NAS HDDs and spindown

  • Hi there, I am new to OMV and so far I really really like it!

    Now, right after setting up my new small file server based on an Odroid HC2 as a replacement for my Raspi 2 + external USB, I found out that the drive I intended to use has this issue with APM (or lack there of) where I can't control its spindown options.

    The drive is a 1 TB Green Western Digital that has been used very little as an offline backup drive. It is small but this is my way to force myself to avoid having huge amounts of critical data in spinning drives.

    So, after quite some reading and testing I wanted to ask for some feedback on this, although I know it is a subjective topic...

    I want to have the drive spindown after two hours, the web GUI settings do not force the drive to do that, and I used WDIDLE3 to disable the idle timer but in fact this only changed the default 8 seconds value to 3 minutes.

    Thus, I am evaluating this options:

    - Getting a new hard drive that obeys what it is told, but for budget restrictions I am looking into a Seagate IronWolf, which "appears" can have it's default timer disabled whith Seagate Tools.
    As I don't really like Seagates there is a not too expensive WD Purple that I could get, but I couldn't find details regarding this idle timer issues...

    - Using a cronjob to continuously query the disk with hdparm, but then the drive makes a little activity noise (a normal one) which suggests to me some wear on the drive.

    - Investigating some hints suggesting the use of udisks2 instead of hdparm. But this might end up being more expensive in time than getting a different drive in money.

    So, has anyone managed to have a Green or an IronWolf no to spindown?

    Is it reasonable to think that "hdparm -i /dev/sda" causing a quite disk sound means I would be wearing the drive?

    Any experience with "udisks2" as a solution for this? That could be applied to either a green or an seagate?

    Thanks in advance!

  • Some newer NAS HDDs seem to be incompatible with hdparm. That is because they are supposed to be controlled with some dedicated software from the manufacturer and also they are already configured for use as a 24/7 NAS drive. This especially includes the write cache that already is enabled by default.

    I had serious problems with my HC2:s and 12TB Ironwolf HDDs. If I used hdparm (or OMV:s Physical Disk Properties) then the drive would simply unmount and wouldn't mount again. Others have reported other problems with other drives.

    It is possible to update the firmware for the USB/SATA bridge on the HC2, and when doing so you can also specify a spindown time there. Then it is the USB/SATA bridge that controls the spindown delay.

    I have written about this in a lot of posts here, and you should be able to find them by searching for something like "adoby hdparm HC2".

    detailed instructions about updating the USB/SATA bridge firmware and setting the spindown delay are on the hardkernel/odroid site, in the support wiki.

    (It seems that there is a firmware from 2019-03-07, i use the previous version. I might reflash my HC2s...)

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • hi Adoby, yes, I have read several threads with your comments.

    I haven't had the time to look into the firmware update for the HC2 (I was a bit reluctant) and I also assumed it might be limited to the first batch they released of the board, while mine is not from that lot.

    But it is clear now that I should be checking that out ASAP.

    So, for what I gather I should be able to update the firmware and take control of the spindown timer no matter what HDD I use (WD Green o IronWolf)?

    Has your HC2 been running stable with the fw update?

    Was tinkering with the HDD "internal" setting also needed? (I mean using manufacturer tools to change the HDD factory settings).

    Thanks again.

  • My HC2s are rock steady now. And they spin down just as they are supposed to do.

    I use 16TB Exos and 12 TB Ironwolf HDDs in them. They work fine!

    I haven't used any other software to manage the internals of my drives. I think some drives can have firmware updated and some other stuff like self-encryption and more. I believe Synology has in cooperation with Seagate some special software to manage ironwolf HDDs.

    But as I understand it, most (all?) modern NAS drives work fine as they are delivered, with the default settings. If you try to change anything you are likely to cause problems, as you already noticed.

    You may check the manufacturers sites for more info about special software to manage the drives.

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • Is the WD Drive a WD10EACS? If yes then you won't be able to spin down the drive with hdparm reliably. A potential alternative is to use hd-idle instead of hdparm to spin down the drive.

    Still I managed to spin down the drive with hdparm and these settings in the hdparm.conf but the time when the WD10EACS goes to sleep is still somewhat random:


    I deactivated the IntelliPark feature on both WD drives with idle3-tools beforehand. I consider to replace the WD10EACS with a WD Blue drive in the foreseeable future though.

  • This especially includes the write cache that already is enabled by default.

    It´s a little bit off-topic, but I would assume that this is the default state of every spinning disk. Would you recommend to disable the write cache in a NAS use-case?
    In my ZFS setup the write cache of all disks is enabled and I had never a problem with that or any data corruption. Even disk spindown after 20 minutes is configured.

    OMV 3.0.99 (Gray style)
    ASRock Rack C2550D4I C0-stepping - 16GB ECC - 6x WD RED 3TB (ZFS 2x3 Striped RaidZ1)- Fractal Design Node 304

  • I want the write cache on. It helps performance quite a bit.

    It may very well be the case that enabled write cache is the default.

    If you don't have a UPS AND the power is iffy AND you use a non-journaling filesystem, then you may want to turn off the write cache to avoid a corrupt filesystem after power outages. In other words (almost?) never. At least if you use EXT4. And I assume BTRFS. ZFS?

    However some types of RAID might be a concern and a UPS is indicated?

    Be smart - be lazy. Clone your rootfs.
    OMV 5: 9 x Odroid HC2 + 1 x Odroid HC1 + 1 x Raspberry Pi 4

  • Thank you hxqnet for your post, I HAD the same problem like you.

    Thank you Adoby for the tip with the firmware update. After updating the firmware (with setting the spindown timer to -t 0 of course) followed by a reboot, my WD Red 2 TB in the HC2 keeps spinning all the time. I didn't test the APM, noise and spindown settings in OMV, because I like the HDD to spin 24/7.

    FYI: The start_stop_count of my WD Red increased by ca. 100 today and I was not at home, so I'm happy that I was able to fix this with the firmware update. ;)

  • Ok, thank you guys for your suggestions.

    I am not fully done with it yet, and I intend to post some (probably interesting) detailed comments about my findings.

    For now I should say that I updated the board's firmware and it seems to work as intended.

    There is more to it however, so I will post back in a couple of days with a little more time on my hands.


Participate now!

Don’t have an account yet? Register yourself now and be a part of our community!