[CALUG] Recommendations for NAS with Solid State Drives

Bryan Smith me at bjsmith.me
Tue Aug 3 16:17:32 EDT 2021

 o  Top-post Portion

Like every vendor, Synology has it's goods and its issues.

On the plus side, DiskStation Manager (DSM) is Linux-based with a very,
very rich package set, plus ... they update regularly.  So many IoT devices
do not, but Synology does.  They've had one, Synology-speciifc
ransomware issue in the past, but as long as you're on updated firmware --
let alone not using a default password and setting up alternative
accounts than just *'admin' *-- it shouldn't ever happen.  The key is
avoiding the proprietary add-ons and sticking with open source packages.

The Synology *'Value'* (and even cheaper *'j'*) series are extremely
limited on RAM, so sans the $150 DS220j 2-disk for simple setups, I don't
recommend *'Value' *products at all. The *'Plus'* series are probably the
*'entry-level,'* like my 2.5" sized DS620slim (sorry I listed it as
*'DS620'* prior, should have *'slim'* appended for 2.5").  I'm just glad
the DS620slim was introduced, as the prior DS414/416/419slim were basically
a *'j'* class for not much less.  BTW, that DS620slim is tiny compared, and
bag portable, to others (2.5" bays instead of 3.5" bays -- pictures are not
to scale).

 - https://www.synology.com/en-us/products/series/home

*Side Note:  I also have their (although it's getting dated) RT2600ac +
MR2200ac router + mesh on my 3 building, 3 acre homestead.  Most anyone who
has tried Apple v. Google v. Synology mesh knows it's no contest.  Without
going up to SMB quality hardware, their RT+MR products are excellent.
Synology really needs to release an updated model though.*

I'm still looking for a killer SOHO solution with IPA + NFSv4
out-of-the-box for managing Linux systems and, when pre-existing, setting
up an AD Forest Trust for interoperability with an existing Windows setup.

 o  Bottom-post portion.

On Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 8:20 AM Open Source Rocks <opn.src.rocks at gmail.com>

> Totally agree with Bryan - I have Synology DS-1621+

There are 4-5 bay Plus series products on-sale every Prime Day and Black
Friday (in addition to the 2-bay j series).  They are the best times to
buy.  I consider Synology an ideal media server with added iSCSI block (I
wouldn't run mission-critical ESXi on it), Windows File, basic NFSv3 block
(not ideal, but works and is reliable) and can run VMs and Containers in
the x86-64 units.

- it does have 2 M.2 for cache acceleration.

I wanted a portable system, so I have legacy AHCI/SATA drive bays in my
tiny DS620slim.  But two (2) M.2 M-keyed slots are coming standard in many
of the new Plus models.  One (1) provides cache-only (read-only), and two
(2) will provide cache+buffer (read+write) via RAID-1, just for the NAND
acceleration portion.

They do provide brackets to install solid state drives into the NAS,
> similar to others.

Yep, and any hot-swap 2.5" to 3.5" adapter bay will work -- just needs the
edge-alignment.  I haven't seen any U.2 bays in a Synology product ...
yet.  But I may be ignorant.

> I replaced my dead Drobo from a few months back with this model - have
> loved it since. Though the only annoying part thus far is the very
> expensive ECC memory upgrade. (comes with 4 GB RAM, can be upgraded to 16
> GB)

Synology systems are either various ARM (Marvell et al., especially for
Value/j series) or x86-64 (Intel Celeron/Pentium J/M aka 'Atom' models with
newer AMD Eypc embedded class in newer models, basically lacking large L3
cache), so they will take standard DDR3L and LPDDR4 as appropriate, ECC
where required.

E.g., even though Synology only lists 6GiB (2GiB + 4GiB upgrade) as maximum
for my DS620slim, I put in 16GiB (2x8GiB) Samsung modules which match the
Hynix or Samsung modules that Synology itself sells.  Of course, save any
modules for warranty service.

Interface/UI is very easy and there are a lot of apps to make your life
> easier.

