Tag Archives: Synology

Site downtime / Synology DS415+ memory expansion

Some of you may seen a short period of downtime for my blog just a little while ago. In order to compensate for any inconveniences it could cause for those who notice it, here is a blog post explaining why it had happened.

For quite a while now I host my WordPress blog on Synology DS415+ NAS box and I’m going to continue to do so (at least no plans to move back to wordpress.com or something else so far). So I recently bought this:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 001

This is 8 Gb SO-DIMM DDR-III Kingston (KVR16S11/8 PC3-12800) which I bought from some local vendor in order to replace default 2 GB memory module which DS415+ NAS has installed in its default configuration. Officially Synology not supports memory expansion which is quite obvious from amount of work you need to reach out SO-DIMM slot 🙂 Also there is only one slot so you only can swap default module with new one. Number of people reported that they were successful with replacing memory modules on this box so I was pretty sure it will work out (don’t ask me about practical gains from memory increase – it’s a difficult part which I leave out in this blog post).

Entire process is straightforward and two question you may have is which memory modules will do and how to disassemble this box. Disassemble steps will be described below. As for memory modules I can say that factory preinstalled module labeled with DSL sticker and uses SEC chips (Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd.) and has the following specs: DDR3 1600 2GB CL11. So essentially I was able to replace it with 8 Gb PC-12800. By the way these fancy PC3-XXXXX numbers are module names in accordance with JEDEC standards, in particular PC3-12800 = DDR3-1600x standard, and 12800 is a theoretical bandwidth of a module.

So before replacing memory module we have 2 Gb:

Before - System Information

Below you may find disassembly process steps. First switching off and disconnecting the box, and placing it in some convenient place. As you can see working 24×7 this box collects loads of dust rather quickly:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 002

Removing drives, in my case I have 2 6TB WD RED drives and 2 vacant places 🙂 :

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 003

Box without drives/drive cages:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 004Removing screws on the back side of the box (3 in total). One on the top:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 007

And two on the bottom:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 005

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 008

The most difficult part is to remove this upper cover. After looking at the similar set of pictures posted by somebody on Synology forums I was confused by the pictures there highlighting some locks on the top of the device, don’t dry to apply force there, actually you have to push from the inside of the box part of the cover which is opposed to leds/button side – push it from the inside and try to slid this cover back so that it free from the two clips located where you push and slid it to free the cover from the locks on the top. I marked area near from the locks where you have to push:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 010

Like I said it is most difficult part. You may need to watch this video to get an idea how exactly to do this step:

https://youtu.be/1PYp9CNdgn4?t=138

All the next steps are easy. Completely removing cover:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 011

Removing 4 screws holding the metal frame for drives (two from each side):

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 014

Remove plastic part on the top of the metal cage which connected with one of the fans:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 015

Unscrew and remove from its slot plate with SATA connectors:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 017

Then remove metal cage completely:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 018

Remove plate with ports:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 019

After this unscrew 2 screws on the metal cover and you finally get access to main board and memory slot. Here it is with dust and pre-installed 2Gb memory module:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 020

Old and new module side-by-side:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 021

Main board with new module installed:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 025

Next we repeat the step in reverse order and here is DS415+ box assembled again:

DS415+ RAM Upgarde 026

And once it is powered up we can see the final result of this process:

After - System Information

Now I have 8 GB of memory in my NAS, have you noticed that my blog works faster now? 😉 All the process took about 1,5 hour from switching off till power on with replaced memory module.

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Synology DS415+ Adaptive Load Balancing

UPDATE: I had a discussion with Ulrik D. Hansen, developer of NAS performance tester and thanks to some input from his side realized that test results described in this blog post are not correct, but I will leave this post as is and write another one with new tests and some explanations soon.

It is something like on year since I’m using Synology DS415+ NAS. This particular model has 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports with support for network load balancing and fault tolerance options, i.e. allow you to do link aggregation. This feature was one of the important things when I selected this particular model. Unfortunately when I tried this I realized that I cannot do load balancing as it required support for 802.3ad LACP from network switch. After quick research I found out that SOHO WiFi access-points doesn’t have advanced switching capabilities and normally limited to 4 Ethernet ports, unless you are ready to try to do some unsupported tweaks with alternative firmware. Unfortunately this is the case even for newest models of premium segment, including even one I’m aiming to buy soon (ASUS RT-AC5300). The thing is that they normally try to max out/beef up device wireless capabilities and feature keeping built in switching capabilities simple – and I can understand it, as wired connection is always way faster than fastest possible WiFi and by no means is primary feature of WiFi access points. But buying more advanced switch makes sense anyway, but I will cover this later.

So because of need for buying new switch I abandoned idea of using link aggregation with my Synology DS415+ as something I can’t do with equipment I have… And to be honest I somewhat missed the fact that in DSM 5.2 update Synology added support for two new modes when creating a bond interface: Adaptive Load Balancing and Balance XOR (see Synology DSM release notes). Only recently I tested this and indeed it works: you just create network bond and enable Adaptive Load Balancing option – nothing is required on your switch side:

NAS Enable Adaptive Load Balancing

Once enabled your network bond properties will drastically improve your mood if you are person who cares about performance ratings & large figures… 🙂 It’s a shame that we no longer have performance index in recent Windows releases (starting from Windows 8) and 3DMark tests fall out of fashion – you may argue about relevance of indexes/numbers and synthetic tests but we can’t argue that it was fun/enjoyable to have these things 🙂 Sad to see that we sort of moving away from universal bench-marking software, but it seems that the state of hardware ecosystem makes many of these tests irrelevant.

NAS ALB Bond properties

I looked around the net for feedback whether enabling this thing gives you real advantage or not & found a lot of pessimistic stuff like you never ever going to leverage this because of XYZ or because of the fact that XYZ will be a narrow place etc. So people really confused if there is some real gains from using this. Common sense answer to that – it all depends (on specific workload/scenario you are interested in). But whenever performance subject is raised for discussion, baseline is everything – luckily enough I did some basic performance tests without Adaptive Load Balancing (NAS connected over single Gigabit Ethernet port) some time ago. So now I can do at least some comparison. Of course this is not super clean comparison: I have newer DSM version on NAS (which may contain some improvements) and my target volume if formatted as ReFS – so those are differences. But still improvement way beyond any test inaccuracy as you will see below.

Test 1. NAS performance tester using 400 MB file with both header and data digests disabled.

Single gigabit Ethernet link:

Two gigabit Ethernet links with Adaptive Load Balancing enabled:

NAS Test 400MB

Test 2. NAS performance tester using 8000 MB file with both header and data digests disabled.

Single gigabit Ethernet link:

Two gigabit Ethernet links with Adaptive Load Balancing enabled:

NAS Test 8000MB

So to sum this up, we see real performance increase here:

NAS ALB tests result

So despite the fact that laptop from which I run this test connected only over single Gigabit LAN port we see substantial performance gains. But what if instead of plain simple switch I have built-in into my WiFi access point we add big managed switch? So I’m expecting to get one on next week with switching capacity 36 GB/s (26.79 GB/s max forwarding rate) and do some more tests – the same Adaptive Load Balancing config while connected through this dedicated switch and later another test of 802.3ad link aggregation mode (switch I’m going to get is D-Link DGS-1100-18 from DGS-1100 Series of Gigabit Smart Switches). Stay tuned if you interested to see tests results.

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My blog moved

After some downtime my blog is up and running again. I moved it from wordpress.com and now running it off Synology NAS. Migration process was relatively easy but with some little difficulties, so I am jotting down the outline of whole procedure here:

1. Domain name transfer from wordpress.com to another domain name registrar so that you can point your domain name to public IP of your router.

2. Install WordPress and phpMyAdmin packages on Synology. WordPress installation will enable Web Station feature on your Synology box for you. Set custom and secure passwords for MariaDB and your wordpress blog.

3. Use WordPress import/export features to migrate your content.

4. Enable “Virtual Server / Port Forwarding” feature on your router to allow HTTP access from WAN to Synology device behind it.

5. Now your main issue is that default WordPress installation on Synology create subfolder in web folder, so you can’t access it via IP/domain name only but have to additionally specify “/wordpress” after it. To address this you need to go to your Web Station settings and add 2 virtual host entries (subfolder/hostname/protocol/port):

wordpress www.yourdomain.com HTTP 80

wordpress yourdomain.com HTTP 80

Other solutions is to add forwarders in public DNS or move your wordpress installation to the root folder instead of hosting it beneath web folder. First one not the best one because domain registrars tend to take up to 48 hours to fully apply forwarders and the second one is more complex and not the best thing to do from security prospective maybe.

6. Final steps. Use phpMyAdmin to edit the following settings in wp_options table of wordpress database:

home=http://yourdomain.com

siteurl=http://yourdomain.com

But even this is not enough and you also have to locate your wp_config.php file and the following line there:

define(‘WP_SITEURL’, ‘http://yourdomain.com’);

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Measuring NAS performance

Just a quick note on possibilities available to do some bench-marking of NAS performance. Quite often Blackmagic Disk Speed Test or Intel NAS Performance Toolkit are being used for this. But there are some problems with those: first one is nice and cool but for Mac only, second is good but no longer supported by Intel as it reached its EoL.

So if you look for the other options you may use the following:

ToTu Soft LAN Speed Test – they have commercial and free versions, and promise to deliver Mac OS release soon.

NAS performance tester by Ulrik D. Hansen, absolutely free and with source code available (though it only measures read/write speed values).

I really liked this last option as it is portable and allowed me to do some quick tests against iSCSI target hosted on my Synology DS415+ (gigabit Ethernet connection; 1 drive only, no RAID, both data and header digests enabled). You may see test results below.

