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Biostar A68N-5000 - Virtualized ESXi XPenology


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Hi guys -


Just wanted to share my build info so that others may follow the path that I have taken in creating virtualized XPenology guests on VMWare ESXi 6.0.


I've been running XPenology for about 8 months on an old single core Sempron that was idling at about 60 watts. The power consumption was giving me ticks, so I had planned on doing a BayTrail build when I came across a deal on this AMD A4-5000 embedded board for $40 on Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813138412


I had 8GB of DDR3 laying around, plus a few hard drives (including the R1 pair from my existing XPenology build), but while the board was in-transit, I decided to investigate the virtual build of Xpenology on ESX 6.0. I got the board, installed ESXi 6, and built a couple XPnology VMs on non-protected storage just to prove out that the process would 'work'. Once I had working guests, I went full-monty and bought an LSI 9260-8i off Ebay for $140. Now all the parts are assembled, ESXi installed pretty seamlessly (had to update the Nic driver in the build), and Xpenology-based VM's installed without much fuss.


Parts list:

Biostar A68n-5000

8GB memory

LSI Megaraid 9260-8i with BBU (probably overkill for most use-cases, but the board only has two sata ports - this can support 8 easily, and supposedly 128 but I'm not sure how you would cable that)

2x160GB 2.5" spinning disks (ESX install location) - R1 on the HBA

2x3TB Seagate spinning disks (ESX Datastore) - R1 on the HBA

Silverstone GD05 case.


I can't find the post that I used from this site with the install instructions, but I saved them locally in case this site goes down again. Here is a copy of the instructions that I used:



1. Create the VM

- Use VSphere Client and Create new Custom VM on your ESXi host

- Name it what you want {I used: test-ds-01}

- Store VM where you want {I used my datastore}

- Choose Virtual Machine Version 8

- Choose Linux ? Other 2.6.x Linux (64-bit)

- Configure CPU according to what you want {I used: number of cores per virtual socket = 2}

- Configure RAM according to what you want {I used: 2GB of ram}

- Choose “E1000” as network adapter

- Choose “VMware Paravirtual” as SCSI Controller. {Others may work as well}

- Choose Do Not Create Disk

- Check “Edit before completion of VM”

- Remove Floppy Drive from VM configuration. {Not necessary}

- Keep CD Drive in VM configuration. {Can be useful if you need to boot a Linux Live CD to troubleshoot}

- Remove Floppy Drive from VM configuration

- Choose Resources ? Memory ? Tick the box “Reserve all guest memory (All locked)”



2. Modify IMG file to prevent boot drive from showing up in DSM

- Start up WinImage

- File ? Open, Select “XPEnoboot_DS3615xs_5.1-5022.2.img”

- Extract “syslinux.cfg” to your desktop

- Open “syslinux.cfg” that you just extracted, with Notepad++

- Add “rmmod=ata_piix” (without quotes) to the end of the lines that start with “APPEND”

- Save this modified “syslinux.cfg” file and “Inject” it back to the img file using WinImage (overwrite)

- Save Current Image before you exit WinImage



3. Convert XPEnoboot IMG to VMDK and upload to your datastore

- Start up Starwind V2V converter

- Choose the “XPEnoboot_DS3615xs_5.1-5022.2.img” file you want to convert

- Choose “VMware pre-allocated image”, Choose “IDE” type. (Choosing “IDE” is important!)

- This will create 2 vmdk files, a normal vmdk file and a “flat” vmdk file

- Upload the 2 files to your ESXi Host datastore and put them in the same folder as your VM

- The 2 vmdk files merge to a single vmdk file automatically



4. Adding the XPEnoboot drive to your VM

- Edit your virtual machine setting

- Add a hard drive

- Choose “Use an existing virtual disk”

- Choose the vmdk you uploaded in the previous step.

- Make sure drive is set as IDE (0:0) and check “Independent -> non-persistent”


IDE (0:0) is important because this is the boot disk that starts up XPEnoboot

Non-persistent is important because it prevents the non-booting situation after you do the DSM install. Technical explanation is during DSM install all hard drives get repartitioned including the XPEnoboot drive, the non-persistent setting makes these changes temporary and after a reboot the original XPEnoboot boot partition is returned.



