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Re: Updating OS to something modern

dtarin
Luminary

Updating OS to something modern

So I have an old ReadyNAS NVX and a soon to be decommissioned ReadyNAS516.   They're both going to turn into backup systems for a new NAS that just arrived, but am wondering.. the hardware on the 516 is still decent.  Is it possible to replace and upgrade it to modern NAS OS?  Or maybe at least upgrade the old debian version it's running. 

 

Anyone have success with either?  

Message 1 of 15
dtarin
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern

thinking out loud for.. but maybe I could put TrueNas (or somthing.. that's the only one I am familiar with) on a USB and boot off that? 

Message 2 of 15
schumaku
Guru

Re: Updating OS to something modern

The ReadyNAS BIOS is rock-solid against configuration errors - there is intentionally no way to make a ReadyNAS boot strictly from any USB connected device.

Message 3 of 15
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Updating OS to something modern

The NVX, being the first Intel based ReadyNAS and designed by Infrant prior to the Netgear purchase, may not be as solidly locked down.  It may use a more generic BIOS than later models.  I've never tried to access it's bios (though I have two in storage).  But the fact that the NVX has a 32-bit processor is going to be a bigger hurdle.  TrueNAS has been 64-bit only for a number of years, as have most potential alternatives.

 

Given the state of Netgear support for the ReadyNAS, the ability to go back to the original OS shouldn't be much of a driver today.  So, IMHO, the best solution for units that are "locked down" is to do exactly as Netgear does -- put a boot loader and small OS in flash (or use UBoot for ARM systems) that chain-loads the real OS.  Of course, you wouldn't need (or likely even want) to have an image of the "real" OS in flash like Netgear does since it would likely get too big.

 

I would love to see a group start a project for a ReadyNASOS replacement.  Not being much of a programmer or even an expert on the inner workings of Linux, my contribution could be that I have a lot of machines on which to test (unless I sell them first).  IMHO, such a project should try to come as close to "for dummies" as possible for the actual conversion and not require a display.  For example, use the Netgear USB recovery system to write the flash and put into that flash options to boot normally from the drives (which would be the default) or to copy an OS from a USB drive (which might be on the same USB as the recovery system or on a separate one) to the drives.

 

In his farewell, @WhoCares_ mentioned the possibility of such a project, and I think he'd be a great one to lead it.  Unfortunately, he seems to have simply given up on the ReadyNAS.

Message 4 of 15
WhoCares_
Mentor

Re: Updating OS to something modern

@Sandshark You may want to check this: https://github.com/RustyDust/readynas-alpine

😉

 

-Stefan

Message 5 of 15
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Updating OS to something modern

Hey, @WhoCares_ , thanks for that, and good to see you're still around.  It's not yet "for dummies" with no GUI, but it looks like a great start.  Personally, I'd prefer a Debian (or at least Ubuntu) based system for greater familiarity and commonality with ReadyNASOS, but beggars can't be choosers.  The fact that this preserves the volume is really nice, and not even something I'd expect (mostly because I'd recommend a larger OS partition).

Message 6 of 15
WhoCares_
Mentor

Re: Updating OS to something modern

> good to see you're still around

 

I never left. But for the last couple of years my account was blocked because of some weid IP restriction. Today I thought I could check again and lo and behold — I was able to login again for the first time in 5 or 6 years 😂

 

>   It's not yet "for dummies" with no GUI, but it looks like a great start.

 

I´m totally aware of that. Quite frankly, it was born from a "scratch your own itch" approach. I don't really need the UI but I wanted to keep the data while at the same being able to use newer tools and apps. Also:

 

Personally, I'd prefer a Debian (or at least Ubuntu) based system for greater familiarity

 

Semantics aside (Ubuntu is based on Debian, therefor it should read "Ubuntu or at least Debian" 😉) I would agree and that was the first line of approach I used. However, the really braindead partitioner used in both, Debian and Ubuntu, prevented me from doing an in-place upgrade. With Alpine however it was really easy to keep the original partitioning and even have the ReadyNAS boot as it alwaxs does: from the internal USB memory.

Since the original Software refused to run on a system I force-upgraded to Debian 10 and since I don't think that NTGR will release the software to OpenSource I decided to ditch it completely and maybe write a new web interface if I felt the need and got the time. Using Golang one could bulld really nice integrated management apps that won't require a web server (just. look at Gitea or EVCC for examples). 

This would then allow for easier integration of other apps using a more modern web server than Apache (think Nginx or Caddy) that isn't also tasked with delivering the management app. So you'd have separation of concerns which makes it easier to secure apps you maybe want to open to the internet.

I also looked at OpenMediaVault but found that it takes a totally different view on shares than th ReadyNAS. So I stopped there since the effort for translating between the ReadyNAS and the OMV approach would have been too much of a hassle. 

