NAS firmware hack: Synology running on QNAP hardware

[XVortex] pulled off a pretty incredible firmware hack. He managed to get a firmware upgrade for Synology running on a QNAP machine. These are both Network Attached Storage devices, but apparently the Synology firmware is better than what QNAP supplies with their offerings.

The nice thing is that this is not a one-off hack. You can download the raw image and give it a spin for yourself. A few words of warning though. It will only work on models which use the Atom and ICH9R chipset, you’re out of luck if you have one sporting an ARM processor. You will also need to format the drives once the new firmware is flashed so do this before you fill them up.

This harkens back to the days when DD-WRT was first being run on Linksys routers. We don’t remember if that started with upgrade image hacks like this one uses, or if the source code was available (Linksys was compelled to release it once it was proven they were in violation of the GPL).

See a proof video of this hack after the break.

[Thanks ZeroQI]

Comments

  1. Panikos says:

    Looks to me like that is running BSD (maybe based on FreeNAS?)

    So he could possibly try to run FreeNAS on his device to get more features?

  2. Jeremy says:

    It’s an Atom based system which means it’s x86. Given the appropriate amount of flash space for Linux he could run just about anything on it.

  3. Jeremy says:

    After watching the video I can honestly say this is not a hack. He simplay changed the OS just like any of us would do with a regular computer. It’s a small form factor X86 motherboard inside a NAS case, nothing special about it.

  4. h_2_o says:

    agreed not a hack, also qnap encourages its users to try and load different os’s on thier boxes. I’ve seen windows home server loaded as well as many flavors of linux. Heck quite a few people are running different flavors of linux on the arm based machines.

  5. BadIntentions says:

    Not a Hack. I did the same thing years ago with all of the Marvell Feroceon devices out there. I got Patriots ‘Valkyrie’ booting the same firmware QNAP used on their arm devices.

    In fact, I have this exact same NAS, and mine boots OpenWRT, as well as FreeNas (Very tricky, not the msot recent version… yet….)

  6. ScottInNH says:

    Re: Linksys and dd-wrt, what came FIRST is BusyBox strings were found inside the Linksys firmwares, but Linksys was not releasing the source code to the kernel and toolchain.

    Once Linksys complied and released their GPL sources, all these community firmware projects popped up including dd-wrt.

    Slightly off-topic, but the event was posted as a which-came-first (not remembered) question in the summary.

  7. MarkkuA says:

    So I can run the synology firmware (Operating system) on normal PC hardware? That would be really great, since I have an old PC that I was planning to use as NAS -box with some linux… Or am I just dreaming?

    • Jeremy says:

      Yes you can run this software on a normal computer. However I will caution you on using old computers for a NAS. Software RAID (which is what you would most likely have to use) is limited by the processor and other processes running on the system. Every disk access hits the CPU since there’s no RAID controller to take care of this. I ran an old quad core gateway as a file server/desktop with Ubuntu Linux for years using software RAID. The performance hit was noticeable. After building a separate file server with a spare Atom D330 machine and an LSI MegaRAID controller I realized how much that software RAID was slowing the old setup down. If the machines only purpose will be to host a file share and manage the RAID, then you will be fine, but if you plan to do much else with it, get a dedicated RAID controller.

      • MarkkuA says:

        Yes good points Jeremy. As an old PC, I meant my Core Duo T2600 with 2Gb memory, and two 1TB sata hard drives. Which should be plenty.

        And soft RAID is the way to go here, not much activity on this personal server.

        Can someone point me in to the right direction on how to get a working ISO -image. Best would be to have the synology firmware running on a USB flash and have the two disks as mirrored raid for files.

        As I understand the synology software is great and has many features a FreeNas does not include (without massive tweaking).

  8. noob says:

    okay,
    then noob are in town, i have the qnap 259pro, but i dont have any idear how to get the synology “firmware” installed in to my qnap, is the an step by step instruction anyware on the web?? the link for the iso image are gone so i cant dl it, plz help, because the software for qnap s…s,

    the noob

  9. AlfaV says:

    Would it be possible to install SYNOLOGY or QNAP operative system in a normal PC? Say, with following configuration:

    Mainboard MINIX D2700/2500-DC
    with an Intel® Dual-core Atom™ D2700 (2.13GHz)

    (http://www.rr-mc.de/jwele/MINIX-D2700-DC-D2500-DC.pdf)

    OR

    J&W H67M-USB3 ITX (B3)

    (http://www.shopbot.com.au/pp-jw-jw-h67m-usb3-price-311791.html)

    I mean, is it enough to download the operative system into an USB pen and to RUN it?

  10. ZeroQI says:

    http://forum.qnap.com/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=20661&p=263703#p263703

    Some development, with a confirmed mini itx m/b X7SPA-H working for both qnap and synology
    [ http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA.cfm?typ=H ]

    THis one worked with earlier version apparently

    http://www.jetway.com.tw/jw/ipcboard_view.asp?productid=832&proname=NF99FL-525

    Can boot both with vmware and virtual box but vmware see no disk while virtualbox see no network :/

  11. ZeroQI says:

    http://forum.qnap.com/viewtopic.php?f=93&t=20661&start=330

    synology work now under virtualbox
    . create vm using the vdi disk. add a not too small sata disk under sata cointroller
    . select gigabit nic but use mac address 00113208D62A for adapter 1
    . boot the vm
    . use synology assistant to detect the nas, and install using given pat file

  12. de says:

    success!!!! HP Micro Server N40L

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