Handy binaries for Thecus NAS boxes

I recently took delivery of the rather splendid Thecus N5500 which I love; it’s the perfect mix between “it just works” and “oh, let’s stick SSH on there and poke around”. With 5 hot swap disk shelves, and 2TB hard drives you’ve got a serious amount of storage.

For your money you get a very nice little piece of hardware in a pretty nice shell (it strikes me as a touch tacky in places but then again it’s hardly going on show) with software that gets the job done. NFS, AFP, Samba, iSCSI, iTunes DAAP support, and plenty of modules to tickle your fancy (Logitech Squeezecenter, for instance).

But who am I kidding, I’m a sysadmin. 10 minutes after powering the thing on I was dying to log in using SSH so I could watch /proc/mdstat to see the RAID build. Luckily, the modules from the Thecus N5200 work fine; which means you’re a couple of clicks away from a root terminal.

  1. Grab the SSH and SYSUSER N5200 modules, and unzip them (a mistake I made.. How embarrassing.)
  2. Upload them using the webinterface, and enable them.
  3. SSH to the NAS box using the user “sys” and the password “sys”
  4. Enjoy your shell, and remember to run `passwd sys` to change the password to something else.

Now, you’ve got yourself a pretty handy, albeit it BusyBox-ridden install of Linux. The whole point of this post, is so I can pimp a few statically compiled binaries that might come in useful to you; they did to me anyway.

(You may wish to install the UTILITIES module, which gives you a proper version of top and ps, amongst other things, available here)

You can simply untar and drop the binaries into /raid/data/modules/bin folder so that they’re in your path, and stored on your disks rather than the flash units which are rather limited in space. By the way, these modules should also work fine on the Thecus N5200 NAS boxes too.

The binaries are available here: http://denness.net/thecus/binaries/

The list includes (all the latest versions as of the date of this blog post):

  • ethtool, handy for network interface prodding
  • iftop, a very useful “GUI” app that shows incoming/outgoing network bandwidth (let’s face it, this is fun on a NAS. NOTE: you may need to execute this one using `TERM=vt100; iftop`)
  • iostat, for hard core disk stats porn. Run it with `iostat -mx 1` and watch the megabytes fly
  • rsync, particularly handy if you want to synchronise/backup data from one place to another, so particularly handy on a NAS.
  • vim, just in case you were planning on writing a lot of code on the Thecus ๐Ÿ™‚
  • GNU screen, a nice place to store your terminals and detach and come back later. (NOTE: you may need to execute this one using `TERM=vt100; screen`)
  • The command line version of PHP, in case you were planning on writing any scripts in PHP to run on the Thecus.

Any suggestions/comments, let me know.

11 thoughts on “Handy binaries for Thecus NAS boxes”

  1. Thank you for hosing the SYSUSER and SSH modules! I couldn’t find those modules at the usual places due to “moving websites” ๐Ÿ™

  2. Hi there, came across this whilst browsing for various N5500 modules.

    I purchased and recieved my n5500 last week, and immediately updated it to the latest firmware (5.00.04) before building my array. All good I thought until I found the linked SSHD module doesn’t work with this firmware.

    Just wondering if you have updated your NAS, and have found a work around for this problem.

    Talking of issues with the NAS, I’ve found that write times over NFS are fairly slow. The initial transfer is quick, but once 2GB (or so) has been copied, the transfer slows down like it’s hitting a buffer. Network traffic is constant, but the transfer isn’t. I’ve assumed this can be fixed by editing the /etc/exports file and setting the NFS to async instead of sync, which is why I want SSH capabilities to the box. Have you come across a similar issue?

    Cheers, and thanks for hosting the modules; as the above commentor said, they are not easy to find as the main community sites have migrated fairly recently.


  3. Hey Steve,

    I’m waaaay behind, I was using the latest when I got mine (Uptime is 124 days so sometime around then) which was That’s a lot of difference, I’ll have to see what the newer versions offer but from the sounds of it I should stick with what works if I want to keep SSH!

    What happens when you try and use it? Does it not install it at all or is SSH just not enabled?

    Unfortunately I can’t help with the NFS issues; I was using samba for my original copy from all my old machines and now I use AFP as I have a Mac. I did notice that AFP was way way faster than samba though.

  4. Hi Laurie,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The SSHD module gives an unhelpful “failed to start” message, nothing more. I believe the problem is that the kernel has been upped to 2.6.35, and the module is compiled for the earlier version. I could, of course, be wrong.

    The NFS is just slow on write, read is as fast as I could wish. This is a known issue with sync problems. It’s still quicker than samba though! I’ll keep investigating, and see if I can modify the config file another way. Who knows, maybe even Thecus will fix the problem.

  5. Hi Laurie,

    Just wanted to say that the SSH ans SYSUSER modules also work on an N7700+

    I had to place the binaries in the /usr/bin directory; however all other instructions provided worked a treat.


  6. > GNU screen, a nice place to store your terminals and detach and come back later. (NOTE: you may need to execute this one using `TERM=vt100; screen`)

    You can skip the ‘TERM=vt100’ bit if you change the login shell for the root in /app/etc/passwd to bash instead of sh.

    Thank you btw for ‘screen’, I was really missing this one on my Thecus 4200ECO!

  7. Anyone run into these:

    TERM=vt100; screen
    getpwuid() can’t identify your account!

    iftop has no activity output and dmesg shows:

    [61294.921665] zsh[17371]: segfault at 0 ip (null) sp 00007ffff0212d08 error 14 in zsh4-static[400000+223000]
    [61295.778424] zsh[17382]: segfault at 0 ip (null) sp 00007ffff0212d08 error 14 in zsh4-static[400000+223000]
    [61343.748283] zsh[11598]: segfault at 0 ip (null) sp 00007ffff02136b8 error 14 in zsh4-static[400000+223000]

    This is on a 5550.

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