Using 400 Mb file:

NAS Performance Tester

The same test run a bit later with both header and data digests disabled:

NAS Performance Tester 400MB no digests

Using 8000 Mb file:

NAS Performance Tester 8GB

And here is the same test with digests disabled:

NAS Performance Tester 8GB no digests

Of course this is quick and dirty measurement, but at least now I have some baseline and tool to measure how changes in my infrastructure or its configuration influence performance. For example I saw interesting reports that NFS share on Synology outperform iSCSI target (at least in terms of IOps), and in other source there were graphs showing negligible performance cost of iSCSI digests (alongside these graphs that material emphasized importance of data integrity you gain with digests), but it will be nice to verify all these claims.

UPDATE (20.03.2015): I did the same tests with disabled digests (see additional screenshots above), so performance cost is not entirely negligible, especially for read and for large chunks of date.

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Synolgogy DS415+

It has been a while since I decided to splash out and get a NAS for myself. As I need to run loads of VMs both for work related purposes and for fun (it’s cool when we can combine work and fun, right?) it was a bit easier for me to justify significant costs. As my initial intent was to run VMs from NAS my choice criteria were 2x1Gb Ethernet interfaces and 4 bays for building array both for performance and redundancy. I was not able to did full and deep research due to time constraints (we all have to do this all too often these days) and stopped my choice on Synology DS415+ which meets previously mentioned criteria and as well has following strengths: complies with some industry standards/certifications for virtualization, has mature and feature reach software.

So finally I bought this thing:

DS415+_BOX

Buying it in Russia was more expensive then buy it from Amazon and pay for delivery from US, but thanks to good friend of mine I was able to order it from German Amazon site and got it fast saving on delivery also 🙂 I also bought 6TB WD RED drive to use with it (and will add some more of those later, as they are pricey).

Quite useful video on choosing HDD drives for your NAS which helped me was “WD Red VS Seagate NAS Drives – with SPANTV”

After unpacking, installing and starting off using this thing I starting to realize what’s good and bad about having and using this thing. I will be adding details to this post by and by to share with other potential users of this.

Noise. You may always find reviews where they do measurements of noise level and give you some numbers for noise levels in decibels, but it is not telling you anything (or at least me). You may ever find YouTube videos sometimes where somebody switching on and off the device to give you idea about its noise level, which is a bit better. My experience: definitely not for your bedroom. Despite having 2 relatively silent fans and only one drive so far it’s noisy (a bit in a lumbering way, though maybe with more drives it will change tone of its noise 🙂 ) – definitely not something you may want to have in your bedroom or in silent environment when noise from this device becomes distinctive. it is also blinking from 2 sides – Ethernet ports LEDs and front LEDs (I wish I had software option to turn off all these lights, like I have in alternate firmware for my Wi-Fi router). So I moved it from my bedroom to some corner in the lobby and it’s OK now. And the side benefit from having NAS for me is that I finally get rid off HDDs in my desktop leaving only SSD drive in it – now it is truly silent PC 🙂 I do remember how much effort were necessary for building really silent PC but with SSD it’s finally silent for real (I have passive CPU and GPU cooling) – HDDs really slow and produce unpleasant noise especially because of vibration when case or furniture start to resonate – now it’s all solved with all data moved to NAS and NAS moved to the far corner in the lobby 🙂

Goodbye hard drives, data wiped and those can be re-purposed  for something:

Old_HDDs

My home desktop which runs Windows 10 TP and scheduled for total rebuild now runs with SSD only (120 GB OCZ Vertex 4) which translates not only into silent PC but almost immediate start up (there is a bit of a delay due to old non UEFI BIOS and occasional warnings about stopped CPU fan, as I use passive cooling for it in the form of huge chunk of aluminium named Cooler Master Hyper Z600 🙂 ).

Link aggregation/Fail-Over. It’s all not as good in the end for me – my idea was to use Ethernet link aggregation for speed but there is 2 stumbling blocks – no Wi-Fi routers (even most expensive of them) doesn’t provide support for LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) aka IEEE802.1AX and neither do cheap Gigabit switches (I need to research this more). And I also run out of ports on my router to connect 2nd Ethernet cable for NAS, so at the moment I’m unable to use Ethernet fail-over configuration (which is work with my network devices), but this is not very critical. UPDATE (09.01.2016): Starting from DSM 5.2 you can do link aggregation with ANY switch using Synology Adaptive Load Balancing feature (you may have a look at this post of mine for details, though you have to ignore overly optimistic test results described there 🙂 I verified and those are not right – just measurement error).  

Standards/Cetifications claimed by Synology for DS415+. VMware Ready, Citrix Ready, Windows Server 2012 Certified, Windows Server 2012 R2 Certified.

VMware Ready means that it was tested by VMWare with ESXi 5.5 (5.5 U1/U2) with firmware v4503 in SW iSCSI configuration for VAAI-Block features, namely: Block Zero, Full Copy, HW Assisted Locking, Thin Provisioning.

iSCSI target. This is the thing you need to store your VMs 🙂 You can setup DS415+ to serve as block level or file level iSCSI target. Please refer to Synology documentation for further details: Best practices of using the Synology DiskStation to host iSCSI Storage

I will expand this post later when I clarify some things and got more experience with device.

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