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Thread: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

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    Question Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    As anybody reading this forum and the other one will have no doubt noticed, there appears to be an undeniable pattern emerging with successive NAS firmware revisions which fail to live up to expectation and almost appear to be getting progressively worse, at least over the past year or so that I'm aware of.

    A quick read of the various threads and you notice these issues fall into several general categories..

    • Failure to correct bugs listed in the release notes as 'fixed'.
    • Failure to address longstanding issues of broken (non core) functionality.
    • (Lately) A high probability of rendering the NAS useless, requiring the user to find their own workaround if they would like to see their data anytime soon. (this bug is reportedly still alive and well after three successive updates - unacceptable by any standard).
    • Basic screwups in the implementation of login authentication code, allowing a large surface area for attack.

    As well as one user who took a look at the V3.xx code and reported it to be bloated and amateurish, or words to that effect.

    The cute slogan "Founded in 2004, Thecus brings decades of R&D expertise.." is somewhat misleading these days, since clearly more effort is being invested into marketing than R&D or beta testing.

    Anyhow, those of us who purchased this hardware are now stuck with it for some time, and since we can be unreasonable about these sort of things when we're gambling with multiple terabytes of data, what possible OS alternatives are there? The hardware in these devices appears to be generic PC components - how viable would it be to dump the flaky Thecus firmware and substitute something like FreeNAS, or a storage-oriented Linux distribution?

    How can we salvage some sort of reliability from this awful situation?

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    as additions, you must have quick read about issues on software RAID in Linux world and you found that the same list and much more.
    You get what you pay.
    And in my current sence, Thecus not so bad as you describe after quick reading. Just try to use it.
    People often write about bad stories, than success.
    **** happens anytime, anywhere and whith any vendor (have sence of that whith sun, hp, dec, hitachi and much more general vendor tm). For fix that you must build own universe.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    You get what you pay.
    Agreed, but as another poster pointed out on a similar thread, I think we can expect a tiny bit more without being unreasonable.
    And in my current sence, Thecus not so bad as you describe after quick reading. Just try to use it.
    People often write about bad stories, than success.
    Oh I do 'try to use it' and I think I was quite fortunate really (10x N8800 and 2x N7700) compared to some of the other people on this forum and their experiences.

    Here's the problem.

    When used in a 'professional' setting (yes, Thecus also claims to be a player in that market as well), I can't approach a client and say "sorry for your loss of x terabytes, but you will be happy to know we 'tried to use it'." Or perhaps "sorry sir, the manufacturer used to support those 56 drives you just purchased, but now that they have actually tested them for more than 15 minutes, they're not supported anymore. Just run down to the local computer store and invest in another 56, and hopefully you choose models that have actually been tested this time."

    It just doesn't work.

    **** happens anytime, anywhere and whith any vendor (have sence of that whith sun, hp, dec, hitachi and much more general vendor tm). For fix that you must build own universe.
    uh huh.

    Well once upon a time I worked for DEC, and I can surmise with a small amount of certainty that our office doorbell software was more closely reviewed and pre-production tested than some of these 'bug fixes' we're seeing from Taiwan.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorSAN View Post
    Oh I do 'try to use it' and I think I was quite fortunate really (10x N8800 and 2x N7700) compared to some of the other people on this forum and their experiences.

    Well once upon a time I worked for DEC, and I can surmise with a small amount of certainty that our office doorbell software was more closely reviewed and pre-production tested than some of these 'bug fixes' we're seeing from Taiwan.
    with this ammount of NAS you can easy drop off all UI from Thecus and build own Linux distribution whith own quality testing. Just CLI and minimum of the used software and utils, u are need team with 2-4 people in a stuff. But today you spend less 100K$ in NAS hw, how cost u support this team? And may be best way to switch to NAS not based on Linux software RAID solution (still no any guarantie, but less chances)?
    Thecus more focus on the SOHO and residential (nice GUI, wide functionality, unexpirence usage), that is missunderstanding?
    Is it big difference in price DEC and Thecus NAS? Why?
    OK, am sorry for my comments, just sence from home usage,
    on a job I reject any usage of software RAID for any critical data (it spend much more MIPS 4 additional API support).

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Let me paraphrase some text from the Thecus site (this is the N8800 page)

    Offering massive storage capacity, advanced features, and blazingly-fast performance in a 2U unit, the N8800 is poised to be the favorite NAS device for IT departments everywhere.

    The N8800 delivers the performance and capacity that businesses demand.

    What’s more, the N8800 supports iSCSI initiators, allowing IT departments to centrally manage and deploy storage for the entire network.

    Every organization is different. That’s why the N8800 has been designed with flexibility in mind.

    The N8800 can be the IT manager’s best friend. Automate backups with Thecus’ proprietary Nsync remote data backup application, or take advantage of version control via a snapshot function using the ZFS file system to create and restore remote backups. The N8800 can be set up to send email notifications of any system abnormalities to the system administrator, including if the system is forced to use the redundant power supply. IT support is tough enough. Why not choose a storage system that tells you when something is amiss?


    Well I'll tell you what's amiss, mister Thecus, your 'cures' are turning out to be more harmful than the disease.

    Thecus more focus on the SOHO and residential (nice GUI, wide functionality, unexpirence usage), that is missunderstanding?
    Well that text above was taken from their website - does that sound to you as if the product is targeted at the residential & SOHO market? Don't take my word for it, visit www.thecus.com and see for yourself.

    As I said, I don't believe it's unreasonable to expect such products to at least deliver some basic solid functionality, aside from the marketing hype.
    Is it big difference in price DEC and Thecus NAS? Why?
    DEC was dead and gone long before Thecus existed, and I don't recall much in the way of storage products being offered along the lines of contemporary NAS units, but I see where you're heading. Don't get me wrong, we use other 'brand name' equipment as well and don't expect miracles from cheap asian IT hardware, however I still maintain that it's not unreasonable to expect basic functionality to operate more or less as advertised, and that the manufacturer will make at least a halfassed effort to test firmware releases before they leave the factory rather than relying on the users to act as unpaid beta testers.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    I like the idea of a collaboration to develop a third-party Thecus NAS-oriented firmware. Maybe the first step would be to create a mailing list dedicated to Thecus boxes hacking ? I've never found these forums particularly efficient for such things...

    I've also looked at playing with an alternative linux kernel for the firmware, to get a more stable RAID stack and improved wifi support, but there are a number of technical challenges to perform that (how to get VGA output for example, the board has a IDC 10-pin connector that requires a special cable, how to have the BIOS boot from a USB disk, etc...).

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    nope,
    I just say that software Linux RAID with web UI development and special chassi constructive, nothing more.
    Off course, you are right to ask vendor about product promices.
    But if you wanna build own sw with same functions and better quality why you think it can cost you less?
    Who is the sponsor? Why you did not founded new NAS vendor?

    In my exp, we are all, long time ago(more than 10 years), stay in status of unpaid beta testers in all tasks of the life, because wanna pay less and get more (it's ok, but in asian civilisations people can't say no, they do or killing semself). Samples arround as, in new cars, home electronics, goverments, world crysis... Think about very simple thing like knife (not 4 ripping , so many variations in cost, quality and promices...

    With best regards for you wishes.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Quote Originally Posted by poolshark View Post
    I like the idea of a collaboration to develop a third-party Thecus NAS-oriented firmware. Maybe the first step would be to create a mailing list dedicated to Thecus boxes hacking ? I've never found these forums particularly efficient for such things...

    I've also looked at playing with an alternative linux kernel for the firmware, to get a more stable RAID stack and improved wifi support, but there are a number of technical challenges to perform that (how to get VGA output for example, the board has a IDC 10-pin connector that requires a special cable, how to have the BIOS boot from a USB disk, etc...).
    already done, look at:
    http://www.onbeat.dk/thecus/index.ph...0PRO_Resources
    http://naswebsite.com/wiki/Main_Page
    on some post I read exp that add VGA connector, but why you need that if QNAP already has.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    why have a NAS ans not just a full blown storage server at enterprise level anyway?
    □ΞVΞ□

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    I have a full blown win2k8 fileserver but want to drop it for something that uses less power and more importandly creates less noise.
    Unfortunately after copying all data across to my recently bought N2200 I now find that access from Win7 doesn't work so I can't approach protected shares at all from my workstations on the N2200
    That I would call basic functionality !

    Anyway, moving back towards the actual topic.
    I've been googling around and also come across the previously mentioned URL but haven't found any info whatsoever for the N2200.
    It'd sure be great if any details were to come out as to what kind of software is running on the N2200 or how to home brew modules 'cause the too little too late download manager sucks I'm afraid !

