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Thursday, 7 May 2009

TeraStation Pro (TS-TGL) - Home Media Server

So I 'borrowed' a TeraStation Pro (TS-TGL Models) from work. The idea is to use it as a POC before I buy my own NAS to see if it can replace my Windows 2003 server currently running in the garage. Its my file and network services (DNS, DHCP, IIS etc) server & also runs a virtual XP workstation which uses TVersity to push my media around the house. Really I have to leave it running 24x7 to get what I need from it. This is a total waste of money and since I recently installed an ecoeye mini wireless monitor I can now see how much !! http://www.electricity-monitor.com/ecoeye-mini-wireless-electricity-monitor-p-41.html.

My requirement list :

1 - DNS
2 - DHCP
3 - File Serving
4 - Web Server
5 - UPnP Media Server
6 - Power off / Wake On LAN (WOL)

The Buffalos run an imbedded version of Linux. An OS I use at work on and off, comfortable enough to tackle it. I found a hacked version of the NAS firmware which allows TELNET access : http://homepage.ntlworld.com/itimpi/buffalo.htm and some excellent help @ the forums http://forum.buffalo.nas-central.org/viewforum.php?f=42. And so then allows you to butcher the OS and install apps enable NFS etc.

Loading the new fw was easy enough and this gave me telnet access. But its a really old Linux build so didn't have any of the package loaders. I stumbled across Ipkg for the linkstation also based on the PPC chip (same as TS-TGL) - worth a try. Downloaded, setup the repositories and it worked a dream :

http://buffalo.nas-central.org/wiki/Ipkg_Package_List:_PowerPC

Command reminders : 

ipkg update - update list of available packages
ipkg list | grep [package_name] - list package and filter on [package-name]
ipkg list_installed - list installed packages





DNS

I've used BIND before so that was my first try. There is a package in the Ipkg resources which installed and seemed OK.. But running it gave some scary errors. Googling for a fix led me to DNSMASQ which seems a way more lightweight SOHO DNS Server and probably more suited. Again it was in the repo so I installed, started, easy .. It uses /etc/hosts to serve my home domain, matrix.com .. #1 Done

DHCP

I have a mix of static and DHCP devices. When my servers running it serves the DHCP range, which is just a 20 host range from my home static, W2K3 also give me DDNS which is nice but not essential. My DSL router also provides DHCP and as I discovered some basic DNS resolution. With some 'manipulation' of the router from the CLI it turns out I can serve DHCP from the router which is always on and create a DNS Server entry for matrix.com pointing to DNSMASQ. #2 Done

File Serving

Its a NAS, thats its job so by default comes with SMB... Setup my shares #3 Done

Web Server

Currently IIS which I run a basic Home navigation page, links to shares, HTTP views of files. Reminders of host names etc. I have an XP running TVersity which has always been fine for music, but was never great for Video, maybe lack of CPU etc but I found I could just serve my files using HTML file lists and browse using the PS3 browser and play .. works fine. So either I need to find a 100% reliable UPnP app or I need a replacement to IIS to keep doing this.

I also wanted to play with Apache :) .. The Buffalo's management app is web based, turns out being server by Apache. Its 1.3 but still does the job (2.x is in the Ipkg repo so thats a future task). I created some Virtual hosts for the sites I run and messed around with the config a little. #4 Done

10/5/2009 - I say done .. It turns out apache 1.3 has a file size limit of 2GB. Which is not good when I'm trying to push files to the PS3. This is resolved in 2.2 and I tried to upgrade but started to have problems with missing libraries. I have installed LIGHTTPD running on port 8081 to server the film part of my web site ..

Media Server

I knew this would be a pain. Having messed with TVersity for a while its pretty clear that this 'technology' is still developing. Add to that OpenSource and and OS I'm not entirely comfortable with then it becomes a world of pain. The forums discussed UShare & MediaTomb with the later tending to get the more favourable posts. Its also in the Ipkg repo.

Installed it and ..........

I ran a small test and imported a selection of files, music & pics (Theres no way this NAS CPU will do transcoding so I'll stick with my apache file lists for now) which it seemed to do OK and even better my PS3 found it.

I need to work on the list structure, the default one is OK but I prefer Artist | Album | Track so I need to get that working. It looks like the import.js script is the key to solving that. I also have a problem some file name characters. The doc talks about loading charsets which after 2 days I realised I had put in the wrong part of config.xml. Now I've corrected that MediaTomb errors with un-supported code page. # 5 In progress :)

To change mediatomb character set add :


</server>
<import hidden-files="no">
<filesystem-charset>UTF-8</filesystem-charset>
<metadata-charset>ISO-8859-1</metadata-charset>



to config.xml under the 'import' section. Make sure you dont what I do and add them under the script section, cause then it wont work (well its not actually working for me but at least I get errors now) ..

09/05/2009 - Given up with the international characters. The log file reported that mediatomb didnt support the charset I was trying, in my case I tried iso-8859-1 / 10 & 15 .. Maybe the version in the optware repository is older than current.


Power off / Wake On LAN (WOL)

Not with this NAS. But assuming this one does all I need (so far so good) then I can research which onces do. At least my POC device has a lower power usage than a sodding great server ..