Synology DS1621xs+ – Part 2, RAID selection and virtual machine deployment


Quick Links

Part 1 – What is it

Part 2 – This page

Part 3 – SSD Read / Write Cache

Background

Following on from part one of this blog series, where we unboxed the DS1621xs+ and applied some basic configuration to the NAS, I wanted to delve a little deeper into the disk RAID setup and carry some basic performance testing with and without the SSD disk cache feature. Out of the box, the RAID config is set up using RAID 5. I wanted to switch this to RAID 10 in an attempt to maximise performance, albeit at the cost of capacity.

Configuration

Change of RAID type

As I mentioned above, the default RAID config on the NAS is RAID 5, I want to change this to RAID 10. First, we need to remove the existing storage pool, which is managed by the Storage Manager app.

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Once that is gone, we can move onto creating a new storage pool.

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I opted to stick with a single storage pool as I wanted all the drives to participate in the storage.

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Choose the RAID type from the next screen.

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Choose which disks will participate in the RAID group. I chose all of them.

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Warning all data will be erased, ok.

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Click apply.

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Once the storage pool is created, we have a note stating we need to create a volume before we can use the space.

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Moving on to create a new volume.

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The new volume will be created on the new storage pool.

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Then you can choose a file system. I opted for Btrfs.

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Give the volume a name.

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and apply.

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Now we have a shiny new volume for consumption.

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Virtual Machine Deployment

Synology offers the ability to run virtual machines directly on the NAS device through an app called Virtual Machine Manager. The underlying hypervisor appears to be KVM based but I need to confirm. I must say I am impressed with the functionality available with VMM. For some of the higher end Synology devices with a bit of RAM in them, they could quite easily host a highly available cluster for VM workloads, although cluster services do incur additional licensing costs. A compelling all in one device for SMB to SME type customers or even for ROBO (Remote Office, Branch Office) use case. For a single NAS device running virtual machines though, this is out of the box functionality with no additional cost.

Open VMM.

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We can see the status of our host (NAS) and storage are looking good. The first step to deploying a VM is to have an image to deploy from. I will be using a Windows 10 ISO file.

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Browse the computer for the ISO.

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Choose where the ISO will live. This is the storage volume we created earlier.

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Wait for the ISO to upload and Voilà.

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No to create a new virtual machine.

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Choose the operating system type. One interesting thing here is the ability to spin up a virtual DSM (DiskStation Manager). This could be good for testing nested NAS functionality, or replication testing etc.

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Choose the storage where the VM will live, this is the same volume we created earlier.

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Give the VM a name and define what resources it should have made available to it.

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Define the drive size for the virtual machine.

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Configure the network. I need to look into this further but the NAS creates a default virtual network to connect to. It would seem you can create multiple networks though.

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The additional ISO file is to install the in guest tools so they can make use of the virtual hardware the Synology NAS provides to the guest operating system. Much like VMware tools or Hyper-V integration services.

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You can also define who can manage the virtual machine from a host level. It would make sense to create a dedicated role for this if granting access to multiple people in a none lab environment.

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And then click apply to create the VM.

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And then we have a new VM.

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I won’t run through how to configure WIndows 10, there is plenty of articles out there to cover that element off.

Conclusion

In this article, we covered changing the disk RAID type to RAID 10 and detailed how to deploy a Windows 10 VM. In Part 3 I will show the difference the SSD cache can make to in guest disk performance on Windows 10.

 

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