G-Raid Drive Repair

G-Raid drive Repair:

This 2TB external drive with FW 800 and USB connections from G-Technologies contains two 1TB drives that are combined into one large 2TB storage device using a build in hardware RAID controller merging both drives using RAID 0 (striped) technology.

Advantages of a striped RAID are:

  • Faster read-write speeds
  • One large single volume
The big disadvantage of a Striped RAID (Raid 0) is a much greater chance of failure that is very hard to recover data from from when things go wrong.

A good analogy for a RAID 0 configuration is a zipper. Once a skips a single tooth the entire system breaks. Failure can easily be caused when the power is interrupted when de drive is reading or writing data. Things get out of sync and all is lost unless a very expensive data recovery is called in to action.

This drive had failed twice. This time I disassembled the beautiful G-drive enclosure and extracted both 3,5" eSATA hard drives and tested each of them on SMART status and Bad block using Techtool Pro. Both drives passed the 4 hour long test with flying colors.

After putting everything thing back together I decided to reprogram the Drive controller to a much safer RAID 1 (mirrored) configuration. Rather than combining both drives into one large volume. A Mirrored RAID writes data simultaneous to all drives creating an exact image. In case a drive fails there will be no loss of data since there are exact duplicates available. The down side is a slower read / write speed and less storage space.

To reprogram the G-Raid controller you need to download the software from the G-Technology support website. The software is terribly out of date and needs OS X 10.6 or Windows XP.

Once the drives are reconfigured I used Disk-Utilty to format the volume in the for OSX appropriate format: GUID partitioning and Mac OS Extended (journaled).

Now it is ready to be connected with a Firewire 800 cable to a Mac of a fast back-up using Apple Time Machine or SuperDuper. To prevent future failures and prolong the life of your sensitive electronics I highly recommend to use a APC surge protector with battery back-up.

Posted on April 26, 2013 .