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    why have a NAS ans not just a full blown storage server at enterprise level anyway?
    The question was posed more for those of us who are already stuck with this equipment. If it was being replaced outright, that would open up all sorts of possibilities.

    But if you wanna build own sw with same functions and better quality why you think it can cost you less?
    Who is the sponsor? Why you did not founded new NAS vendor?
    Huh? Who said anything about building software??? My question was whether an existing OS like a Linux distro or whatever the FreeNAS people are doing these days would be viable with a few tweaks. The point was to explore the possibility of ditching the flaky Thecus OS in favor of something with a better pedigree.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    why have a NAS ans not just a full blown storage server at enterprise level anyway?
    Me too, exactly what we did.

    W2k8 storage server, 1U dell box, md1000 expansion disk system.

    NAS quite happy with disks no longer on the Thecus compatible list, which WERE on the list when we bought the disks.

    Now the Thecus is a redundant backup server and a DoorStop (Really, it is on a floor, holding the LAN room door open )

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorSAN View Post
    The question was posed more for those of us who are already stuck with this equipment. If it was being replaced outright, that would open up all sorts of possibilities.


    Huh? Who said anything about building software??? My question was whether an existing OS like a Linux distro or whatever the FreeNAS people are doing these days would be viable with a few tweaks. The point was to explore the possibility of ditching the flaky Thecus OS in favor of something with a better pedigree.
    hey, pedigree not developed 4 the human, but if u drink little more it's a good snack. =8)
    And did not scrach surface if u not wear space suit.
    did you read this?: http://marc.info/?l=linux-scsi&m=125773759614235&w=2
    bugs is arround as, u just can reflex much faster in your own enviroment (NAS vendor not, because have no so tight enviroments).
    Here is a good illustrations did u plan 4 support 22xx series w u current 88xx|77xx?

    Linux still open, not so big deal make own and load in current hw. But can u support this in life?
    Last edited by Horgi; 08-01-2010 at 09:40 PM.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    my experience in the NAS world (for home use anyway) is with the N2200 and i have to to its extremly disapointing, i know this is a bottom end unit but still it should do the basicis

    the reason i wanted it was cause it said it was quite and was energy efficent, i also wanted something to use to schedule torrent downloads. it didnt need to be teribly quick it just needed to do thoes 3 things reliably. now it is quite and it is energy efficiant but the firmware is so bad it to the point it is unusable.

    not to mention the lack of any kind of support from thecus, i read many storys of open tickets for weeks and weeks with no respone (my ticket has been sitting there for 2 weeks so far)

    If you are thinking about getting and N2200 my advice is dont, save up the extra cash and get a QNap TS-219

    but anyway back on topic

    when i eventualy get my NAS working again i would be happy to help out in anyway on testing this new software, as i think the hardware is fine but the software and support is just shocking

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    I am also a disappointed user of N2200, their solution for slow system response and bugs of this NAS is to buy a more expensive product. I will never buy or recommend a Thecus product.

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    Re: Possible alternatives to Thecus NAS firmware?

    Quote Originally Posted by basil123 View Post
    I am also a disappointed user of N2200, their solution for slow system response and bugs of this NAS is to buy a more expensive product. I will never buy or recommend a Thecus product.
    in my quick(2weeks) exp 4 home usage of n7700 - its very great platform in a cheapest way(just price of the same pc hw, about 1K$), has a good hw platform and reach sw inside (all main linux utils leaved in distributions like wget and so on). Hope to fix current big issue w WD20EADS HDD, and happy to use. Also have long time ago 2 hdd NAS (i-stor, raidsonic) based on ARM integration chip from storlink. It's cost less than 150$, but have much less hw resources and functionality inside.
    Closed NAS 4 2xHDD (netgear) cost more than $250
    Closed NAS 4 6xHDD (qnap) cost the same price but has one less HDD bay and less hw resources inside (but have newest linux kernel and support ext4 today).

    There is no comparations in qnap, synology, thecus and more same devices today, inside its the same peace of the XXXX - software Linux RAID mdadm utility and marvell sata controller.
    U can have quick look on public forums, the same issues and the same numbers of the happy and unhappy customers.

    my 2 open TT have responce in this 2 holyday week, not support 2 resolve problems, just common first row psyhology support.

    its my 2c,
    am did not protect the thecus, just try to be objective, because in my sence get what i pay and little be more. =8)

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