DIY NAS: Operating system

Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Reading time 3 minutes

Hello there,

As I mentioned in a previous post, i have purchased an amazing odroid XU-4 and wanted to use it for a DIY NAS server (a lot of 3 letter codes here, sorry). I just wanted to detail some of the configuration issues I had to overcome in the process, so I will remember those later if I decide to purchase the eMMC module, which would force me to start from scratch with the system (Micro SD and eMMC boot sectors are different, so apparently there is no way to migrate data from one method to another and start the system normally). Also, if this may be useful for someone else thinking in a NAS server with the same setup I am using, that’d be great, too.

Setting it up

Basically this process can be described in the following list. I have decided to put it here because when playing with these devices, it is relatively common (at least for me) to need a reinstall of the operating system when something stops working, mainly due to a configuration issue I have caused.

  1. Download an image for your Odroid board. I have used the latest Ubuntu 18.04 Image from my previous post, so I just downloaded that, and transferred to the SD card by using the etcher program, which seems very accessible for the task.
  2. Download a program for scanning your Local area network and detecting all connected devices. This will be useful when it comes to detect the IP assigned to Odroid when it will be available over the network. I have used Wireless network watcher just fine.
  3. Once the image has been transferred to the SD card, connect the RJ45 cable to the ethernet port and your router, insert the SD card in the Odroid, and connect the power. If it works and the SD card is detected, the fan attached to the board will start working for a few seconds. If it doesn’t work, make sure the switch to select booting from SD card or eMMC is setup correctly.
  4. Assuming the process detailed in step 3 was right, and everything is well done, the system will start to install and expand the filesystem in the SD card. According to the installation instructions, this process may take between 5 and 10 minutes and when finished, the board will shutdown. After about 10 minutes (I waited 13, just in case), unplug the power cable and plug it again to start the operating system.
  5. Once started (though the first time it starts it takes about a minute to appear in the network), you can open the program for scanning the network and detect the IP assigned to the board. If using Wireless Network Watcher, you can search for “Odroid” in the server column, “Odroid XU-4” in device name, or “UIBrain” in Network adapter company.
  6. As soon as you have the IP, everything else is the same for all Linux servers from now own. Connect via SSH (user root, password odroid) and you’ll be done.

First steps in the operating system

These are the basic steps I did after the installation finished.

Update the repositories and software packages:

apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade -y

Change the root password to something not too easy:

passwd root

Create a new user for avoiding root and add it to the sudo group:

adduser manuel
usermod -aG sudo manuel

As this is going to be used only at home, I have decided not to restrict the password or root authentication. However if this box would be more exposed that would be needed in order to make it safer.

See, that was really easy! Now the Odroid has the most up to date system packages, has a dedicated user besides root, and is ready to start playing with it.