Infrant ReadyNAS hacks

The Infrant ReadyNAS NV is an extremely capable network attached storage (NAS) device that packs some serious power into a tiny box. If you’re in the market for a RAID storage device or perhaps even a home media server, give it a look. You’ll probably be impressed.

The ReadyNAS supports up to 4 drives in RAID 0,1,5 or Infrant’s proprietary X-RAID configuration. The X-RAID technology allows you to add drives as you go and the machine automagically configures the RAID to give you redundant storage.

The ReadyNAS uses a proprietary SPARC-based CPU/motherboard, optimized for RAID in a small package. The Raidiator OS is a slightly customized version of Debian GNU/Linux. So, when you buy a ReadyNAS NV, you are actually buying a tiny box optimized for life as a home RAID storage server.

Despite the impressive features, I had second thoughts, because the readynas doesn’t provide ssh shell/root access. It also doesn’t support rdiff-backup, rsnapshot, or even a version of rsync that plays nicely with Mac OS X (see this site). Shame on Infrant for thinking that power users will want to use their pre-packaged backup solution. In the end, my need for a small-footprint RAID solution for my music library and online backups won out. I bought a disk-less ReadyNAS from eAegis and one 500 GB Seagate Barracuda ES drive from newegg. I plan on adding a second drive soon, but in the meantime…

Since I was already storing data on a stack of external hard drives, there was no immediate rush to transfer all my data to the ReadyNAS immediately. Thus, I had some time to “play” with it before using it as my production backup system. The result is a series of hacks for the Infrant ReadyNAS that I’ve put together in my spare time over the past couple months.


In the next few articles, I hope to cover:

  1. The first article covers gaining root ssh shell access. Go read it now.
  1. Building a cross-compiler for the ReadyNAS using crosstool

    This process is straightforward using crosstool and building on x86 linux.

  2. Compiling a modified version of rsync that properly stores meta-data from HFS+ filesystems.

  1. Installing Python and the necessary requirements to run rdiff-backup

    The ReadyNAS runs Debian Linux, and dpkg is installed. You can download sparc packages and install them. To compile the latest rdiff-backup versions required for use with Mac OS X, you’ll need the cross-compiler. This all works really nicely, except that it’s really slow.

  1. For those of you that were asking, Perl is already installed, so rsnapshot shouldn’t be a problem, although I haven’t tried it yet.
published 23 Nov 2006 #