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· 5 min read

We use a Thecus N2050 at work for external backups. The Thecus had been running very well (albeit noisily) in a hosted data-center environment, but has recently been shifted to our local office.

Now, a couple of days ago, the Thecus (as we like to call it) started to have some serious issues - spefically, our Linux kernel was reporting constant IO errors whenever the device was under heavy use. After a quick check, I noticed that the lights on the front were flashing to indicate that the second disk had failed. Since the device was (and still is) running in RAID 1, this should not have affected the device's reliability, but just to sure, I pulled the second disk out.

It was then, upon restarting the Thecus with one less disk, that I noticed the horribly loud fan... and subsequently realised, that the fan could not have been working prior, since it was so obvious now! :(

· 3 min read

First some background: The Asus P5W-DH Deluxe includes a Silicon Image SiI4723 hardware RAID controller. Yes, that's hardware RAID - not fakeraid. And since the controller presents the OS with just one logical disk (as it should), Silicon Image provide a utility called SteelVine Configuration Manager (SVCM) that can be used to view the current state of the controller and attached disks / arrays.

Now, since we use an Asus P5W-DH Deluxe for a server at work, it would be good to be able to get email (or SMS) notifications if the array becomes degraded. The obvious place to start is with the SVCM.

The bad news: SVCM is a graphical application - and scraping status information from the SVCM GUI is not that easy :(

The good news: SVCM has been implemented with a server / client architecture, using TCP to communicate between the two. So, it should be possible to create our own clone of the SVCM client. It turns out that SVCM uses a simple XML protocol, and that the server is stateless (so far as I can tell), so that should make getting the info we want pretty easy. However, there was one little hurdle that needed to be overcome first.