Myrixamophit

Just another Noobie Thread - basic questions collection

Recommended Posts

So, here we go: another Noobie, another set of questions!

 

First: I'm so grateful people are doing this XPEnology thing, this is just great. Great for user having leftover hardware or can not afford Synology Hardware. Also great for Synology promoting their Software, maybe gathering future DS users. Thanks. Thanks a lot!     *deep and slow bow*

 

Now to me:

Quite normal PC user, Gamer, having build silent/watercooled PCs for over 15 years, nothing fancy, still fascinated by PC Hardware, although now getting a bit tired of the hobby. Always more Hardware than Software Guy. English is not my native tongue, so please excuse any glitches in my writing.

 

My Hardware:

I'm runnning a HP N54L since a few years, 4 disks as of now (2x2GB + 2x3GB slow eco HDDs, non NAS, both couples as Raid1 for redundancy), 8GB ECC RAM and the Intel Gigabit NIC (is that right? NIC? the networkcard?), upgraded with a fanless power supply and a slowed down Noiseblocker 140mm Fan. For a while running Windows Home Server 2011, than switched to FreeNAS. Ever since I feel FreeNAS is not really what I'd call accessible. FreeNAS gave me quite a lot trouble with access rights and is hard to master when you only access it once or twice a year for checkup or when something is wrong. Hence my intention to use DSM. I only need a  stable NAS to backup all PC in the household via Acronis, store a few things and have kind of a shared or exchange folder. No streaming, no multimedia, no cloud or anything else. (Maybe a mail server in the future... if feasable) I just need NAS in it's purest form, no bells and whistles, easily handled and stable.

 

So, this weekend I'm gonna give it a try and have some questions beforehand. Of course I'd like somebody to take my hand and guide me through everything, taylored to my specific case, but I'm not gonna get that. It's ridiculous, I know that. So I just would like to ask you guys if got everything right so far, ok? So could someone please confirm or answer to the following:

 

  • There are obviously 2 ways to get DSM on any hardware:
    • having a VM in which it runs (that's this EXSI thingy, right?), basically emulating suitable hardware, emulating a Synology DS?
    • having a simple Bootloader running from USB stick, which just makes DSM start on non Synology Hardware, you called that "bare metal", right? This thing provides the drivers needed for the "Alien Hardware", correct?
  • I'd like to go for the "bare metal" solution, as VM is overkill for me, so this Bootloader would start DSM, which is installed on my Drive array. Is there any way to have DSM not on the Drive array but on, say a little SSD or 2.5" HDD? Does that would even make any sense? Performance wise? Or for the integrity of the Data on the array?
  • The N54L is obviously very commonly used with XPEnology but seemed to have trouble getting the latest DSM versions and with the WPA/WPA2 breach I'd like to make sure that it's possible to update to the latest version as Synology just fixed the issue (like 2 Days or so ago) --> I've seen people confirming latest update on N54L, but how? Which loader are they using?
  • The N54L had no Wake on LAN, hence I bought the Intel NIC which added that but never got it working under FreeNAS. There is the compplexity of FreeNAS again... gave up, NAS was always on ever since. Is Wake on LAN possible with DSM and the onboard LAN? Do I still need the Intel NIC? Will my N54L finally work like supposed to concerning going to sleep and wake up if there is Network activity?
  • What happens when the DSM gets somehow corrupted? Is all Data lost or can it be extracted after DSM reinstall? It's certainly not as handy as a Windows PC after crash, where the data would still be available if plugged in another system, or is it?
  • Does the hardware of the N54L provide any benefit over the rather lowish Hardware of the Synology DSs available to by? Or is it a waste? Thinking of buying a proper DS in the future and selling the N54L, lowering space and energy usage
  • Finally: I've heared of encryption in the commercial talk of synology. Is that done via the DSM software or rather a hardware feature of their processors used? Hence: is encryption available for XPEnology users?
  • Oh and were to get the latest Bootloader & XPEnology version for the N54L? I can certainly find something but whats the best / most trusted source in your opinion?

 

I guess these are my most pressing questions, no doubt to be followed up by some more if installation is not a breeze like in all the youtube tutorials. And it never is, is it?

 

Thanks in advance for any answers, looking forward to make use of the community power here!  ;-)

 

Cheers,

Myrixamophit

 

Edited by Myrixamophit
update & corrrections

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and Welcome to the forum,

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • There are obviously 2 ways to get DSM on any hardware:
    • having a VM in which it runs (that's this EXSI thingy, right?), basically emulating suitable hardware, emulating a Synology DS?
    • having a simple Bootloader running from USB stick, which just makes DSM start on non Synology Hardware, you called that "bare metal", right? This thing provides the drivers needed for the "Alien Hardware", correct?

