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Initial Configuration of XPEnology on 45 Drives NAS Unit

First look at XPEnology on 45 Drives Storinator

The heart of the Synology device is its Synology operating system DSM (Disk Station Manager), which is used in all devices produced by Synology. It is a well-optimized Linux kernel, most of the changes which aims to work with hard disk drives (full list of compatible discs) and Raid arrays.  Today, we were able to get the XPEnology bootloader working on the Storinator.

Lots of progress has been made over the past few days with trying to determine an accurate NAS operating system that supports the devices required and is user friendly for even the most novice IT person. First off, using FreeNAS isn’t exactly the best option in my opinion. It offered great performance, but with a significantly more difficult user interface than other options I was looking at. CentOS, Arch Linux, and other raw operating systems offer great flexibility and even received working Highpoint drivers through cross platform configuration of the Highpoint drivers, but typically require expert level knowledge of both the operating system and LVM configuration to maintain the unit. This level of expertise is not the overall objective for the unit and thus other avenues are more suitable.

This brings me to where I am currently. So far, I was able to provide proof of concept that the installation of XPenology on the 45 Drives unit is absolutely possible using hardware other than the Highpoint Technologies Rocket 750 HBA. However, even though the operating system is licensed under GPL, I feel that running the OS on hardware other than Synology offers some legal issues. Thus, this document outlines how you can get the operating system to run on your unit but note that legality of doing so it’s a bit of a grey line. I thereby do not condone the use of this operating system on any other system than Synology official hardware and any use other than installing it on Synology hardware is strictly at your own risk. If you want to use their operating system, buy their hardware.

I’ve tried to lay out the following information in the most direct method possible. So some of the information you find online may lead you in different ways, this how to is probably the most simplistic to get you up and running.

  1. You’ll need the PAT file of your choosing for the DSM operating system that you want to run. In my case, I went with the latest 5.2-5644 release available here.
    1. You can get other loaders from this link: http://xpenology.me/downloads/
  2. The boot loader for XPenology will also be required from here.
  3. Initial installation process using a Windows workstation:
    1. Download win32diskimager : http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
    2. Load win32diskimager, Select the Xpenoboot image file and the usb drive then press Write and wait.

    3. Upon completion, verify the contents of the flash drive. Results may vary, but should be similar to image below.

    4. Locate the vendor ID and Product ID information of your USB drive.
      1. Open the “Device Manager”.
      2. Find the USB device, VID and PID which you want to define.
      3. After clicking the right button, select “Properties”
      4. In the resulting window, select the tab “Data” and, if necessary, choose from the drop-down list line “Device Instance Id”

  4. Initial installation process from OSX workstation:
    1. Plug your USB drive in. It may behoove you to use disk utility to create a FAT formatted partition to ensure there aren’t any odd old partition schemes on there.
    2. Be sure to use MBR

    3. Open Terminal
      1. Run: diskutil list
      2. Locate the USB Drive

      3. Unmount the USB drive: diskutil unmount /dev/disk2s1
      4. Copy the image file downloaded in step 1 to the USB drive: sudo dd if=~/Desktop/Xpenoboot*.img of=/dev/disk2 bs=1m (use the appropriate image file name and appropriate partition number)
  5. Combined installation process.
    1. Once you’ve verified the contents, open the syslinux.cfg file and edit the information as follows:
      1. Change the value of the serial number and MAC address of your syslinux.cfg file as follows:
        sn=B3J4N01003 mac1=00113208D63C mac2=00113208D63D vid=0x0EA0 pid=0x2168
        Where mac1 – address of the first network card, mac2 – second (On the NAS system you’ll be using)
      2. If you want to hide your USB stick from the DSM, change the VID & PID to your flash drive values using the information you obtained from the previous step.

    2. Insert the USB drive in the target NAS computer and boot from the USB drive.

    3. After the system completely boots and prompts you for a login, you’re ready to proceed. Download and install Synology Assistant to your workstation from here and click search.
    4. Once the device is found, right click and select: Install. If the device wasn’t found, make sure the unit is correctly connected to the network on NIC 1 and is able to get a DHCP IP address.

    5. Install the XPenology DSM image you downloaded earlier in step 1 and proceed through the wizard.

    6. Once complete, you can use the Synology Assistant tool and right click on the unit and select Connect.

    7. Reboot, enter in your BIOS and set USB drive as first boot device. The USB drive is used by XPEnology to boot, so you must always keep it connected.
  6. Once the system is functional, you’ll want to get all the drives working. This is a bit time consuming and personally, I haven’t figured it out to a science as of yet. I’ll update this article once I do.
    1. You’ll want to first enable SSH access on your unit so that you can work on it remotely rather than the console.
      1. From the NAS web page, click on control panel.

      2. Click Network and Scroll down to the bottom for Terminal & SNMP.
      3. Select Enable SSH Service

    2. Using Putty or some other SSH client (like the built in Terminal application on Mac), connect to your NAS appliance so that we can modify two files. You can modify these files using FTP, but personally I just use vi. The method in which you modify the files is entirely up to you, so choose something you understand as this will potentially corrupt your system.

      1. The first file you want to modify is /etc/synoinfo.conf

      2. You want to modify four variables as appropriate for your system:
        1. maxdisks=”45″
        2. esataportcfg=”0x000000000000″
        3. usbportcfg=”0x000000000000″
        4. internalportcfg=”0x1fffffffffff”
      3. Save the file once you completed your changes.
      4. The second file you want to modify with the same variables is /etc.defaults/synoinfo.conf
      5. Save the file once you complete your changes and restart the NAS.
  7. Once you restart, you should see your drives as configurable within the Storage Manager. (In my case, the Highpoint Technology controller isn’t recognized.)


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