I just bought myself a QNAP TS-409 Pro from Skycomp. Very happy with both the device and Skycomp so far.

However, the initial setup was a struggle.

The device has a very limited openwrt-style firmware. Very, very limited: it contains the bare minimum functionality to be able to bootstrap the device with a more capable OS once you have disks installed.

The documented way of doing this is via a "QuickInstall Wizard", that comes on a provided CD in Mac and Windows flavors. I only have Macs on my home network, so the windows flavor wasn't useable for me. The Mac flavor is... interesting. I ran into the problem described here: In short, the full firmware isn't pushed until after the drives are initiated; but the Wizard gets stuck at the "Initializing drives" stage, so the full firmware is never pushed.

I got around it using these instructions - they're described as being "For linux", but as it just uses basic tools like telnet and ftpd, it will work on any *nix.

Some notes:

  • Obviously, had to enable file sharing via FTP on my mac first. Did this under "Sharing" prefpane, "File Sharing", "Share files and folders using FTP". As the warning states, this involves transmitting your username and password in cleartext: only enable this if you're confident you'll only be transmitting them across a safe network. Better, use a username/password you created just for this purpose; which has no special privileges, and which will be turned off as soon as you're done.
  • Out of the box, the device listens for telnet connections on port 13131. Username and password are "admin".
  • Once you've successfully updated the firmare and rebooted, you won't find a telnetd on 13131 any more. THIS IS NOT AN ERROR, DON'T PANIC. Instead, you'll find an sshd listening on port 22.
  • You'll also find a web interface listening on port 8080. If you visit that, you can start the process of setting up the device.
  • It may be helpful to have let the wizard run at least to the "Initializing drives" stage at least once. After I thought I knew what I was doing I switched to a new set of disks and tried again; and this time the hard drives weren't mounted at all, so I couldn't go through the documented process.

It's not clear from the documentation, but the device creates a RAID-1 segment 500Mb in size on each disk you insert (/dev/md9 in my case), and mounts this on /mnt/HDA_ROOT. This is where configs for the device, packages you install, and so on are stored.

The device can handle multiple raidsets - although with only 4 disks to play with, you're not likely to end up with >2 sets. In my cause I currently have 3 1Tb drives in a RAID-5 set, and a single 500Gb disk sitting on its own.