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Ikon's XPenology experience


ikon
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Well, pandemonium peaked my interest (http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/8313-best-os-for-hp-microserver-n54l-nas/page-2#entry90535).

 

I did some more research on XPenology and found, of all things, an article and some software that make it possible to run DSM without having to have a USB flash drive.

 

It was ridiculously easy to set up. Here's a link to the technique I used: http://cyanlabs.net/...out-USB-or-ESXi. I don't know if this is the one you used or not. I did the Win32DiskImager/USB HDD method, using a spare HDD in a SATA drive toaster to create the initial image.

 

I've installed the Photo Station, Download Station,  and Surveillance Station packages. CPU usage is very low (although I haven't hooked up any IP cameras yet).

 

The only issue I have now is that DSM notified me that an update - DSM 5.0-4493 - is available, but I couldn't install it. It errors out, saying there were access issues to a temporary directory. A little more research is needed on this.

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Well, I found out that, as appealing as not having to have a USB flash drive as my boot drive for XPenology is, it's not as practical as I hoped. It turns out that the guy (Fma965) who developed this technique would have to create a brand new image for every major update to DSM. And, from his posts, it doesn't sound like he's all that excited to keep doing it.

 

So, that sends me back to the USB flash drive boot technique. This technique isn't as slick as the non-flash-drive method, but it does work, and it works better for upgrading.

 

The Pros:

  • DSM is even better than it was last time I used it (e.g. the Surveillance Station app didn't exist)
     
  • DSM runs much better on the i5 system I'm testing it on. This is huge for me. My biggest gripe with Synology is that the hardware is overpriced, underpowered, and not upgradeable. I would actually be happy to pay them some money to buy DSM from them, especially if they could get around some of the updating/upgrading issues I've found.
     
  • The installation process is actually quite smooth now; not that it was ever really bad, but it's even better.

The Cons:

  • Upgrading to a major new release is a bit of a pain in the butt. It's necessary to download 2 files: a 'NanoBoot' bootloader image that gets burned to a USB flash drive, and a .PAT file that contains the main DSM installer. It's best to download the .PAT file to an accessible network share, just to ease things later. Win32DiskImager is used to write the NanoBoot loader to the USB flash drive. This has to be done on a Windows computer (another requirement, although not an onerous one). Then, the USB flash drive is moved back to the DSM system and the system is booted from it. When the boot menu comes up, the user has to quickly use the down arrow to select the Install/Upgrade version of the bootloader. Once that's done, it's pretty simple to get the installation going.
     
  • Minor updates to a release are somewhat simpler than major release upgrades, but it is necessary to download the update file. Fma965 doesn't seem to have them on his site. He has what I consider to be a significantly more complex procedure. However, I found that http://www.xpenology.nl does have the updates in a form that can be used by the Manual Update feature of DSM Update & Restore. I was able use that feature to browse to the update file I downloaded and the process went smoothly after that.

 

Well, that's it for now. I'll keep plugging away at it and update when appropriate.

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Correction on your 2nd CON. It's not necessary to manually download the minor update on your computer. Just follow the procedures below: (Source: http://cyanlabs.net/Thread-Updating-To-Minor-Synology-XPEnology-DSM-Versions)
 

  • Login to Synology DSM
  • Go to "Control Panel"
  • Go to "Update & Restore"
  • Press "Download"
  • Once the download is complete DO NOT "UPDATE".
  • Using PuTTY connect to the IP of your DSM, Make sure to LOGIN AS ROOT NOT ADMIN.
  • Copy/Paste and execute the following commands

sed 's/flashupdateDeb/flashupdateDeb1/' /autoupd@te.info > /autoupd@te.info1
mv /autoupd@te.info1 /autoupd@te.info

  • Now go back to your DSM webpage and press "Update"
  • Wait for the update and restart to complete.
  • All sorted now your on the latest minor version.

You missed one CON though, as far as upgrading to a major version is concerned: You will need to connect a monitor and keyboard. Quite annoying if you intended the box to be headless.

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That's a good point. It's not a major issue for me to have a monitor & keyboard attached, but it might be for others. Thanks.

 

Regarding the minor updates, the procedure you posted is the "considerably more complex procedure" I was referring to. I think it's a ton easier to be able to download the update and then just use the GUI to actually apply it, instead of having to run PuTTY and execute 2 esoteric Linux commands, not to mention bouncing back and forth between the the DSM GUI and PuTTY.

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I agree ikon - I've used the USB method too and find that to be more robust/easy. I actually use the internal USB drive for plugging in the boot USB drive(and leaving it there!)... Might as well... can't think of how else to use that USB port...!

 

The Cons:

  • Upgrading to a major new release is a bit of a pain in the butt. It's necessary to download 2 files: a 'NanoBoot' bootloader image that gets burned to a USB flash drive, and a .PAT file that contains the main DSM installer. It's best to download the .PAT file to an accessible network share, just to ease things later. Win32DiskImager is used to write the NanoBoot loader to the USB flash drive. This has to be done on a Windows computer (another requirement, although not an onerous one). Then, the USB flash drive is moved back to the DSM system and the system is booted from it. When the boot menu comes up, the user has to quickly use the down arrow to select the Install/Upgrade version of the bootloader. Once that's done, it's pretty simple to get the installation going

 

For peeps using Mac OSX (like me!)... the DD command works equally well - instead of Win32DiskImager. I used this guide to create the bootable USB... changed all the UBUNTU occurrences & file names with what I had. <<< LINK >>>

 

IKON - dude!! You've done a magnificent job in explaining the nanoboot/usb/install in plain English...! Awesome stuff ! It took me about an hour of trawling through the net to understand how to do it and then I stumbled upon the <<< CYNLABS >>> link... which I personally found extremely easy to follow.

 

I wish someone had taken the trouble of explaining things at a grass-roots level in laymen terms for the heart patients among us (read me!) before you!!

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Not meaning to hijack your thread ikon... but, is it worthwhile mentioning the differences (benefits) of having Xpenology on ESXi and non-ESXi ? Keeping all the info on the topic in one place and all that?

 

I don't know enough about ESXi barring the fact that its installable on the HP N54L microserver (and others), and that its really good if you're planning to run virtual machines. I sort of also figured out that XPenology is actually installed on one of the VMs instead of it being the main OS (!!) for the microserver itself,.. but other than that... I've never used it, nor do I know anything else about it.

Edited by pandemonium
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Official DSM v5.1-5004 is out now.

 

The bad news is, we will have to wait for the XPEnology guys to release the bootloader for this specific version.

 

Anyway, it appears to be a big update. : https://www.synology.com/en-us/releaseNote/DS3612xs

 

EDIT: I tried fooling around with the *.lst files in the Nanoboot memory stick to trick it to install v5.1. I had marginal success in that, it loaded up 5.1. However, some services did not or would not start and forced the volume to dismount. Rebooted a couple of times to see if I could get past it... no dice. I guess it wasn't as easy as I hope it would be.

 

It's now back on v5.0.

 

Though, I am quite impressed that after doing all that, not a single file went missing from the volume ( I had a few test ISO files there as dummies). If this were Windows doing software RAID or, heavens forbid, Storage Spaces, your data would've been [insert expletives here]. :D

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The new update looks interesting!!!  They added OneDrive to their Cloud Sync...that alone is worth checking out.  With unlimited OneDrive cloud storage being available with an Office 365 subscription, this could be a perfect inexpensive off-site backup option.

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