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ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

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ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Rusty » Sat Jan 07, 2023 2:57 am

Hello to all. Thank you for allowing me to enter this forum. I humbly ask that responses not be theoretical. That which I need is an answer from real experience with current Asustor NAS devices or an answer from aurhorized Asustor technical support personnel. I am sorry but theoritcal answers won't help me avoid having to return an Asustor device for a refund. Thank you for your understanding.

So, I'm looking at several Asustor 2-bay models. I have 2 important questions:

(1) If I set up a 2-bay RAID-1 EXT4 configuration, will I be able to remove one of the internal drives and connect it to a seperate computer and mount and read and retrieve data from the EXT4 partition if I use a Linux environment on the computer?

(2) If the answer to number (1) is "yes," then what if I use AES256 encryption? Will I be able to decrypt the EXT4 contents while that internal drive is connected to a computer? (Like...is there a desktop decryption application that will allow me to extract contents from an encrypted EXT4 partition?

These are important disaster recovery methods I need. I am migrating away form Synology because it does not provide these capabilities. I hope Asustor is the device I need.

Thank you.
Rusty
 
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Re: ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Nazar78 » Sat Jan 07, 2023 8:45 am

(1) Yes, it uses mdadm.

(2) Yes, it uses eCryptfs.
AS5304T - 16GB DDR4 - [Internal: 4x10TB Toshiba RAID10, External 5 Bay USB3: 4x2TB Seagate RAID5 + 480GB Intel SSD for ADM-OS/Apps]
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Re: ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Rusty » Sat Jan 07, 2023 10:00 am

Thank you very much for your response. I have to admit, though, it looks to be too complex. I need a GUI. Commands and switches require time and dedication and routine practice sessions that I don't have to spare. I have other work to do. I think I'll just use a Windows mini-PC with a USB RAID enclosure attached as a central file server. Then I can use my favorite file container encryption application. I'll be able then to do that which I do now...I can pull a hard drive from my USB RAID-1 box anytime and read it in a Windows computer and I don't have to master multiple device adm commands. I just move the drive to a USB dock and it's ready to go. No mdadm commands and switches, no ecryptfs commands and switches...no mount/unmount processes. I just get my stuff and go. That's what I need. I guess I'm just not smart enough for Asustor and other NAS devices. Beside, I just can't justify $800 for a NAS that requires hours of learning console commands just to get my data if the machine makes magic smoke and catastrophically fails. I need a machine to work for me. I don't want to have to work for the machine. Oh well. Looked good at the outset. Thanks again.
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Re: ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Nazar78 » Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:15 am

It's not ADM it's Linux and all can be managed/automated using GUI. The commands are for advanced users just like in Windows. From experience, you will likely have more issues with hardware raid vs software raid. A dead controller will render your array useless unless you have the exact replacement even that won't guarantee it will be swappable. For your case IMHO just stick with a normal USB enclosure.
AS5304T - 16GB DDR4 - [Internal: 4x10TB Toshiba RAID10, External 5 Bay USB3: 4x2TB Seagate RAID5 + 480GB Intel SSD for ADM-OS/Apps]
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Re: ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Rusty » Sat Jan 07, 2023 11:39 pm

It's not ADM it's Linux and all can be managed/automated using GUI.


With that statement, you have me interested again. Please clarify.

Are you saying that I don't need to keep apprised of syntax changes for commands and switches to get the job done? Are you saying that I will be able to remove one drive of a 2-bay RAID-1 pair from an Asustor NAS then use a computer with a Linux Ubuntu GUI to mount, read, and extract data from the ex4 data partition? And I can use a GUI package in Ubuntu to decrypt any enncrypted data from that drive?

You aren't working very hard to support Asus here. You are telling me to go away. Please, help me.

RAID-1 mirrored pair is all I need. Something tells me that's all most home and small business owners need. Beyond that, with RAID-5, RAID-10 and such, there's a complicated mesh of disk algorithms that keep people mired in muck just trying to keep the data funtional and backed up It takes an additional NAS to backup the NAS. I know there are "cloud" backups but I have never understood how that can be practical or reliable for my needs. If people have 40 TB on 10 Drives ... it would take more of an internet connection than most people have to back it all up in a reasonable length of time. And, mirroring? People trust mirroring and sequentials and all of that but then find out what they need is not there in the "cloud." I have read many postings in forums about data loss from these backup schemes. Then, the loss of the data they need is is a financially expensive loss plus the user then has to figure out where the NAS coders failed and in which update they tried to provide a fix where that proposed fix only opened more security holes and lowered other failure thresholds. I think too many people just "trust" that the mirroring is effective and reliable...but then they find out when they need it that it has actually failed.

I had lost files at very large corporations where I worked. Those "snapshots" and such failed and it usually took about 6 people from IT to discover it failed. No one could retrieve my documents. Know what saved me? I had my own flash drive that I loaded with encrypted containers while I worked. And I backed up my flash drive in case it failed. And if someone robbed me, the flash drive they wrenched from my hand was encrypted and kept my data safe.

