, then remove the MBR from the second (dd a MB or so to the /dev/sdX) and add it to the nas. it should recognize an empty disk, take over it and create the same layout as the one you have inside.
          if it doesn’t work, yeah, try to create the second partition yourself. Just as you would do with normal md.

  3. marioalpha on June 11, 2014 at 6:01 am said:

    I also have the same problem and thanks for the guide, but unfortunately the disk image is no longer available for download, please tell me that you still have a copy and I can download it somewhere, pleaseee ….

  4. First things first, thank your for your guide and the link to your french colleague. But I think I’m missing something here.
    I have tried reviving my old IX2 with two WD Green 2TB disks which I had for another project and now with two 1TB Seagate St1000DM3. So far I failed miserably 🙂

    I still had one partly readable of the original HDs where I could read the partition layout and I now tried to recreate that on the ST1000 drive, but fdisk on unbuntu 14.04 doesn’t like partition start at sektor 1 🙁
    So I just partitioned my first drive with start at 2048 and 1GB as the partition size, created md126, mkfs’d it with ext2 per your guide, mounted it and untared the firmware to the device. So far so good.

    But my storcenter just blinks red with only one drive, with a second blank drive and with a complete set of drives with a prepared md126 on it.

    • Mmm, I’d be glad to give an advise, oh-oh, but there is probably some small detail you have missed. I’d start from going with the original layout. The partition start can be important for the boot loader. So use some different fdisk or something first. If it doesn’t work and you don’t have a working disk with the original system, I’m afraid you’ll have to sold a serial connector onto the board to go any further.

  5. I have the same problem just cropped up – any advice on what I can do or where I can send it – I had most of the data backed up but that 10-15% I didn’t have backed up I do need – any ideas would be really helpful –

    • Unless you get somewhat familiar with linux – I don’t think there will be a step-by-step guide for you. To recover you need to start from attaching the disk (or disks) to a linux system, starting the raid arrays and mounting filesystems. Then you can theoretically get your data back unless you have a failure of both disks.

  6. Ger van de Kolk on February 11, 2015 at 1:28 pm said:

    We have the same problem with a Iomega Storcenter IX2. We only want to extract the data off the disks. So we took them out connect them to a USB/SATA device and tried to extract with Suze Linux but I think we are on the wrong track. Is there somebody who knows the trick?

    • Hi, there isn’t really a trick. You just have to be familiar with RAID and Linux. If it didn’t get recognized automatically, then you have to use some OS tools to bring the volumes up. How exactly – depends on what configuration your NAS is in and where the OS stopped from automatically recognizing it. It can be as simple as you don’t know where to look.

  7. Hello. this post is a life saver.
    the only problem i have is that de download link for “the box” opens in a new screen with a download button. But the button does nothing
    i tried ie, chrome and Firefox
    is there another link?

  8. Giuseppe Mauro on December 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm said:

    Thank you, great post!!!!

  9. Dave Mabry on January 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm said:

    I just spent several hours (days) fiddling with some of these NAS drives. This is specific to the original model, depicted in the photo at the top of this blog. I found that I could not get a 2TB drive to be fully recognized. I tried Seagate ST2000DM001. The NAS would correctly see them as 1.8TB, but it would NOT start to rebuild the RAID1. Next I tried Toshiba 1TB model HDWD110 drives. My ix2 came originally with 500GB drives. Replacing one of the 500GB drives with one of the Toshiba 1TB drives worked. The NAS recognized the new drive and started rebuilding the RAID1. After a few hours that was finished. Then I replaced the second 500GB drive with a 1TB. Once again, I had to wait for the RAID1 to be reconstructed for a few hours. At that point the NAS had two new 1TB drives but only saw them at 500GB capacity available in the RAID1. I used the SETTINGS/DISKS/Manage Disks/ERASE DISKS. At that point it rebooted and after another several hours it was finished reconstructing the RAID1 and the entire 1TB was available. BTW, my firmware level is

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