Stefan Seidel

OpenMediaVault on a neat ARM device

Some time ago I wrote about the Iomega® Storage Manager. This wasn't without a reason, but I was looking forward to purchasing the Iomega® Home Media Network Hard Drive, Cloud Edition (yes, that's a very awkward name). It is a nice little device though, and quite cheap, only a little bit more expensive than the contained hard drive itself. For this, you get

  • Dual-Core 600MHz ARM SoC (PLX NAS7820, actually spec'd at 750MHz by the manufacturer)
  • 256MB RAM
  • 2 USB ports
  • 100/1000MBit/s network port
  • (serial console, 3 buttons, 4 status LEDs)

Now I already mentioned the "Personal Cloud" feature, which was one of the reasons why this was so attractive. Well, it turned out that I could not add more than two devices into my "cloud" (VPN), and the Iomega support, although quite competent, wasn't able to help me.

So I decided to head over to the NAS-Central and dug in the Wiki and some other sources. After hacking the preinstalled system (which is based on Debian Lenny), I got a good grip on the inner workings and looked out for something else that I could put on it. A search at distrowatch brought me to OpenMediaVault, a Debian-based system for NAS devices.

So after quite some work, I can present

OpenMediaVault on the Iomega® Home Media CE

First: A warning.

By doing anything that follows, you could

  • brick your device
  • loose all data on you device
  • void your warranty

or any combination of the above. So don't proceed unless you know what you're doing and you mean it.

Prequisites

You will need

  • definitely: a USB memory stick of at least 512MB (1GB is better if you need to recover the original firmware)
  • definitely: have your device updated to the latest firmware
  • definitely: a network router with DHCP enabled (it usually is) and the device connected to it (otherwise you won't be able to access the device)
  • highly recommended: access to the serial console of the device, although not strictly necessary, is helpful because otherwise you'll have no clue what's going on if it doesn't work (more information, but basically what you need is a 3.3V UART-USB adapter)
  • ideally: a copy of the first 32MB of the hard drive in your device (for last-resort recovery)
  • good to have: reasonable knowledge of Linux

Procedure

  • Download this ZIP file, extract the contents of the first folder in it onto the USB stick (so that the USB stick contains 4 files and one subfolder at its top level)
  • Power down the device
  • Plug the stick into one of the USB ports of the device
  • Power up the device and press and hold the "reset" button (small hole above the USB/Network ports, use needle) - if you have the device cover open for the serial console, you can just press the tiny white button by hand
  • wait until both white LEDs on the front start to blink - you can now release the reset button
  • wait (the installer will format the system portion of the HDD and copy the base system onto it)
  • the device will power down - you can safely pull the USB stick from the device
  • power up the device (e.g. by pressing the power button on top of the back side) - the LEDs might stay dark for a while, don't worry about that
  • the device will now boot the new system and install the OpenMediaVault packages
  • once you see the red LED lighting up, you can go and do something else.

Please don't waste the next 30 minutes of your life by staring at a little red light. It will do some HDD access, sometimes more, sometimes less. It will also go into a period of no HDD access at all. You will think it's dead, but it isn't. Maybe if the red LED doesn't turn off after an hour or so. But again: don't waste your time.

Once the installation is finished (red LED turns off, device reboots, white LED lights up constantly), you should be able to access the web interface (find out the IP from your router or try to use the hostname).

You should then log onto the web interface (username: admin, password: openmediavault) and go through all the settings from top to bottom and adjust them to your needs. I think you will especially want to enable NTP server in the Date&Time settings because otherwise your device will be stuck in 1970. I have not yet tested changing the network settings! If you get an error on the Plugins page, go to the Updates page first and click Check.

If everything went well, you should be able to access your previously stored data when you go to Filesystems, select the only available Device and click Mount.

Troubleshooting

  • after a successful installation you can activate the SSH service in the web frontend and login as root with the password root (and I recommend to change it)
  • the serial console might be the only way to get more information if the installation fails
  • reverting back to the original firmware: either you follow the instructions for Complete Recovery (involves removing the HDD from the enclosure) or you log in via SSH and execute bash /boot/restore_fw.sh - then follow the steps for "normal" recovery
  • for more help, visit the forums at OpenMediaVault or NAS-Central

I hope this works for you, I'm always happy to see feedback in one of the above forums.