Synology/Xpenology on DIY Box… Reliable? Powerful?

Discussion in 'NAS Systems and Networked Home and SMB Software' started by levifig, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. levifig

    levifig Member

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    Hey all,

    I've been running a DIY Proxmox NAS/VM server for over a year. I custom built one, based on an Supermicro 836 chassis, added a dual E5-2680v2 setup, and 128GB RAM. It's been fun to mess with it. At first FreeNAS on ESXi, and then moved to Proxmox, with ZFS on Linux, natively on Proxmox.

    I'm moving in a few weeks and won't have the ability to have a dedicated area for a rack and "homelab gear", so I started selling my server and ordered a Synology DS1819+. MAN: I love DSM!! Seriously: fell in love with what Synology has done with their OS and system!! BUT… pretty quickly started realizing that I wish I had more horsepower. Soooo, I started spec'ing another box, going dual E5-2650L, probably on a Fractal R6, with the goal of getting more "humph" but maintaining a pretty quiet and easy to manage system. I'm still within the 30-day return window, so I can still change my mind… :)

    Well, my question now is: how stable and reliable is Xpenology? Can I run it on Proxmox and give it the full "juice"? I'm still debating whether to use Proxmox for the VM/LXC/Docker configuration, or really just use Proxmox (or ESXi) as pure hypervisor, only powering DSM. Will DSM take full advantage of a setup like that? Or will it "cap" at the max hardware that Synology puts out?

    Again, I'm going to have less space AND TIME to mess with homelab stuff, so I want to quiet/downsize my homelab, but also simplify management so I can focus on work and family… :)

    Thank you in advance for the advice! o/
     
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  2. BLinux

    BLinux cat lover server enthusiast

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    By default, Xpenology will only recognize the number of drives the "DSM image" was designed for. If you want to beyond that, there are some files you can edit that will enable it to go beyond that limit.

    That said, if you don't care to be up to date, it can be stable if you happen to be on a stable version of DSM, which is usually not a problem. If you are the type of person who wants to click that "update" button, you need to be ready for a lot of problems. The Xpenology bootloader usually breaks between updates and requires the Xpenology folks to find a workaround.

    If you're running Xpenology in a VM, make sure to snapshot the VM before any updates so you can revert back if it goes horribly wrong, and in most cases it will if you are updating DSM itself (the packages don't usually cause a problem).
    If you're not going to have time, and you tend to click on "update" buttons, then I recommend staying away. If you don't mind tinkering with stuff, restoring from snapshots/backups, etc. then it's okay, but that takes up time which you said you won't have. If you're pretty disciplined about not clicking "update" and don't care that your DSM is a year old or so, it might be okay to set it and leave it.
     
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  3. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    I have used XPEnology since the 5.0 beta up to 6.1 and I haven't had any major issues with it so far.
    There are just a few catches with running XPEnology over the real deal:
    - No simple updates, you'll always have to wait for verification or verify yourself that the update works.
    - Running more than 9 drives requires some mods in config files. The configuration itself is fairly easy, it's just a bit annoying they will be gone after every update leaving your raidset "damaged" I set up my raidset in a way only my ssd cache would have to rebuild.
    - Make sure your hardware is compatible, there are extra driver packages available but not everything will work.

    I ran XPEnology with docker, virtualbox, plex and a bunch of other resource hungry services wich probably wouldn't run on the lightweight synology hardware.
    It survived numerous power outages and 2 disk failures, stability wise I was really happy with the system.

    I have managed to get dsm to work in PVE but it was not nearly as stable as bare metal, my dsm would crash and give white pages every few days wich I could fix by recovering from zfs snapshot.
     
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  4. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    This is a point to consider in particular if you expose the DSM box to the outside -
    1. You o/c can't use the Synology provided option for that (no big deal)
    2. Not being able to update immediately might mean you need to shut down your exposure to the world in case of critical security issues (which happen every so often, heartbleed for example)

    If that is not an issue or you are not sharing outside your home environment then disregard o/c :)
     
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  5. levifig

    levifig Member

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    That should be fine. I plan to keep my main array to 10-12 drives max. Will probably stick to the current 8 that I have…

    I'm usually a "bleeding edge" kinda guy, but that has been less and less true the older I get. For one, I'm used to not being able to update to the latest and greatest right away in production environments, and for another, I've been burned enough to avoid it when possible… ;)

    That's actually a really good argument for running it in a VM vs baremetal…

    Managing DSM, even Xpenology, is probably less time than trying to optimize and obsess about ZFS performance............. That is what I'm trying to avoid: enough possibilities to tinker that I'll obsess about getting the utmost performance at all times! :X


    This is what I wanted to hear. I would love to run it baremetal. I'm currently spec'ing out a X10DRL-i + 2xE5-2650L and would love to run it straight up on it… Do you think I'll take full advantage of this hardware? Will I run into incompatibilities? Thank you for the advice!

    That's not a big deal for me… I plan on only exposing storage through stuff like Nextcloud and the like, not the Synology itself. Honestly, this is a great argument to install it as a VM and only expose it via an external reverse proxy. I would like to manage Docker and VMs from inside DSM though… I'm very comfortable with ESXi and Proxmox, but would rather K.I.S.S. with this "deployment"… and I've grown quite fond of the DSM interface for many things, especially when it's Linux underneath and I can pull up a terminal to make some specific changes that are not made accessible in the UI… ;)


    Thanks for the great responses! I'll keep everyone posted on what I end up doing… ;)
     
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  6. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    This is what I wanted to hear. I would love to run it baremetal. I'm currently spec'ing out a X10DRL-i + 2xE5-2650L and would love to run it straight up on it… Do you think I'll take full advantage of this hardware? Will I run into incompatibilities? Thank you for the advice!

