Tag Archive: DiskStation

I was recently tasked with overhauling the “network” for a local, small, not for profit. The company currently have 2 sites, with roughly a dozen desktops at each and half dozen laptops which roam between the two.

The primary requirements were to provide;

  • networked file storage (preferably redundant)
  • centralised user management (single sign-on and access control)
  • site blocking/web filtering

If both sites had “reasonable” internet connections, I would have suggested a single server at the “central” location with a site-to-site VPN. Unfortunately the connections are~ 3MBit down, 0.3Mbit up (ADSL). This introduces a need for additional hardware (servers at every site) and a way of synchronising/replicating between the sites!

As always, everything should be designed with scalability in mind, but sticking to a tight budget.

The File Servers

My first purchase were the file servers. Many years back I used to “roll my own” with something like a HP MicroServer and Windows Home Server (or possibly FreeNAS/OpenFiler) but some years back I made the transition to a dedicated Synology appliance.

Whilst you lose some of the flexibility (being able to install any software on x86/x64 hardware like the MicroServer) you gain a huge amount of reliability and support by going with a dedicated appliance (not to mention the huge feature set and ability to run many additional applications on the Synology product line).

One of the only requirements for the file server was redundancy (so at least 2 bays to support raid 1). Wanting to stick with Synology I used their product comparison tool (https://www.synology.com/en-uk/products/compare) to make a shortlist and then after looking at the prices settled for the DiskStation DS214.

Although storage requirements were pretty small, I got a great deal on WD Green 3TB disks so bought 5 (2 for each site and 1 spare).

The Routers

Had this have been a “home solution” i’d probably have opted for something like the Asus RT-AC66U flashed with one of the open source firmwares such as OpenWRT or DD-WRT. But, needing a “business solution” I needed something, most importantly reliable (the potential sacrifice being ease of use).

On top of reliability, the primary feature requirement for the routers is site-to-site VPN. After some research I decided to give the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite 3 a try. Frustratingly the ADSL connection coming in at both sites is provided by a BT HomeHub3. The HH3 doesn’t support bridge mode, and to avoid double NAT / further complications I decided to purchase 2 ADSL modems (there aren’t many to chose from… I went for the Draytek Vigor 120).


I previously posted about some SharePoint issues i’ve been tackling, this is the medium i’ve chosen for documenting and sharing the how-to guides, configuration details and process documents. I’m yet to tackle, but may also use it for new user requests, password resets, support requests etc.

To be continued…

Similarly, I have already posted about getting OpenLDAP replication working, this was one tiny part of the project. I will be following up this post with a number specifically tackling the implementation and configuration of the new solution.

Watch this space.

New Lab / NAS

Far too long since the last post. Let’s hope this will be the start of them picking back up again!

I have been experiencing some performance issues and need to have a bit of a re-shuffle of the servers/network (my vCenter appliance has stopped working, SQL is being slow etc). I have some production stuff running and don’t want to take everything offline for long so decided to build a new environment then migrate stuff.

I wont be changing much; 

Old NAS; Synology DiskStation 1812+ w/
-4x 3TB WD Green in Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) : Main data store for Movies, PVR Recordings, ISOs, Photos etc (CIFS & NFS)
-2x 256GB OCZ Vertex4 SSD in RAID0 : Virtual machine storage (NFS)
-2x1gbit LACP to switch
Old ESXi Host; SuperMicro X8SIL-F w/ Xeon X3470 & 16GB RAM running VMWare ESXi v5.1
Old switch; Linksys SRW2024W

New NAS; Snology DiskStation 1813+ w/
-3x 4TB WD Red in Synology Hybrid Raid (SHR) : Main data store for Movies, PVR Recordings, ISOs, Photos etc (CIFS & NFS)
-3/4?x 250GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD in RAID0? : Virtual machine storage (NFS/iSCSI?)
-3x1gbit LACP to switch dedicated to main data store
-1gbit to switch dedicated to VM storage
New ESXi Host; SuperMicro X8SIL-F w/ Xeon X3470 & 32GB RAM running VMWare ESXi v5.5
New switch; Cisco SG200-26 (separate vm storage traffic on it’s own VLAN/subnet)

You’ll notice a bunch of questions marks around the new Virtual machine storage volume. I’m currently debating which disk configuration to use and which storage protocol. I’ve always used NFS as it seems much simpler but understood iSCSI to be the better option (especially with the Synology supporting VAAI hardware acceleration). But despite this, i’ve been reading that NFS seems to outperform iSCSI.

Additionally, if I go iSCSI I will try using 2x1gbit ports and enabling multipathing / round-robin. If I go down the NFS route I don’t think LACP will provide any benefit as the IP hash from a single ESXi host to the single DiskStation will always use the same link?

I have 4 of the EVO SSD so am initially creating a 2 disk RAID0 volume using NFS and an identical volume using iSCSI. I can then try running some like for like comparisons/benchmarks to determine which configuration to use going forward.

I will provide an update shortly.

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