I’ve mentioned that I switched to using an HP Media Vault six months ago for my massive storage needs. It was working great, with 500 GB of RAID mirrored goodness. It was also allowing me to continue to amass music without any space limitations to encourage me to consolidate my music archives. But that’s not the point.
The point is that yesterday the product in question become less vault-like and more blackhole-like. All the shares on the device disappeared, and the handy web admin interface cheerfully reported that both drives had 500GB of free space and were ready to go.
Losing this data really isn’t an option. Forget the mp3s. While their loss would be painful, it would provide a clean slate to rebuild my media empire in an organized fashion. But the Media UnVault also had financial files and Mrs. CrazyEngineer’s digital storybooks and other large files she had to move off her laptop.
I do have multiple options for recovering the data, however none of them are particularly appealing.
I opted to start with the most comical option: Call Hewlett Packard Tech Support.
This is not going to be an “Anti-Outsourcing-To-India” tech support rant. I’ve called tech support before and received most satisfactory results from staff on the subcontinent. No, this is a “Did you even bother to train this guy” rant. Bad technical support is universal, it doesn’t know political boundaries.
While on hold, I did some research on the problem and tried to connect to the Media Vault from the several computers at home. Since I could ping the device and use the web admin to check the status (I even enabled telnet and actually shelled into the No-Media Vault), this was obviously not a network problem.
My guess is that there is a corrupt volume or other data storage structure error that is confusing the UnVault. Apparently the No-Media Vaults use ReiserFS for their file system. While amazing in many ways, ReiserFS is perceived as a little more voodoo than computer science (what do you expect when the code’s namesake murdered his wife).
Anyhow, the HP tech support representative just made me cringe. He’d ask a question, I’d give an answer, then he’d put me on hold for three minutes while he checked something, come back, and ask the logical followup to the previous question, then put me on hold again, etc. I think their troubleshooting system was running slow.
He seemed sure that it was a connection problem, even though I could ping the machine, get to the web interface, and telnet to the UnVault. When I tried to tell him these facts, he said he was just going through the process. Eventually, he admitted he was stumped, and said he would email me back with a followup. I gave him my email, and expected to begin working on option 2 tonight since I would never receive an email.
Guess what I found in my mailbox this morning.
I am sending this email as per our conversation yesterday regarding your computer not being able to see the MediaVault.
After doing some research and from few similar cases I had, I realized that this is a connection issue. Please call us back and provide the case#, we will be able to walk you thru the steps on how to solve this issue.
If you require further information please let me or a member of my team know by calling 1-800-474-6836 (1-800 HP Invent) and at the voice prompt to reach our team please state “storage” and “A HP Media Smart Server”
HP Media Server Customer Care
So, +5 points for actually emailing me back, -1000 points for not understanding that if I can ping it, my computer can see it. I’m debating whether I should even call them. Might waste even more of my time getting nowhere. The best I can hope for from HP at this point is that they send me a new internal hard drive with the OS already installed on it to replace in the UnVault and then recover from the mirrored drive. This would save me the trouble of having to do some linux-fu to put the OS back on the primary drive myself. I think I’m going to go to option 2 and try to mount the mirror drive on my desktop in Linux and hope I can see the files. At least then I can recover all the files before I put the mirror back in the UnVault and call tech support back.