Indeed, It's a very well maintained Java applet that remembers your
settings for your logins.  I wish other solutions would do similarly.  It's
a slimmed down GNU/Linux install, but SSH, Busybox, rsync, etc... is all
there.  Don't go changing too much or things will break though.

> They do have a capability to connect to the internet, however, I have not
> enabled it or plan to do so.

And that's really what the RT (and MR) series is for, router (and mesh).
The RT have a much smaller package set, while DSM is for the NAS (and poor
man's SAN) role.

I have 6 "rust disks" ;) and have not gotten a hit on performance, YET - I
> am running a docker/minecraft server for the kids and his friends (max of 6
> kids), a docker/Calibre-Web (2 users), Plex Server for my music, photos
> uploads from phone, folder sharing between 5 people and a print server for
> the house.

It's an ideal media server platform.  My DS620slim sips power and I can
leave it on without worry.

My RT2600ac then provides DNS, basic download/caching/proxying and
elementary IDS, with added MR2200ac devices to reach my detached buildings.

On Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 10:03 AM Tim Spangler <tspang at jefnet.com> wrote:

> I’ve done more the “build it yourself” route and went with FreeNas, which
> came in at a quite reasonable cost considering the specs.

At this point, I trust OpenZFS on BSD more than Btrfs on Linux (e.g.,
Synology), so FreeNAS (aka TrueNAS) is an option as well.  BSD changes far
less than Linux, which has it's blessings and curses, if one is going to *'roll
their own.' * Oracle will likely never *'solve'* the IP issues with OpenZFS
on Linux because of their NetApp IP/settlement, but BSD doesn't have that

On topic, since DIY isn’t really desired, I’ve been looking into replacing
> one of my current (and ancient) 4 drive Raid 10 arrays of 2 TB spinning
> disks with a simple mirror of 4TB Western Digital Red SSDs.  The reason
> I’ve been thinking SATA SSDs is that network bandwidth is going to be the
> primary thing limiting performance, and even a single SATA SSD will
> outperform paired / bonded 2.5gbit network.

AHCI v. nVME is the bigger limitation than SATA v. PCIe when it comes to
I/O ops, but on a SOHO network, probably not at all.

This means you’ll want 10gbit network at home before you even need to Raid
> SATA SSDs for performance, and I don’t really see a reason to spend the
> extra for high quality NVME drives (ex, Samsung 970 Pro).

Indeed, and if there is a limitation to Synology, they really lack I/O
expansion, or only offer 2.5GbE, with only a few models offering a PCIe
x4/x8 slot to add a [Q]SFP+/28 (10/25[/40/100]) option.  I'm waiting for
newer models, but Synology is like nVidia ... why spend the R&D if people
are still buying, and the competition isn't competing well?

> NVME raid isn’t something that comes cheaply on motherboards, so I doubt
> it’s a low cost feature on NAS Appliances either.

Most RAID-0/1/10 is Fake/Firmware RAID (FRAID) any way, and the OS -- e.g.,
via DeviceMapper (DM) or MultiDisk (MD) -- does it any way.

> The reason for Western Digital Reds, is they are marketed as a NAS SSD
> implementation.  I will admit I have read very little regarding NAS
> oriented SSDs, so there may be better options, or the WD Reds may be just
> marketing.  If anyone has any insight on SATA SSDs for NAS use, I’m all
> ears.

It's all about included DRAM and/or any 1-bit SLC cache, with some using
2-bit MLC cache and using 3-bit TLC cells as standard instead of 4-bit
QLC.  Each successive density reduces the lifespan by an order of magnitude
(10Ks+ writes v. 1Ks+ writes v. 100s+ writes v. 10s writes -- SLC, MLC, TLC
and QLC).  Although we've reached the point with nVME atop of PCIe 3.0+
that system DRAM is now being used for buffer instead of on-device, to save

Most *'Enterprise'* class NAS/SAN NAND devices try to provide both
on-device DRAM and 1-bit SLC, but many don't.  It really depends on the

Bryan J Smith  -  http://www.linkedin.com/in/bjsmith
E-mail:  b.j.smith at ieee.org  or  me at bjsmith.me
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