I have a 2nd generation Drobo with 4TB worth of drives and 2.6TB of usable space. I loved the drobo’s ability to use drives with different sizes, however it is quite useless without any NAS capability.
The droboshare adds NAS capability to the drobo for $199 USD, which is an insane price tag for what it is. I looked around the web and found two worthy alternatives – pogoplug and tonidoplug. Both are based on the same architecture – the Sheevaplug from Marvell. (1GZ ARM cpu with 512MB RAM and 512MB Flash).
The Pogoplug is a widely popular product with their own backend service that will allows user to share data on the Internet directly from the NAS. However, I’m not a big fan of pogoplug’s closed platform, and the fact that all my data are routed by the pogoplug server. Eventually I ordered the tonidoplug which is cheaper and did exactly what I needed it to do.
The guys over at Tonido really tried to simply the setup process for the average user. There are still flaws and bugs, but the community is growing quickly and your questions do get answered.
The only problem with the Tonidoplug is that it cannot detect multiple LUNs on a single device. This means if you have multiple partition on your drive, the 2nd partition will not be recognized. Secondly, the maximum supported volume size is only 2TB. These problems eventually killed the dream of using it as a droboshare…
However, these should be easy things to fix as long as the Linux kernel on the plug are recompiled to support these features… I have already made contact with one of the users on the forum who is looking into writing a system module to address these limitation temporarily. I hope tonidoplug will come up with an official update soon.
They have huge potential to capture the droboshare’s marketshare.
Update: With help from the guys over the Tonido support forum we found a temp solution. It’s not pretty but It sure does work! Read on…
Basically the idea is to load a more updated kernel with a USB stick.
You will need:
- USB flash drive 512MB or larger
- Powered USB hub to connect drives
Install TonidoPlug firmware to a USB drive
1. Connect the USB drive to TonidoPlug. The USB drive will be automounted on /media/usb0. Stop samba server and unmount the USB drive before proceeding. To do this SSH to the TonidoPlug and run the following commands.
# /etc/init.d/samba stop # umount /media/usb0
2. Make sure the external USB drive is not mounted anywhere else. Check the output of the following command.
# mount rootfs on / type rootfs (rw) tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755) /proc on /proc type proc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev) sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev) varrun on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755) varlock on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,mode=1777) udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755) tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev) devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620) tmpfs on /var/cache/apt type tmpfs (rw,noatime)
As you can see the USB harddrive (usually /dev/sdaX) is not mounted anywhere else
3. Format the USB drive partition. You are about to create EXT3 filesystem on the USB drive partition. Warning: This command will wipe all the data on the partition.
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1
Note: If you have multiple partitions in your USB drive, you have to always use the first partition, because the TonidoPlug will boot only from the first partition of the external drive.
4. Once the formatting is completed, mount the partition on a temporary directory
# mount /dev/sda1 /media/usb0
5. Download the root and modules tar ball from TonidoPlug site and place in the newly created ext3 partition.
# cd /media/usb0 # wget http://www.tonido.com/downloads/plug/rootfs.tar.gz # wget http://www.tonido.com/downloads/plug/modules.tar.gz
Please make sure the checksum of the files match the following values
# md5sum rootfs.tar.gz 958a32161e1daf1c79d88b1c6f6e85bf rootfs.tar.gz # md5sum modules.tar.gz c2b89c8dd681656427b27a2fc1db725f modules.tar.gz
6. Untar the downloaded tar file onto the ext3 partition.
# tar zxvf rootfs.tar.gz # tar zxvf modules.tar.gz
7. Now stop tonido and copy the tonido directory from your existing internal flash disk.
# initctl emit tstop # cp -dpr /root/app/ /media/usb0/root/
Install a New Kernel
cd /media/usb0/ wget http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/220.127.116.11/sheeva-18.104.22.168-Modules.tar.gz tar xzvf sheeva-22.214.171.124-Modules.tar.gz rm sheeva-126.96.36.199-Modules.tar.gz cd boot rm uImage wget http://sheeva.with-linux.com/sheeva/188.8.131.52/sheeva-184.108.40.206-uImage mv sheeva-220.127.116.11-uImage uImage
Now reboot the plug and SSH into it. You should see the new kernel version in the SSH greeting.
Note that this method requires you to have a POWERED USB hub. Simply plug in the Drobo after the plug boots up with the new kernel and it will be auto-mounted to /media/usb0