Lastly, Alpine has a very easy way of bundling apps. So if anyone would be interested in really building apps on top of the converted system they could do so more easily than when using the Debian eco system.

 

mostly because I'd recommend a larger OS partition


That's why I decided to leave the original OS partiton as is and put the Alpine OS on the data partiton. If the conversion fails you should be able to restore the original ReadyNAS OS using the USB recovery method. I know that this also means losing 4GB of possible storage space, but then: who cares? 😉

 

-Stefan

 

Message 7 of 15
StephenB
Guru

Re: Updating OS to something modern


@WhoCares_ wrote:

You may want to check this: https://github.com/RustyDust/readynas-alpine

 


Cool.

 

I'm thinking that backup jobs, power schedule, and maintenance schedules are also lost, and of course X-RAID expansion.  

 

Not sure if you are planning an Arm version too, but maybe add in x86 to the prerequisites for now.

 

Might also be good to note what happens if the user does an OS reinstall or a factory default from the boot menu after doing this conversion.

Message 8 of 15
WhoCares_
Mentor

Re: Updating OS to something modern

backup jobs, power schedule, and maintenance schedules are also lost, and of course X-RAID expansion.

 

Correct on all accounts. That's mostly because for all of those except the x-RAID expansion I use Jenkins anyway. That said, most of these festures should be fairly easy to implement. I already noticed that NTGR seems to have ditched the "real" expansion, but create new raid devices instead that are then linked to the existing BTRFS volume. No magic anymore, can be done with the standard BTRFS tools.

 

Not sure if you are planning an Arm version too

 

Sure do, just didn't have the time to tinker with the Alpine u-boot installer. Help is welcome, though 😉

 

but maybe add in x86 to the prerequisites for now.

 

Write an issue.  Or better yet, send a PR 😉

 

Might also be good to note what happens if the user does an OS reinstall or a factory default from the boot menu after doing this conversion.

 

I'm not sure right now whether those options will still exist after the conversion. So I guess what's needed here is a more detailed description of how to get back to the original state. Thanks, I'll see what I can do.

 

-Stefan

Message 9 of 15
tigerten
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern

welcome back @WhoCares

Message 10 of 15
tigerten
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern


@schumaku wrote:

The ReadyNAS BIOS is rock-solid against configuration errors - there is intentionally no way to make a ReadyNAS boot strictly from any USB connected device.


This is incorrect, at least with 628X. 

 

With 628X, I can boot from any drive, external USB OR internal HDD. You  just need to disable the one from booting inthe BIOS. 

 

I have installed ESXi to one of the internal HDD and it works fine. I have also converted to an Xpenology by auto booting from an external USB drive, and this works well as well. 

 

So I assume, you can install any OS to any internal HDD. I also assume you canswap out the internal daughter board, which is a 9-pin USB DOM, which is readily available on ebay and cheap. This way you can revert back to original ReadyNAS easily by DD an image back to the daughter board. Your original daughter board is kept as backup. 

 

USB DOM 

 

The only barrier for this to work is that you need video output. I used an PICe extension cable with mine so I can insert an external video card. 

 

 

Message 11 of 15
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Updating OS to something modern

Only the most recent ReadyNAS use a USB DOM.  On most, the flash is soldered in.

Message 12 of 15
tigerten
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern


@Sandshark wrote:

Only the most recent ReadyNAS use a USB DOM.  On most, the flash is soldered in.



Did a quick research. 

 

I believe the RN3xx series and before do not have the removable internal USB. Everything from RN4xx series has a removable USB inside. These are basically the same as rackmount series, it is just the diffrent type of USB flash drive. 

 

 

Message 13 of 15
dtarin
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern

Wait, so you're saying I can buy one of those DOM thingies on eBay, crack open my NAS, find the thing that looks like the thing I got on eBay, swap it out, and I'm golden to load up a shiny new OS of my choosing?   (I'm not interested in saving the data on on the NAS, it's been migrated and backed up, so I will be wiping it anyway). 

Message 14 of 15
tigerten
Luminary

Re: Updating OS to something modern

You may have to verify the type of daughter board your NAS has. Not all ReadyNAS come with the same one. Some has 9-pin ones; others come with 10-pin ones. 

 

Mine is a 628X, which has the 10-pin DOM as I described here: 

 

628X Daughter board 

 

Here is another user describing his 424 as having a 9-pin one: 

 

424 daughter board 

 

I assume you can always use a converting cable to convert them to a regular USB interface: 

 

10-pin motherboard header to to USB 2.0 

 

There are tons of 9-pin converters. 

 

The problem with the 10-pin motherboard header converter is the orientation. I have never seen one, I dont know the cable is clearly marked for number of pins

 

 

Message 15 of 15
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