5. Adding Hard Drive(s) to your VM

- Add another hard drive

- Choose “Create a new virtual disk”

- Choose the size you want as your data disk ? Thick Provision Eager Zeroed

- Choose “store with the virtual machine”

- Choose SCSI ID (0:0)

- Finish

- If you want more than 1 drive you can repeat the steps above. Only the next drive will be SCSI ID (0:1)


This drive will become Volume1 on your NAS. It is the default location where Synology Apps are installed.

IDE drive types will not show up in DSM with this install only SCSI types.



6. Installing Synology DSM 5.1-5022

- Right Click select “Open Console” so you can view the VM

- It is preferred to have a DHCP server in your network so the DiskStation will get an IP automatically

- Start the VM, you will see the XPEnoboot screen, then the menu. Choose “Install/Upgrade”

- Once fully booted use a web browser and go to the IP address of the DiskStation

You can use the Synology Assistant to find the IP of your DiskStation

- Click on “install”

- Click on “manual installation” and choose the DSM_DS3615xs_5022.pat file

- Click on “install now”

- Tick the box “Agree that your data is removed from your hard drive(s)” and click “OK”

- The DiskStation software is now being installed

- Once installed your DiskStation will reboot and run the default selection from the boot image

- Your web browser should automatically refresh the page, if not refresh manually

- Give your DiskStation a name and create an admin account + password, click “next”

- Select “Download DSM-updates but let me choose if I want to install” and click “next”

- Uncheck the box for improvements and click on “start”

- Your DiskStation is now installed

- Now go to Storage Manager ? Volume and create your volume

- You now have a working XPEnology VM!!



7. Updating the existing install to DSM 5.1-5022 UPDATE 2

- This step is optionally but (of course) recommended!

- Go to “Control Panel” ? “Update and Restore” and click on “Download”

- When the download is finished click on “Update Now”

- Agree that you won’t turn of your DiskStation while upgrading by clicking “Yes”

- The update will now be installed on your DiskStation

- After installation is complete a dialog is shown to refresh the page. Click on “OK”

- You will be presented with a message saying that your volumes are unmounted

- Give your DiskStation an additional restart and your volumes are back online

- Go back to “Control Panel” ? “Update and Restore” and check your current DSM version

- It should say: “Your DSM version is up to date”



8. Installing the Open-VM-Tools for ESXi

- This step is also optionally but I do recommended it

- Go to “Package Center” ? “Settings” and tick the box “Any Publisher”

- Click on “OK”

- Click on “Manual Install”

- Browse to the “open-vm-tools-bromolow-9.4.0-1280544-50.spk” file

- Click on “next” and leave the boxed ticket that says “run after installation” and click on apply

- Open-VM-Tools is now installed

- You are ready with a fully working DiskStation set-up with the latest DSM version of this moment


I'll dig around and post a follow-up with the instructions for updating the NIC driver on the ESX build and installing ESXi 6 on this configuration in the next couple days.

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Here are the instructions I loosely followed for adding the Realtek nic drivers for my board to the ESX 6.0 build:


http://www.v-front.de/2014/12/how-to-ma ... -work.html




My machine is currently idling at abour 45 watts with one guest running XPEnology.


As I go through with the builds I plan on deploying to this environment, I'll post results back to this site.


Thanks for the help everyone!

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for this! I now have a working build on a Lenovo TS140. A question regarding packages--I'm able to install the original Synology packages like Video Station, Plex, Surveillance Station etc. Is there any reasons why there are community packages aside from the obvious customization features? I mean, does installing original packages break the custom build itself?

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Oh I forgot to mention -- I have an IOQUEST 4-port card which I setup as passthru instead of defining virtual disks. They're dedicated to the DSM anyways and I think you get the benefit of bypassing the ESXi overhead and the capability of retaining your SMART features. Just a thought. :smile:


Thanks again!

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