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Published March 21, 2011
As mentioned before, the N2A2 comes loaded with a pair of Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.C 1TB hard drives. We haven't had any experience with these drives so we wanted to see how they performed in our Windows 7 test system. We removed the drives from the N2A2, formatted them with our Windows 7 system and ran some tests. They performed quite well.
Given that the N2A2 uses a Linux-based OS, the drives must be formatted using ext3. This isn't a huge issue as there are free Windows applications to do this. That said, other manufacturers such as Synology and QNAP provide far better installation software. After rebuilding the NAS we tried reinstalling the firmware on the drives and this is where we ran into trouble.
With the drives correctly formatted using the ext3 file system we tried launching the LG NAS Installation Wizard to no avail. The software kept giving us the error "Unable to set up LG NAS. Please upgrade firmware for LG NAS."
After informing LG of the issue they sent us a customized version of the LG NAS Detector that let us install the firmware. At the time of writing, this special NAS Detector software isn't publicly available. After spending countless hours trying to resuscitate the LG N2A2, we gave up and came to a few conclusions -- the most obvious being that you shouldn't remove the N2A2's hard drives. However, that poses a few problems.
It's not uncommon for an OS to become corrupt and require re-installation, even if it is Linux-based. Meanwhile, hard drive failures are relatively common and the chances are doubled when using RAID0 as the N2A2 offers.
In the event that you encounter either of these issues, you'll have to yank the drives out and potentially face the same issues we did. If that happens outside of your warranty period, you will essentially wind up with a $250 paperweight.
This bug also prevents users from upgrading their storage capacity, which is a real bummer with 3TB drives starting to come out. Again, that would require you to remove the existing drives and that's not possible at the moment.
After a lot of messing around I was able to rebuild the device following instructions from LG, while also using software that they e-mailed us. The procedure is still very messy and nowhere near the level it should be for ease of use. We hope LG decides to streamline this software and make it available to users should they decide to customize their basic NAS setup in the long run.
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