virtual DSM (Synology) with VirtualBox

Synology made NASs are one of the more popular home appliances available. Some models are ARM based others Intel_x86. However most are considered pricey especially when there are opensource alternatives readily available that accomplish what the QNAPs/Synology of the world do if not better. The files below will allow you to install Synology’s OS, called DSM, onto a regular PC so long as the your hardware is supported. I also provided VMware and VirtualBox images if you dont have a PC lying around to test with but would still like to see whats its like to run a Synology DiskStation in your home environment. Again, to install on ‘real’ hardware please make sure your hardware/nic/sata/scsi chipset is listed below or IT WONT WORK. The virtual image will run on top of either VMWare Workstation/ESXi or VirtualBox on any hardware you may have.

Disclaimer: This setup is for educational purposes only. NO guarantee is made that your data will be safe/protected should you use the files below to build your own appliance. I STRONGLY recommend you test your build before placing important data on the unit.

2GB+ USB Drive to use as a BOOT drive
1(minimum) or more SATA HDD’s to use for SHR/RAID volume
Modded SynologyDSM 4.1-2668++ bootloader and installation package:
Synology Assistant:
Download from

Hardware supported:
Virtual machine:


3COM 3c590/3c900 series (592/595/597), 3cr990
AMD PCnet32
Atheros L2, L1
Broadcom 440x/47xx, NetExtremeII, CNIC, Tigon, NetExtreme II 10Gb
Intel PRO/100+, PRO/1000, 82575/82576, 82586/82593/82596
Marvell Yukon
Nvidia nForce
Realtek 8139,8129,8130,8169
SiS SiS900/7016, SiS190/SiS191

Silicon Image 3124/3132
SiS 964/965/966/180

3ware 9xxx SATA RAID, 97xx SAS SATA RAID
Adaptec AIC94xx
Marvell 88SE64XX/88SE94XX SAS SATA
LSI Logic MegaRAID, MPT Fusion SAS 2.0

The How-To(for REAL Hardware):

1. Extract ‘DS3612xs_2668_4.1%2B%2B.7z’ using 7-zip. You’ll have three files.
-DSM_DS3612xs_2668.pat, DSM installation file
-SynoBoot_3612xs_4.1++.img , bootloader image (needed if youll be testing on REAL hardware)
-SynoBoot_3612xs_4.1++.vdi, VirtualBox virtual disk file(needed if youll be testing on VM )

2. Extract ‘win32diskimager-binary06.rar’. Insert your USB flash drive and launch W32DiskImager.
-Load the .IMG file from STEP1 and choose your USB drive from the drop down list.
-Click Write and WAIT for complete.

Pre-Prep your PC:
-Set BIOS to boot from USB
-WIPE SATA disk youll be using, then connect to ‘SATA_0′ port on your motherboard
-Connect to network switch(DHCP Required)

3. Insert USB into PC and power it ON. If you have a console(KVM) attached to the PC youll see machine coming up.

4. Launch Synology Assistant from your Windows workstation and click ‘Search’. If you’ve done everything correctly you’ll see a new ‘DiskStation’ has been found.

– IMPORTANT — Disconnect the USB flash drive from the computer for this next step.

5. Right-click the new ‘DiskStation’ and choose ‘Install’. Browse and select the ‘DSM_DS3612xs_2668.pat’ file. Choose a Name for the DiskStation, a new default admin password and IP configuration. After installation is complete the DiskStation will reboot automatically. Power it OFF manually now.

– INSERT USB Flash drive back into PC –

6. Power on PC. DSM will boot normally. Back to Synology Assistant click ‘Search’ again. Depending on the name and network config you chose during installation you will see now see a DiskStation has been found with the NAME you chose. The previous Installation Progress bar will show 100% complete and you can now access your DiskStation by opening a browser and pointing to the IP its configured with.

For real hardware I’ve tested this build on an HP N40L I have access to and I’m very impressed with the performance. Compared to a ‘real’ DS1512+ I have sitting on my LAN for primary storage in my home I have to say this franken-unit performs much better. The DS1512+ comes with a limited(when compared to any PC) Atom CPU and only 4GB of RAM. While the Atom is sufficient for NAS duties I feel the CPU in the N40L far outperforms when faces with more cpu intensive tasks.

Here are some recommended repositories to add to your DiskStation with useful packages like CrashPlan, SABNZBd, and others:

Good luck on your build…If this is working 100% on your hardware I’d love to hear what MOBO/NIC/CHIPSET you have smile.gif

UPDATE: 5/28/203 – DSM 4.2 Build 3211

Same instructions as above, simply use these updated files when writing image to your USB disk.
Edited by r3zon8 – 5/28/13 at 7:18am

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