LaCie 2Big Network 2 Data Recovery

While working on-site with a customer, I was attempting to upgrade the firmware in the LaCie 2Big Network 2 NAS.

These units have a bit of a reputation for issues after upgrading the firmware, and this one was no exception.

After applying the update, the web interface displayed a messages along the lines of “completion is taking too long. Please check the IP address in use”.

Frustratingly, one of the issues in the release notes addresses the use of static IP addresses on these devices.

Once it became evident that the unit wasn’t going to reboot, all hope of a quick recovery on-site vanished and I was left with no choice but to take the unit off the customers site and into the workshop.

After attempting a number of the knowledge base articles on LaCie’s website, including this one:, I Google’d a little more broadly and found this article:

Assuming the LaCie 2Big Network 2 was built along similar lines, I was able to remove the two drives, still in their cradles (not voiding the warranty), and using an old PC with on-board SATA and an Ubuntu Live CD, I was able to follow along with almost the same steps as Mycroft and recover the data.

I will give a little bit more info regarding the specifics for the LaCie 2Big Network 2 as there are some useful hints to actually finding your data.

The process:

  1. Get yourself an Ubuntu Live CD: I used the 32-bit build as I knew it will work on the hardware I had kicking around.
  2. Grab your LaCie drives out of the chassis, but do not remove them from their LaCie cradles… there is a “Warranty Void” sticker over one of the screws.  Don’t forget to label them in some way to ensure the left drive goes in back in the left-hand slot and the right to the right.
  3. Connect both the drives to your PC using SATA cables and power connectors – I used SATA 1 and SATA 2 on the Asus motherboard I had, and then connected a SATA DVD drive to SATA 6 to allow me to quickly boot and run the Ubuntu Live CD.
  4. Boot the Ubuntu Live distort and select “Try Ubuntu” mode when presented with the chance.
  5. From the Dash Home, type “Terminal” into the Search bar and open “Terminal”.  This is an easy way to access the CLI for Ubuntu – called a shell (as opposed to a DOS Prompt!).
  6. sudo bash

  7. Once you have “root” access to the server, which you need to do low-level disk commands that we will be entering later, execute the following commands.
  8. sudo apt-get install gparted

  9. You can then start “gparted”, or else just use the built-in “fdisk” tools to examine the partitions on the drives pulled from the LaCie.
    I found that there are a series of partitions, but the one you are most interested in are the largest ones on the physical drives.  For me, they were /dev/sda2 and /dev/sdb2.
  10. sudo apt-get install mdadm

  11. When installing mdadm, you can safely select “No Configuration” for the postfix component of the installation.  mdadm will take a little while to analyse the disks and work out which ones are configured and what drives are present.
  12. mdadm –query /dev/sda2

  13. This shows that this drive was the second member of a RAID0 software RAID device on a previous Linux installation.  This is good news.  Running the same command on the other partition, /dev/sdb2, showed that it was the first member of the same software RAID device.
  14. mdadm -A /dev/md5 /dev/sdb2 /dev/sda2

  15. This will recreate the RAID0 stripe that was in place in the LaCie.  Once the drives are back functioning as a software RAID volume, you can then mount the volume under a mount point and access the data on the filesystem.
  16. mount /dev/md5 /mnt

  17. This mounts the software RAID volume under /mnt.  You can then use a file browser to navigate through the volume.  What I found is that all of my data was under the “shares” folder in numbered folders “1, 2, 3, 4”, which loosely lines up with the number of shares that were on the system when it was “working”.
  18. As I have large network-attached storage array not made by LaCie also on the network I was recovering from, I was able to simply mount an NFS share from the other NAS to another mount point and then use “rsync” to copy all the data (ignoring the permissions – something I will fix manually once the data is copied back to a replacement NAS).

As it stands at the time of writing, I have been able to recover all of the data from 3 shared drives on the old LaCie NAS with no issues.




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