How to easily enable NFS protocol on your Drobo FS
One of the most interesting and less known features of Drobo is that it’s a Linux powered box. This means it can do more than just keep your important data protected, it can double as a little computer on its own thanks to DroboApps, a serie of useful addons you can install in no time.
Today I’m going to explain how to enable the NFS protocol on your Drobo FS.
NFS stands for Network File System and allows users on a client computer to access files over a network in a manner similar to how local storage is accessed. If you ever heard about Samba, well, it’s something like that, but it was developed by Sun Microsystem (Samba is Microsoft’s) and uses, of course, a different protocol. A bugged implementation of Samba in the last firmware versions of my little media player caused a wrong text encoding in file names and forced me to give a try with NFS.
I wrote this article because DroboApps aren’t officially supported by Drobo (the company) and generally don’t come with detailed instructions, as in the case of UNFSD, the Drobo implementation of NFS.
The first thing you need to do is launch Drobo Dashboard, the official application to manage your Drobo, navigate to Settings… > Admin and ensure the “Enable DroboApps” checkbox is selected.
According to Drobo instructions the device should be restarted to activate the service but mine didn’t have to, so it may vary from model to model.
Once the function is active a new share drive, called DroboApps, will be available, make sure to mount it in the appropriate Dashboard section.
Now you need to download the UNFSD file from the DroboApps page. It comes in a zip archive, just unpack it and copy the unfsd.tgz file in the root of the new share drive. This is the way to install DroboApps, pretty easy, eh? Restart Drobo to make it configure and activate the service for you.
After reboot, you’ll notice that the file you copied in the share drive is no more, instead a new folder called unfsd took its place. All you need is to edit the exports file with your favorite text editor (don’t forget to make a backup first, just in case something goes wrong).
Overwrite the content with this new one:
[SHARED_PATH] is the path of Drobo you want to share via NFS, mine is “Nadine/Movies”. “Nadine” is the name of my main shared drive and “Movies” is the folder where my multimedia files are stored.
[IP] is the your network configuration (mine is 192.168.0.0).
The “/24″ suffix is a short way for a netmask of 255.255.255.0 and will give access to all computers on your network. If you only want access from a single ip, leave off the “/24″ and put in the IP of that computer.
The last part gives read and write permissions and root privileges. If you’re concerned about those God powers and prefer a less powerful access you could try “(rw,no_root_squash)” instead. It didn’t work for me but maybe you’re more lucky.
To summarize this is my connection string:
Save the file and restart Drobo to make the changes apply. Or, if you’re not scared about using Terminal, just expand this link:
In order to restart the UNFSD service and apply changes you need to download and install another DroboApp called DropBear that will grant you SSH access to Drobo. Installation is the same of UNFSD, drag the .tgz file in DroboApps share drive and restart Drobo.
Now you may say “if I’ve to restart Drobo anyway what’s the point in installing DropBear?” Well, you’re a Terminal guy, remember? You’ll surely get benefits from a SSH connection in future, trust me! ;]
Once DropBear is active SSH connect to your Drobo and type the following command to restart UNFSD service:
Done, you’re now ready to access your Drobo FS via NFS, providing the same values you typed in exports file: