Streamer best practices for reliability/longevity?

Having recently went through having to replace a failed HDD in my streamer and getting everything restored, it has me wondering if something I did might have contributed to the failure.

I have a Salkstream III, purchased in 2016, that has 2TB internal HDD that houses the OS, Roonserver, and my music files. Except for the occasional reboot or vacation, I left it on 24/7.

So what would be the best practice for reliability and longevity? Should I be shutting it down when not in use? Not keep everything on one drive? Something else?

Suggestions welcome. :grinning:

I’m not familiar with this particular device. Does it use an HDD or SSD? HDD seems like an unusual choice in 2016.

HDD (spinning hard disc, not solid state).

Salk now offers a model above this one that has an SSD and an HDD.

Looks like your Streamer is just another computer so reliability/longevity wise all the computer rules apply. The most obvious “flaw” is the HDD, you should go with a very good SSD, assuming that the device accepts one (any Samsung PRO should do just fine).

More to the subject, cycling on/off is generally not a good idea (again from the reliability/longevity point of view) but most of the consumer HDD are designed to spin 6 to 8 hours per day, so if your hard drive falls in that category you should consider the sleeping function.

Keeping everything on one drive also not a good idea, theoretically, but is not necessarily a bad one IF you have some sort of replication/backup mechanism in place.

The IT guys and manufacturers would probably know better, but, rule of the thumb…

  • Electronics hate heat
  • Redundancy is good
  • It isn't if a hard drive will fail, it's when a hard drive will fail
  • Mechanical hard drives are mechanical parts, and mechanical parts generally don't like start and stop, but they also don't like to always be stopped

So with all this in mind, get a surge protector, get a new hard drive (maybe something that’s made for NAS’s), back your stuff up, back it up again in the cloud if you’re cautious, and when holidays become something people do again, unplug the thing before you leave.

I think the Salk devices run on a proprietary Linux so not sure the disk can be replaced by the consumer.

Why??? That’s the best time to spin (the reels, the vinyl, even the hard drive!!)

1 Like

And enjoy the holiday classics.

Thank you.

Yep, it’s basically a small, fanless computer with Salk faceplate. The OS is Linux Arch, which I believe Salk has tweaked for their purpose.

So it sounds like leaving it on like I do is a good thing. I’m not aware of a “sleep function” on it. I’ll have to ask Salk about that.

I did consider having the failed HDD replaced by an SSD, but from what research I did it wasn’t clear to me that SSDs have a clear reliability advantage. Also, it would have cost about 2.5X more (finances are tight right now). I’ll likely revisit this sometime in the future.

Fortunately, I do keep multiple music file and Roon database backups. Still, it wasn’t fun getting everything restored (Mr. Salk was a great help!).

Thank you.

  1. The case and external fins barely get warm when in use. It’s located on an very open rack, so it get’s plenty of air circulation.

  2. My music files are backed up on 3 other locations (2 USB drives and PC) and Roon database backups on 2 other locations (2 USB drives), so I think I’m ok there.

  3. Yep, I found that out this past week! :confounded:

  4. I have no idea how much starting and stopping goes on in the HDD. I leave the Salkstream on 24/7 and use it probably 4-5 times a week, a couple hours or so at a time maybe.

  5. It is plugged into a surge protector, and as mentioned, I turn it off when away on vacation (though vacations are on hold for now :frowning:)

So, other than considering an SSD and maybe keeping my music files on a separate drive from the OS/Roonserver, it seems what I’m doing is in line with recommendations in this thread (thank you everyone!).

Salk sent me a new HDD with his version of Linux Arch already installed. Once I physically installed the new HDD, Salk remotely logged in, set things up (not sure what exactly) installed Roonserver, and restored my music files from an attached external USB drive (HDD).

He did give me the option of sending an HDD or an SSD. See my earlier comment about my choice.

Personally, I don’t know the answer. So, I would say assume it will fail and have frequent backup’s. My Nucleus backs up to an attached 1 TB USB HDD every night. If I had a bunch of music files, which I don’t, I would have them backed up to another USB drive or another computer. If they were very important to me, I would have another backup stored off-site such as in my safe deposit box at my bank.

My Nucleus has a M.2 SSD for Roon and a 1TB SSD I installed for music. I don’t know about expected useful life of an SSD vs HDD, but it is totally silent with no delays. I leave it running 24/7 whether I’m home or not. It is plugged into a surge protector, but I’m not sure if that is worthwhile or not. I guess it can’t hurt. And yes, make sure it gets plenty of ventilation.

I read in another post of yours that you scheduled daily backups of your Roon database. Mine are scheduled weekly to one USB drive, and approximately monthly to another USB drive. If I normally don’t do daily edits, is there a reason I should be scheduling more frequent backups?

Not unless you’re adding music or doing edits you don’t want to lose. Of course, it’s possible any given backup could be defective and you need to drop back to the next older backup. I would rather drop back one day than one week.

For me, it’s doesn’t really matter since most of my music is linked files in Tidal and Qobuz that should self-restore if I ever needed to do a Roon install. I only have 39 music files of my own. I just want the simplicity of doing a Roon install followed by a Roon restore, if ever needed, and all is back to normal.

I guess, if you’re backing up to an attached drive with plenty of space, why not? I recently changed mine to save the last 30 backups. If your core device ever fails, you can be back up and running on another device is a matter of a couple of minutes. If you have a Roon core on more than one device, you can easily sync them up at any time.

This time I used a Roon database backup from Oct 4th (didn’t want to get too close to time drive failed). I did have to redo some edits, but it wasn’t too bad. However, going forward, I did increase the number of saved backups.

1 Like