Around September 2008 I purchased a Lacie NetworkSpace 1TB hard disk, a nice little number with built in Ethernet so it could be tucked away where the sun don`t shine and keep all my files nice and safe whilst I flung the laptop into my bag for the day-to-day.Â Since then, I`ve been filling the drive up will all manner of crap.Â Having become more interested in photography, there`s now several GB of photos, RAW files, etc. and lots of my CDs on there.
A "successful" backup...
The drive itself was “designed by Neil Poulton”, and if it`s anything to go by, Neil Poulton is something of a manic depressive, unimaginative lazybones.Â The casing is shiny black, rectangular, and features a very bright, blue LED – flavour of the month.Â So, it`s essentially a black, shiny brick.Â The little ventilation holes look OK – little squares – and the device can run pretty hot.Â Round the back we have the power, a switch (handy – and the drive waits until it shuts down before fully powering off), and the ethernet port.Â At the front is the LED, and a USB connector.Â And here lies the problem…
Being a middle-aged worrying sort, I didn`t want to risk losing all that stuff – absolute shite to most people, but a lot of stuff I`ve made, taken photos of, etc. and bought a 1TB USB external drive to use as a backup for the Lacie.Â Through the Lacie`s web interface, I saw it was possible to set up one drive as the source (Lacie) and one as the destination (new Toshiba drive) and thought “easy peasy – link them over USB, click the buttons, and off it goes”.Â And off nothing went.
After around 2 hours, the only backups I have apparently made have been 8 empty directories on the Toshiba, from a total of several thousand files.Â Not a great ratio.Â I thought I must have cocked something up in the plethora of 4 or 5 options, so tried again, with the same result.Â Then I took a look at the logs from the Lacie.
The Lacie uses some form of embedded Linux – a few blogs mention it may be Yellow Dog – and does its biz using BusyBox, so I figured there would be some useful, sensible, really nice logging.Â Here`s what I saw:
Apr 26 00:37:40 httpd: pam_unix(httpd:session): session closed for user admin
Apr 26 00:37:59 httpd: pam_unix(httpd:session): session opened for user admin by (uid=0)
Apr 26 00:37:59 httpd: pam_unix(httpd:session): session closed for user admin
Apr 26 00:38:13 httpd: pam_unix(httpd:session): session opened for user admin by (uid=0)
Now, pardon my French, but what the fuck use is that to anyone? No mention of backup starting, backup finishing, backup failing, backup progress. Not a sausage. There`s only one thing worse than no logging, it`s useless logging. And here we see a combination of both, almost bugger all logging, and what`s there is completely useless. I know I was logged into the web interface – I just want to check my supposed backup!
So it`s likely to be a case of the Toshiba drive becoming a work drive, and having to run rsync to backup to the Lacie as it`s just a little too slow to use as a primary drive over Ethernet. Very disappointed. The drive has been great for a number of months – not spectacularly fast over the home network (wireless G / 100Mb Ethernet – it has Gb Ethernet I believe), so I can`t do the device itself down. But come on guys – what`s the point in using a completely shite backup function as a selling point?Â There also doesn`t seem too be a way of upgrading the firmware or operating system short of unofficial hacks, ruling out fixing this awful functionality.Â It may work – somehow – under Windows, but if it`s a case of linking two drives and pressing a few buttons, using the advertised method, it`s surprising this simple operation can`t be carried out.Â If there had been anything in the logs to suggest too-long filenames, extra-long paths – whatever – I could have done something to rectify.Â But zilch.
So it`s off to rsync I go… farting in the general direction of Lacie.Â Several times.Â Poo poo to you.