Turning WD My Cloud into a NextCloud Box

Hi I have a WD MyCloud 2TB NAS WDBCTL0020HWT-EESN running BusyBox Linux v1.20.2 with a system-on-chip (SoC) ARM Cortex A9 dualcore ARMADA 375 and would like to flush the device to run NextCloud.

I did some research and it looks like the rPi2 iso is compliant with the ARMADA 375.

  1. I would like to ask if someone did try this approach and successfully converted the WD MyCloud into a NextCloud Box?
  2. If the image used was that of the rPi2 or a fresh install of Ubuntu Core or Ubuntu 16.04 lts server?
  3. How would the MyCloud drive be flushed, e.g. booted from a USB, but being headless, how is the install carried out?

Please bear in mind such proceedings are not warranted or supported by Western Digital. Extreme caution is recommended.

Hopefully an experienced User will be able to assist, if possible.

The RPi2 ISO will be built using a hardware interface model intended for the RPi2 (unsurprisingly). Do you think the MyCloud will have the same hardware interface model…?

The MyCloud has a gigabit ethernet. The RPi2 has fast (100Mb) ethernet. Therefore it has a different PHY. Will the RPi2 ISO image support the PHY on the MyCloud board?

The MyCloud Gen 2 is a Marvell Armada CPU. The RPi2 is a Broadcom. The IO register maps may well be different, so the kernel will be different. Unless your research suggests different…


How to install? Well, I guess you could use one of the unbricking procedures, take the drive out of the case, stick it in a Linux box, and format/partition/write the image that way…

@Trancer yes I am aware about warranty issues and hence I ask for guidance first before attempt any leap in the dark. Mind you the device is useless for me out-of-the-box.

I have experienced a lot of sync issues, remote server connection issues, WD Sync does not allow to selective sync sub folders, etc. Shares are not that ideal either. I like the NextCloud approach which is similar to Dropbox.

I was further disappointed to find out that my device came shipped with BusyBox instead of Debian… How WD decided to go for a distro maintained by just one person adversus an international community of 1000s of people who maintain Debian is beyond me.

Rather than “dumping” the device on a shelf (as the retailer here in Malta would not take it back due to the torn shrink wrap), I have no other option but to utilise the device with an alternative install of a system I know that works and how to use well that can also run colloboration with ease.

Hope you understand that I am taking the risks to at least use the hardware that I purchased.

@cpt_paranoia thanks for the insight. Would you suggest Ubuntu or Ubuntu Core as a distro compliant with the Marvell Armada CPU?

It’s a suspicion, not really an insight. All I’m saying is that it’s not a simple matter to install an image designed for one platform on another. You need an image that has been compiled to suit the particular hardware platform.

This might be possible if the distribution supports the particular package type and pinout chosen for the platform, which maps the logical i/o to the physical i/o, includes a number of drivers for the hardware surrounding the processor, and the ability to configure it to use those drivers. Does such a Ubuntu image exist? I don’t know.

WD MyCloud used to ship with Debian Jessie so I guess the physical harware is somehow supported, unless changed. Is there a way to boot up the WD MyCloud to network boot? This way I could run a non distructive live distro to check for hardware support.

The reason why there are two different versions (Debian and BusyBox) is because there are two different single bay/single drive My Cloud version that each use different hardware. The older generation My Cloud with the v3.x/v4.x firmware uses Debian. The newer current generation v2.x single bay units with the different hardware use Busybox. Stupid using different incompatible firmware for the same device? Yes. Much confusion with the firmware numbers and which is the latest? Yes.

If you haven’t see the following thread you may want to read through them if they apply to your My Cloud version.



One of the unbricking procedures (by user Fox_exe) apparently uses a USB boot drive on the second generation single bay My Cloud units to unbrick:

@Bennor thanks for the details. One particular interest as you pointed out is the USB boot and then have the ability to Telnet the drive. Maybe this will allow me to run a live distro and check for compability issues. I am really after getting NextCloud running.

Gen 1 v3/v4 was based on Debian Wheezy, not the later Jessie.

I wonder if you have ever configured and built a linux kernel?

@cpt_paranoia you’re right as its been years that I haven’t done so for a PPC architecture.

Roughly from memory, all I would need is to copy the modules from the BusyBox (/lib/modules/KERNEL???) and merge them with the modules of Ubuntu.

Run lsmod on the BusyBox and use modprobe to get the drivers working.

Alternatively I would need to copy the BusyBox’s kernel from /boot/vmlinuz-KERNEL???

Please guide if I am off track

You can find kernel sources on WD website, or here:
My website
Google drive

Need ubuntu? Sure? Use Debian - its almost same.
Still need ubuntu? Ok, google for “how to build ubuntu from scratch for Raspberry PI” (Use WD kernel, all other - same).
For Gen1 device - need build pfe.ko and add it to /etc/modules (Its network driver)

Note: WD have ARM arch (armhf / armv7l), your PC have x86/x64 (i386 / i686 arch). Its not compatable each other.