 

Correct. In both ways you will have to use the bootloader in order for DSM to boot but in a VM you don't actually need a USB the booloader file itself will suffice. In a baremetal not only it provides the required drivers but is also allows DSM to be installed and booted. In a real Synology box the bootloader is actually a chip integrated to the motherboard.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • I'd like to go for the "bare metal" solution, as VM is overkill for me, so this Bootloader would start DSM, which is installed on my Drive array. Is there any way to have DSM not on the Drive array but on, say a little SSD or 2.5" HDD? Does that would even make any sense? Performance wise? Or for the integrity of the Data on the array?

 

No. DSM will install itself in all drives. That's how you have redundancy and how you are able to recover and keep on having an operational NAS if a HDD fails. DSM occupies roughly 5GB (2.4G x 2 partitions per drive) which honestly isn't much on large HDDs.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • The N54L is obviously very commonly used with XPEnology but seemed to have trouble getting the latest DSM versions and with the WPA/WPA2 breach I'd like to make sure that it's possible to update to the latest version as Synology just fixed the issue (like 2 Days or so ago) --> I've seen people confirming latest update on N54L, but how? Which loader are they using?

 

As far as I am aware people are able to run DSM 6.1.3 update 8 (the latest) on N54L. However, it needs some tweaking due to the fact that it is an AMD based machine and the current loader was not fully made with AMD in mind. But it does work. One needs to disable C1E in the bios and also add:

disable_mtrr_trim
in the 'set common_args_3615' line in grub.cfg file configuration file contained within the loader to allow full RAM availability. - Read below:

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • The N54L had no Wake on LAN, hence I bought the Intel NIC which added that but never got it working under FreeNAS. There is the compplexity of FreeNAS again... gave up, NAS was always on ever since. Is Wake on LAN possible with DSM and the onboard LAN? Do I still need the Intel NIC? Will my N54L finally work like supposed to concerning going to sleep and wake up if there is Network activity?

 

I can't confirm since I don't have an N54L but I think it does work. Simply follow the tutorial below on how to install DSM on baremetal. Also search the forum.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • What happens when the DSM gets somehow corrupted? Is all Data lost or can it be extracted after DSM reinstall? It's certainly not as handy as a Windows PC after crash, where the data would still be available if plugged in another system, or is it?

 

Data usually can always be extracted/recovered with a little of unix command line magic. That's because your data is saved on a different partition than DSM. I have made a tutorial on how to access the data if something goes wrong. The tutorial is in the tutorial forum, pinned.

If you chose the proper array configuration on setup you should in principale not even needs this since your data will be redundant and also placed in other HDD of the raid array. It will depend what RAID you chose though.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • Does the hardware of the N54L provide any benefit over the rather lowish Hardware of the Synology DSs available to by? Or is it a waste? Thinking of buying a proper DS in the future and selling the N54L, lowering space and energy usage

 

I will let that get answered specifically by others but in general the purpose of having an XPEnology box (non-Synology hardware) is to benefit from the extended hardware capabilities of non-synology hardware and of course at a fraction of the cost of a real Synology.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • Finally: I've heared of encryption in the commercial talk of synology. Is that done via the DSM software or rather a hardware feature of their processors used? Hence: is encryption available for XPEnology users?

 

I do not use that functionality but I did make a test and encrypted a shared folder. Seems to have worked. I'll let other chime in.

 

 

14 hours ago, Myrixamophit said:
  • Oh and were to get the latest Bootloader & XPEnology version for the N54L? I can certainly find something but whats the best / most trusted source in your opinion?

 

Simply use the official loader available in the topic below or the one in the tutorial. They link to the same file. Ignore the Chinese script below, that's just a ramdom background image from a post made in the thread.

 

 

Enjoy, and again, read and search the forum. It's all there.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Quote

Correct. In both ways you will have to use the bootloader in order for DSM to boot but in a VM you don't actually need a USB the booloader file itself will suffice. In a baremetal not only it provides the required drivers but is also allows DSM to be installed and booted. In a real Synology box the bootloader is actually a chip integrated to the motherboard.

 

A dedicated chip for the bootloader, interesting. So not much difference to baremetal method using a USB Stick, with the loader simulating a chosen high end DS Hardware. Now that I've done the whole process (several times) I finally get the principal.  ;-)

 

Quote

As far as I am aware people are able to run DSM 6.1.3 update 8 (the latest) on N54L. However, it needs some tweaking due to the fact that it is an AMD based machine and the current loader was not fully made with AMD in mind. But it does work. One needs to disable C1E in the bios and also add:

in the 'set common_args_3615' line in grub.cfg file configuration file contained within the loader to allow full RAM availability. - Read below:

 

Thanks for the hint, all done. It's no fun to fiddle around in the files like that,  but also no rocket science.

 

Quote

No. DSM will install itself in all drives. That's how you have redundancy and how you are able to recover and keep on having an operational NAS if a HDD fails. DSM occupies roughly 5GB (2.4G x 2 partitions per drive) which honestly isn't much on large HDDs

 

I can't confirm since I don't have an N54L but I think it does work. Simply follow the tutorial below on how to install DSM on baremetal. Also search the forum.

 

Ok, no use to utilise a separate HDD/SSD, thanks. N54L use with newest critical update has been confirmed working, also with Jun's Loader 1.06b. It's just not working for me...

 

Quote

Data usually can always be extracted/recovered with a little of unix command line magic. That's because your data is saved on a different partition than DSM. I have made a tutorial on how to access the data if something goes wrong. The tutorial is in the tutorial forum, pinned.

If you chose the proper array configuration on setup you should in principale not even needs this since your data will be redundant and also placed in other HDD of the raid array. It will depend what RAID you chose though.

 

Nice Tutorial, so there is lot's of backup to ease my mind. Well done. With 4 Discs of slightly different size this RAID5 like "Synology Hybrid Raid" is the way to go for me anyway.
 

Quote

I will let that get answered specifically by others but in general the purpose of having an XPEnology box (non-Synology hardware) is to benefit from the extended hardware capabilities of non-synology hardware and of course at a fraction of the cost of a real Synology.

 

Which is a great thing for nearly anybody! I guess such hardware is just wasted on basic NAS usage like in my case.

 

Quote

Simply use the official loader available in the topic below or the one in the tutorial. They link to the same file. Ignore the Chinese script below, that's just a ramdom background image from a post made in the thread.

 

Great, thanks for the link. I used latest (and different) version of Jun's (1.06b), but without any luck. Must be something else in my case as others have confirmed Jun's 1.06b working with the N54L.

 

Quote

Enjoy, and again, read and search the forum. It's all there.

 

It is indeed! Scattered and clustered, sorted by some honorable few sometimes, but certainly there.

 

@Polanskiman: Thanks a lot for your thorough and interesting answers, it finally made my understand what is actually done when using XPEnology. Which is way more important than any step by step tutorials. Actually understanding what one is doing instead of simply following a manual helps greatly in deducting reasons for errors/mistakes when they occur. So, thanks a gain for your time, it's truly appreciated.

 

I can determine now that my case not working properly has nothing to do with the loader, the driverset within it, the PAT file or the fact I'm using a N54L. The loader grub.config modifications have been triple-checked. The source of error lies somewhere else and requires a lot more deep dive than I can afford right now. What I can actually afford is a new NAS Box. The fact that during all the fiddeling over the weekend (which is almost over, it's Sunday afternoon here in Europe) my N54L decided to no longer boot into anything, not even the bios, helps with that decision. As of now it's the Power Supply, for the second time on this one...   I consider my trusty Microserver now finally dead and ordered a new DS418j online. Way enough for my basic needs, reasonable priced at 302€ and coupled with less risks. Spending a weekend for this whenever a problem occours I cannot afford.

 

I had really looked forward to use XPEnology, but I jsut can't invest much time and effort in it... so I fled in the easy purchasing the original option!  :?  I hopefully shall be forgiven...

I actually was at this point a few years ago already with my first try on XPEnology, fled into FreeNAS back then. Here we go again... now I'm with Synology.

 

 

However, as a help to any other newcomers:

  • XPEnology is definitly worth a try if there is compatible hardware laying around already.
  • XPEnology is free but requires some time and effort to be invested!
  • it must be principally understood what one is doing with this, step by step tutorials or not, understanding the principal is key here.
  • support within this community is there, and a huge amount of it! Lot's of work done to avoid the pain for others.
  • My bottom line is: If you got the money, buy Synology / if you got the time & hardware, get XPEnology

 

 

So, a big THANKS to @jun & @Polanskiman for their work & efforts and everybody who contributes to this forum!

 

Go on bringing Synology's DSM on non Synology Hardware, you guys rock with this!

 

Cheers,

Myrixamophit

 

PS: anybody in Europe want's to buy an upgraded N54L with a faulty power supply? Nah... just kidding!

Edited by Myrixamophit
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now