My bank is a huge global institution. Every now and then, they lose one of my bank statements. Statements are important. They are my proof in court for payments to and from clients. So, those server farms managing data at the bank fail me from time to time. For the bank, it's no big deal to lose a few thousand documents a year as long as they only hurt the customer. But, for me? It's a major loss. So, I have the bank mail to me paper statements as a redundant backup. And...that paper backup saved me twice from the data loss caused by the data managers and their RAID systems at my bank. The bank lost 2 of my digital statements and they lost the check images that were contained within them. The only thing that saved me was the paper copies that had been mailed to me. I scan those to my own digital archives and I keep the paper.

In forums for Synology, Asustor, QNap and such...I see people working days and days trying to make the little NAS work as it is advertised to work. And when they finally claim success they come back to note that they did, in fact, lose important data and then they pray to their data gods for good graces that it won't happen again. But it will happen again because there are hundreds of others reporting the same problems over and over. I just can't justify essentially taking on another part time job just to overcome glitches in the NAS operating system and contrived obstacles in the NAS file system.

Right now, I use a Synology. It hides its data partition as "raw" format instead of "ext 4." Now that I have discovered that hidden flaw, I'm preparing to put the Synology on ebay and use something that does not try to hold me hostage in order to get my data from a drive in a failed NAS. Everything fails eventually.

You are correct: My best option right now seems to be Windows (destop or server) on a mini-pc (I choose "mini" to save energy) with a USB 3.1 gen 2 RAID-1 enclosure. Then, weekly, I can use a little standalone cloner to generate and accumulate many backups onto hard drives containing nothing but encrypted file containers placed in cold storage on my property and on the property of people I know (protection from fire and flood and act of nature). And...with a simple RAID-1 hardware enclosure, all I have to do is remove one drive of the pair and let the RAID enclosure rebuild the removed drive while I sleep. Then, I stash the removed drive or I stick it in a cloner for about 8 hours and make a copy to drop off at some other location when I visit that location. And any stashed drive is immediately readable on any Windows computer I can get my hands on...and I don't have to run a bunch of console commands whle I groan that syntax has changed from version 1.2.03.004 to version 1.2.03.005 of modulus giganticus.exe so and so forth.

So...let me ask again...with a 2-bay Asustor NAS, can I mount one of the RAID-1 pair into Ubuntu and use a simple GUI to extract my data?

I am trying very hard to replace my Synology with an Asustor. I need a central file server that will work for me and I need a central file server that will not hold me hostage by hiding partitions and forcing me to buy another NAS just to try and read the data from drives extracted from a failed NAS. Can Asustor do that?

Thanks.
Rusty
 
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Re: ADM EXT4 partition readable in Linux computer?

Postby Nazar78 » Sun Jan 08, 2023 8:36 am

With that statement, you have me interested again. Please clarify.

Are you saying that I don't need to keep apprised of syntax changes for commands and switches to get the job done? Are you saying that I will be able to remove one drive of a 2-bay RAID-1 pair from an Asustor NAS then use a computer with a Linux Ubuntu GUI to mount, read, and extract data from the ex4 data partition? And I can use a GUI package in Ubuntu to decrypt any enncrypted data from that drive?

You aren't working very hard to support Asus here. You are telling me to go away. Please, help me.
I don't work for Asustor, so no sugarcoating from me I'll just be direct. Most of us on this forum are just folks helping out the community. Manufacturers will tend to push their products but RAID/NASes are not backups but redundancies, to a person like me they are all similar, it's up to me how I plan my backup and recovery.

All I'm saying it's not ADM (Asustor OS) but it's Linux (most common NAS OS) is what you seems to have concern with especially the terminal, which I initially thought you're familiar with, the OS. If you're ready to learn some terminal basics it doesn't matter which OS you're dealing with, if it's a Synology's, Asustor's or any others including MacOS and Windows. I have only one Asustor NAS but I've dealt with many others remotely, Synology, QNAP, WD etc. Once familiar with the terminals, I could do anything that's not previously available, I can run automated SANs data backups from my cheap IP cams if I wanted to, and actually my router instead of the NAS is the one doing a few months worth of 24/7 CCTV recordings.

Using mini PCs are ok, but introducing a disk caddy still does adds up the energy consumption, so NASes are better options. If you don't like the OS, run it with another system, I can boot Windows natively on my Asustor NAS after some prep work. Again I urge you against RAID USB enclosure. Long ago I had a hardware controller that failed on me, the recovery, albeit was successful, was a lengthy process. Just get a normal USB enclosure and make do with software RAID in Linux or Windows.

Back to your main question, yes you can have the GUI decrypt your data (the RAID part will be automatically assembled and mounted by the system), but first you need to simply prepare the environment. If you were to setup everything on a Linux PC (including mdadm and eCryptfs), then yes it will automatically attempt to mount an existing single disk RAID-1 (shown as degraded) but if it's a disk from another system example the NAS (note all the volumes from Asustor runs on RAID partitions even if it's a single volume), if it doesn't automatically assemble the RAID and mount it for you, you just need to run some simple commands to force assemble to mount then ready to decrypt. If still in doubt, you can always fire up some VMs then play around with mdadm and eCryptfs. You'll be surprise how easy it is. Good luck.
AS5304T - 16GB DDR4 - [Internal: 4x10TB Toshiba RAID10, External 5 Bay USB3: 4x2TB Seagate RAID5 + 480GB Intel SSD for ADM-OS/Apps]
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