    AFAIK there is no limit to the amount of cores and ram you throw at XPEnology.
    I ran 8 cores and 16gb ram on my setup but I see no reason why more wouldn't work.
    DSM will tell you it's the native processor for that model with that amount of cores but will use all of your systems cores anyway.

    Running the native services only you probably won't be taking full advantage of your specs.
    If you're gonna use stuff like virtualbox, docker or VMM (I never got that to work) you probably will.
     
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  7. levifig

    levifig Member

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    Yeah, I don't mean DSM itself using all of the horsepower, but having it available for VMs, Docker, etc… Just trying to avoid installing a hypervisor just to do that stuff... though it seems like ESXi for snapshots/backups of DSM might be a better solution. Would still rather avoid that…

    Thanks for the help! :)
     
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  8. levifig

    levifig Member

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    Alright: so I managed to install Xpenology/DSM 6.2 on a Proxmox VM. Only "complaint" right now is that I can't assign it all 20 cores. I disabled hyper-threading, but I can only assign it 16 cores max. I was hoping to give it all my server's "juice" and manage VMs and Docker inside of it. I wonder if that's possible somehow.. My preliminary research on that hasn't been conclusive (i.e. only older forum posts and with no obvious conclusion/solution).

    So far, with 16 cores (out of my current dual E5-2680v2's 20 total, which is getting swapped out with a dual E5-2650Lv3 next week) and 64GB RAM, it's SNAPPY… Makes my DS1819+ feel sluggish as hell! :eek:

    I'll report back with any findings… Hopefully someone can help me and we can all help someone else… :)
     
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  9. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    Great you got it working.
    Did you passthrough the storage or are you using virtual disks?

    I got myself curious again and installed DSM 6.2 on a 918+ vm last week and it seems to be running fine so far.
    The usb image did not work for me as it wouldn't install due to the missing PID and VID, converting it to sata did the trick, how did your install go?
    Using a SN from a RS815 I did manage to get Active backup working wich I couln't before on DSM 6.1, though I did not get quickconnect to work.

    Are you switching motherboard as well? AFAIK v2's and v3's don't fit in the same motherboard.

    The interface must be buttersmooth on a system that powerfull, I always feel so held back logging into my trusty ds212j backup synology after knowing how fast XPEnology is.
     
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  10. levifig

    levifig Member

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    For now, just created 4x1TB raw images and used those. I just wanted to test the process. I'm pretty familiar with Hackintosh, and this feels a lot like that… ;)

    So you're running baremetal right? I didn't need to do any of that with the VM and Jun's loader. I'm using Hyper Backup (backing up my NAS to GSuite) and it's working fine. Haven't tried Active Backup though (I'm guessing that's the one to backup cloud accounts to your NAS?)…

    Yup, and I needed to order DDR4 too… Got a X10DRL-i, because I wanted to stay dual socket but go away from rackmount cases. I'm going with the Fractal Define R6, and it can't really handle boards bigger than 11'' wide… which all of Supermicro's E-ATX are (still bothers me SM calls them E-ATX when they are actually EEB, but whatever).

    Soooo smooth! I always felt it was a bit "slow" on the DS1819+, which is odd since it's a decent CPU and I added 32GB RAM, but it's soooo nice on this system. Still a bit sad I can't use more than 16 threads (which is why I disabled multithreading), but I'll be okay… I wanted to manage ALL VMs inside XPenology, potentially going baremetal. I guess I'll stick to Xpenology inside Proxmox, and run some VMs on it… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    The new motherboard and CPUs arrived today, and the RAM and case should be here before the weekend. I should be able to finish the build then and start selling the leftovers (Supermicro 836 chassis, X9DR7-LN4F, 2x E5-2680v2, 128GB DDR3, etc). Sad to lose my rackmounted homelab, but it's just part of life and going (back) to apartment living… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  11. epicurean

    epicurean Member

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    @levifig
    I have been meaning to do a xpenology VM (1.03 3615 bootloader) on a proxmox. Can you direct me to a noobie guide for this?
    Is it as easy as vmware in snapshots and VM backups?
     
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  12. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    I used to run it bare metal as my daily driver until I switched over to proxmox. Right now I'm running it as vm in PVE.

    I think this will be your best bet too, maybe passing through a HBA so your XPEnology can use the disks directly would be a nice thing to do and leave some ssd's for virtualization.
    I've been testing freenas this exact same way.
     
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  13. Los

    Los New Member

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    levifig
    Hows your Xpenology VM rig holding up so far? Just came across this site and in the past had issues running bare metal...but as a VM run just fine.
     
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  14. ElBerryKM13

    ElBerryKM13 Member

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    If you don't have time to be tinkering when issues arise I think this is not for you. Hardware compatibility is a big issue with xpenology and like other have said the updates break the bootloader and you gotta be careful or you might end up losing data.
     
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  15. levifig

    levifig Member

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    It was mostly fine but I was never able to get 10Gbps working so I ended up moving (back) to plain ol' ZFS running on the Proxmox host directly, with a container running the SMB3/NFS shares. I definitely miss some of the niceties of XPenology but, since I'm pretty comfortable with ZFS/Linux, I did gain back a bit of flexibility.

    I should try XPenology again in the future but, for now, I'm sticking with ZFS... :)
     
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  16. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    My xpenology is still running strong.
    It's only being used for office365 backup atm but no issues so far.

    Quick tip for anyone wanting to virtualize xpenology on proxmox.
    If you add a serial port to the vm and set that port as display in the hardware tab you can get console access from the proxmox webinterface.
     
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  17. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    Wow I didn’t know Synology also has that (10 users free).
     
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  18. mbosma

    mbosma Member

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    It's amazing, haven't had any issues with any deployment so far.
    I haven't found an alternative solution as sleek and easy to use as this one.
     
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