I decided to build myself a XPEnology NAS. XPEnology is a rebuild of the open source Synology DSM software utilised on the high-end Synology Disk Station devices. The Synology devices are really cool from what I've heard, so if you're rich you should probably buy one. If on the other hand you are like me,
poor tight, you can run XPEnology on your own hardware. Neat.
What you'll need
You will need to following things in order to roll-you-own XPEnology NAS:
- A computer with some disks in it and a network connection with Internet access
- A USB flash drive (I used a 16GB one I bought specifically for this, but you'd probably get away with one much smaller)
- An active DHCP server on your network (usually your broadband/wifi router will be performing this function)
- Win32DiskImager or Rufus
- Access to the following awesome websites -- http://cyanlabs.net/tutorials and http://xpenology.com
- Synology Assistant software
- Nanoboot 126.96.36.199-fat.img
- Patience / time to burn
A lot of people run XPEnology on their HP Microservers. A number of the tutorials over at cyanlabs.net are specifically geared to getting XPEnology working on this hardware.
This arcticle assumes that whatever device you are installing Synology onto doesn't already contain data you wish to keep. Please backup your files before trying this out.
First thing's first. You need to write the Nanoboot image to your USB flash drive. You can use wither Win32DiskImager or Rufus for this purpose. I used Rufus with the following settings...
Safely eject the USB flash drive. Insert it into a USB port on your NAS machine. Power on the machine and interupt the boot sequence so you can select to boot up from the USB drive. This will vary from system to system, but for me I had to hit F9. A better idea might be to go into the BIOS settings (usually by pressing DEL during power on) and set the USB drive to be the primary boot device. After the installation of DSM the system will reboot and it will need to boot from the USB drive to work properly.
A text based bootloader menu should appear. Select the option "Synology DSM 5.0 (Upgrade/Degrade)", then select "DSM 5.0-4493". The machine will boot and as long as you have an active DHCP server on your network should pick up an IP address.
Launch the Synology Assistant application and click Search. The application will scan the local network for "Synology" devices and after a few seconds should bring back a list of IP addresses...
I had all five NICs connected up, so each of them got an IP. I'd previously been into the BIOS of my NAS machine and made a note of the MAC address of the on-board NIC (the one I'd be using for management purposes) but I could have selected any realistically. The Status may show something different. Mine shows up as Migratable, but that's because I probably had a previous DSM installation on the machine as I'd been experimenting with different versions already.
Double click on an entry in the Search window and your web browser will open...
You can see from the above screenshot that Nanoboot configures the hardware in such a way that your system thinks it is a Synology DS3612xs which is an enterprise grade NAS. Buying a legitimate version of this device is seriously expensive. The basic Gigabit version with no disks will run you about £1700. Click the forward arrow.
Select the "Clean Installation" option and click the forward arrow.
Select "Download or install the latest DSM (recommended)". At the time I did this the latest available version was DSM 5.0-4493 update 1. My installation process however seemed to only download the latest major release (e.g. DSM 5.0-4493 without update 1). Currently, update 2 is available but I believe this process will still work, although it is not tested. If you have issues, head over to xpenology.com and download a known working version and perform the installation for the downloaded file by selecting the "Install DSM from my computer or installation disc" option. Click the forward arrow.
Next you will need to enter an admin password and hostname. Do not enter the fully qualified domain name, just the short hostname. When done click the Install Now button. DSM will be installed and the system will reboot. The process should take no longer than about 10 minutes. Once the installation is complete and the system is up and running the webpage will refresh and you will be taken to the login screen. If this isn't the case, check the console of your NAS (in other words, make sure you have a monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked up to the machine). You should be seeing a bunch of boot up messages and a login prompt similar to what you'd expect from a Linux system. If this is not the case, or you're seeing some message like "Operating system not found..." go into your BIOS settings and make sure that your system is configured to boot from the USB drive by default.
Login as "admin" using the password you specified during the installation process. You did remember the password you specified right? That's the installation covered, in the next post I will be covering the basic configuration of the Synology software.