Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Hiding Files & Folders from FTP users

The ReadyNAS devices support a variety of protocols, a consequence of which is that shares may include a number of system folders that are only intended to be used to support certain protocols.

By default these files & folders are typically hidden when a ReadyNAS device is accessed via CIFS or AFP, but all of them show up when accessed via FTP which can at best be distracting and at worst downright confusing for users. It can also lead to issues if FTP users were to modify any of those folders for any reason.

Hiding these files & folders, and any others that you may wish, is fortunately easy to do on a share be share basis as follows:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Aperture Workflow with ReadyNAS

Over the past few months I've had a number of requests from the ReadyNAS forum & elsewhere for info on how I implement my Aperture Workflow with a ReadyNAS device. This is a short overview of how I work.

I use Aperture primarily on my iMac that sits in the same room as my Ultra-4 and NV+ NAS, wired to the same GbE Switch, but also on my MacBook when travelling. I have adopted a Referenced Library approach that maximizes my Aperture performance while enabling me to store images on the NAS that can then be accessed by other applications, as follows:

Edit: I have completed some new performance testing of hosting Aperture Libraries directly on  a ReadyNAS via AFP. See end of the post for an update

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Overview of ReadyNAS Permissions

Setting up share & file permissions on ReadyNAS devices can generate a substantial number of questions and problems. In most cases, these questions & problems are due to either a lack of understanding by the user of how permissions are designed to work, or a user having incorrect expectations of how permissions work - particularly when more familiar with Windows systems.

This post aims to provide a simplified overview of how permissions work on ReadyNAS devices and what must be considered when configuring them.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Enabling Admin access to the C Volume over AFP

The ReadyNAS firmware has long enabled the admin user to connect to the NAS via CIFS and be able to see the root data volume. For those not familiar, when the admin user connects to the NAS s/he will see all shares plus an additional share called "c" - this is the data volume on the NAS that contains all shares.

One of the key benefits to this is it allows the admin use to directly move data between shares - the data does not travel via the client PC or Mac - and so moves are virtually instantaneous, allow admin to reorganise data quickly & easily.

This is a great feature, but what about those operating in Mac only environment where CIFS is not enabled?

There is a fix, though it requires SSH access to your NAS. Simply add the following line to the file /etc/netatalk/AppleVolumes.system:
"/c" "c" cnidscheme:dbd forceuid:root allow:admin

VoilĂ ! admin can now connect to you NAS over AFP and has full access to the root of the data volume, just like CIFS users

Note: This change will not survive a firmware upgrade, and so must be made again after the upgrade.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Why can't I play my files via DLNA?

The DLNA Organisation defines itself as follows:
The digital home is an evolution of the idea that PCs, consumer electronics and mobile devices should work together seamlessly through a wired or wireless network to share digital content within a home environment. Digital Living [Networking Alliance - DLNA] extends that idea to include sharing content on the go as well.

- DLNA Frequently Asked Questions
The aim is simple and admirable - create a mechanism whereby anyone can access any of their media on any of their devices - Computer, TV, Phone etc. - connected to a home network. Then ensure the success of that mechanism by certifying product compliance with the proposed mechanism.

Netgear has achieved DLNA certification for a number of their ReadyNAS products, providing the ability to stream media to client devices via their ReadyDLNA software included in their NAS firmware. ReadyDLNA simply streams media as-is using the DLNA specified methods - it doesn't modify it or transcode the media in any way, and will stream far more formats than specified by DLNA. (Not that you would know this without trying ReadyDLNA, because Netgear hasn't released any form of user guide for ReadyDLNA or even published the formats it supports)

But this level of support by ReadyDLNA is also the source of an all too common set of questions on the ReadyNAS Forums when trying to access media via ReadyDLNA:
  • Why don't I see all of my media when accessing it via DLNA?
  • Why doesn't my DLNA Certified client play my FLAC audio/MPEG4 AVC Video/[Insert format here] ?
  • Why is it that my DLNA Certified client can play [insert format here] when accessed from a disc, or from a network share - but not via ReadyDLNA?
  • Is the ReadyDLNA server broken?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Installing an SSL Certificate on your ReadyNAS

How often have you seen a warning like this?

Or this:

More importantly, how often do other users of your NAS see such warnings? And do they know what to do to avoid them, or understand that they are not some kind of fatal error and that your website or NAS access is working just fine?

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Installing Java on x86 ReadyNAS

Here's a step by step guide to installing Java from the official Debian Etch repository.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Installing VirtualBox on the ReadyNAS Ultra

So - I finally got around to reinstalling VB on my Ultra-4.

Here are the steps I used to install the 64 bit version of VB 3.2.8 under RAIDiator 4.2.13 - all worked perfectly first time (though hope I haven't forgotten to copy/paste something)

Monday, 27 September 2010

Restoring SSH Access

One of the most powerful features of the ReadyNAS product line is the ability to enable Secure SHell (SSH) access. Via SSH, it is possible to both install additional software as well as gain secure remote access to the ReadyNAS unit.

Once enabled, many users prefer to customise their SSH access also, particularly to increase security vs the default settings by, for instance, limiting root access or requiring public key authentication be used. To achieve this it is necessary to edit the file "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" file.

This however can be the source of major issues - edit the sshd_config file incorrectly and it is possible to prevent SSH access working correctly. But without SSH access there is no way to fix the error as a firmware reinstall will not will not revert the sshd_config file back to the default settings. And it is a very easy mistake to make...

Fortunately there is a way to restore the file to its default settings by following these steps:

Friday, 17 September 2010

How to Direct Connect to your ReadyNAS

When encountering a problem with a ReadyNAS device, it is often useful during the process of diagnosing that problem to eliminate the network to which the ReadyNAS is connected to determine if the issue is truly with the ReadyNAS, or due to the network to which it is connected.

Any ReadyNAS device can be connected directly to a client via a standard ethernet cable - there is no requirement for a cross-over cable as the ReadyNAS ethernet ports are autosensing. Therefore, to make the direct connection work, it is simply a matter of ensuring the client is configured with an appropriate IP address and subnet mask.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

How to Migrate to User Security Mode

With newer OS'es like Windows 7 and OSX Snow Leopard, the "Share" security mode featured on some older ReadyNAS devices like the NV+ is unfortunately no longer supported. The solution to the problems this causes is to migrate the ReadyNAS to "User" security mode. In "User" mode, individual user accounts are created on the NAS for each person that will access it. That user account is then granted appropriate access to shares, rather than the shares themselves being password protected. To migrate to "User" mode, 3 major steps are required:
  1. Change Mode
  2. Create a User for you to access the NAS
  3. Fix permissions so that new user account has full access to the data, as before.
Afterwards you may wish to take an additional step 4) to create other user accounts and give them permissions that may be the same or different from your own user account. These are the accounts your friends, colleagues, family would use

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

How to Setup ReadyNAS Permissions

There have been many questions on the ReadyNAS forum regarding how to setup file sharing permissions when running a NAS with User security mode.

I have written a short overview, below, of the key share access & permissions settings available in Frontview when setting up a share & what they do, the misunderstanding of which is commonly the reason users have permission related issues.

All of the examples posted relate to CIFS access, but the settings apply equally to AFP and FTP access.

This information was originally posted here in response to one of the many such queries on the ReadyNAS forum.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My ReadyNAS Blog

After posting extensively on the ReadyNAS Forum, I've found myself repeating comments quite regularly. As there is no wiki or other means to consolidate those comments and input, I decided to setup this blog to sporadically capture some of those repeated items. Hope it helps, both ReadyNAS users, and myself (by saving a little effort)