For a long while I’ve had a Seagate 4-bay Business NAS (12TB) as a backup and media server. All the while we’ve had a love-hate relationship, at best. For the money, it has served me well. At times its lack of logging or clear error messages made for maddening puzzles.

And so this story begins…

One day the ftp connections to the NAS started to become unstable. Backups didn’t finish. Logging in to the web-based admin tool gave me little clue as to what was happening, except that the admin tool itself was unstable as well. Tables weren’t populated with the appropriate settings and settings weren’t stored.

In the end I had to use an exploit to gain telnet access to the NAS (that’s a different story). Peaking and poking into the depth of the embedded Busybox environment I finally figured out what had happened.

A while back I started using Beets as my go-to solution for managing my music collection (short summary: briljant solution for those who are not afraid of the command line). Recently I enabled the embedart plugin to write the cover art to the individual .flac files in my collection. As it turns out, the Seagate Business NAS uses miniDLNA (firmware 2015.00330) as the mediaserver. Furhtermore: miniDLNA is configured to store its database and cache the cover art in /var/volatile/tmp/minidlna/. This is a tmpfs partition, a.k.a. in-memory. Therefor the explosion of cached art files ate up all the RAM and affected the other services that were running…

For those of you that need a solution that doesn’t involve a chance of bricking your NAS: I can confirm that reverting to a single cover.jpg for each album restores the stability of the system (to where it used to be).

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