Separate volume for VM storage?

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Separate volume for VM storage?

Just purchased a new RS1619xs+, inc 4 x 10TB disks & extra RAM.

BACKGROUND

It's intended to replace our no-longer-really-needed pair of VMware ESX hosts + storage, running several Windows servers:- file, SQL, line-of-business app, plus two domain controllers.

Most data is now in the cloud, but do need to retain an on-site copy (hence the NAS), have a mechanism for M365 Backup (Synology Active Backup for M365) and a containerised SQL database.

Also need to run at least one Windows Domain Controller (synching with Azure AD), hence plan to use Virtual Machine Manager and create new DC VM (maybe 2) on NAS.

There will not (at this stage anyway) be a second NAS for fault-tolerance.

No data copied to NAS yet, so can still easily delete everything done so far.

When powering up the NAS for the first time today, I let the system create a single RAID5 Storage Pool from the 4 x 10TB disks, and a single Volume from ALL of the available space.

QUESTION

Rather than having one one single volume, would I be better advised to create at least 2 separate Volumes
- one for the simple file data (shared folders etc), M365 Backups, etc., and another separate Volume for storage of the (probably 2) VMs created in VM Manager?

Or will in be fine to store the VMs on the same volume as that used by the shared folders?

The following Synology KB article says:-

Requirements and Limitations | Virtual Machine Manager - Synology Knowledge Center

"Create Btrfs volumes to be used as storage for virtual machines:
Before installing the Virtual Machine Manager package, please set up at least one Btrfs volume on each Synology NAS server. The volume will be used as the storage on which the virtual machines will be stored."


But it doesn't really say whether that volume (or those volumes plural) should/must be separate from any other data storage volume.

And the Storage page here says:-

Storage | Virtual Machine Manager - Synology Knowledge Center

To create a storage:
1. Go to Storage Manager and create a volume that will be used as storage for virtual machines first.
2. Click Add.
3. All volumes on the host will be shown. Select one.
4. Specify a name and set the Low on space threshold. You can choose whether you would like to be notified each time when the free space falls 1% below this threshold value.
5. Follow the instructions to complete the setup.


So, should at least 2 Volumes be created in the Storage Pool? Or is one sufficient?

Any guidance or thoughts from anyone please?
 
If you were to have 2 separate volumes with different drives (hdd vs ssd) it would make a lot of sense.

With same drives it still makes sense especially if you will have a more intensive usage on one volume then the next.

Using a single volume will work as well, but again depending on the usage of that particular set of drives some services might feel the burden
 
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Rusty

Many thanks for your reply.

"2 separate volumes with different drives (hdd vs ssd) it would make a lot of sense."

That would be nice!

A few weeks ago I was about to place an order for a QNAP TS-977XU-RP-3600, because in addition to its 4 x 3.5" drive slots it also has 5 x SSD drive bays along the top.

Would have been ideal for this job, and looks like a great hardware box. But then DeadBolt arose, and the more I read about the QNAP OS and general approach to security, the less inclined I became to order one.

Went back to the original Synology plan (has been brewing for over a year).

Unfortunately, the RS1619xs+ doesn't have that same extra SSD slots option. Would mean sacrificing a main drive slot.

Pity that the NVMe bays can't be used for raw storage, but only as cache for the main drive slots (if I've understood them correctly). If they could be used for storage, they'd be a great candidate for running VMs on.

"Using a single volume will work as well, but again depending on the usage of that particular set of drives some services might feel the burden"

Thing is, regardless of there being 1 volume or 2, they'd both be using the same 4 physical drives (in that single RAID5 array). Not sure how DSM apportions workload between different volumes on the same set of physical disks. Or am I misunderstanding either how this works, or what you mean?
-- post merged: --

P.S. I'd been thinking less about any performance benefits (if any) from having separate volumes, but more about minimising any possible inadvertent or accidental write access to the folders containing the VMs.

Not sure whether this is real or not. But in File Station, it only seems to be possible to create shared folders, rather than any folders which aren't shared (such as those containing a VM's files).

Or am I missing an obvious option for this?

Haven't used a Synology box for running a VM before. Not sure what the storage looks like for the VMs, or how it's created. Is this done automatically by VM Manager? You select the volume to be used for the storage, and VM Manager looks after the rest; creates the necessary folders etc:? Is this how it works/what happens?
 
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Which would make it 2 separate storage pools, with a single volume on each.

Happens to be the way I do it too, with an SSD volume and an HDD volume.

Ah.... 2 separate storage pools as well? On the same set of 4 disks? Guess I could do that too.

Just hadn't been clear about what the accepted Synology-best way of handling this would be. As usual, many ways to skin a cat, I guess.

Thanks Robbie.
-- post merged: --

Had even wondered whether one of those QNAP expansion cards, such as the excellent-looking QM2-2P410G2T (2 x M.2 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD & 2 x 10GbE ports expansion cards) could be persuaded to work in a Synology NAS!

QM2-2P410G2T
 
Pity that the NVMe bays can't be used for raw storage, but only as cache for the main drive slots (if I've understood them correctly). If they could be used for storage, they'd be a great candidate for running VMs on.
If you are willing to risk it, you can configure them to run like that. Still, when DSM update comes there is always a risk of loosing that volume due to system changes, but I hear you, you are not alone in this.

Thing is, regardless of there being 1 volume or 2, they'd both be using the same 4 physical drives (in that single RAID5 array). Not sure how DSM apportions workload between different volumes on the same set of physical disks. Or am I misunderstanding either how this works, or what you mean?
2 separate volumes but in 2 separate storage pools, just like @Robbie said.

Not sure whether this is real or not. But in File Station, it only seems to be possible to create shared folders, rather than any folders which aren't shared (such as those containing a VM's files).
Actually, in FS you create subfolders and files, the root shared folders are created using Control Panel > shared folder, if that's what you meant?

Haven't used a Synology box for running a VM before. Not sure what the storage looks like for the VMs, or how it's created. Is this done automatically by VM Manager?
Correct. VMM as a hypervizor takes care of it. You can configure networks, and storage destinations, so when you create a VM you can choose where the virtual drive will live.

Had even wondered whether one of those QNAP expansion cards, such as the excellent-looking QM2-2P410G2T (2 x M.2 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD & 2 x 10GbE ports expansion cards) could be persuaded to work in a Synology NAS!
Qnaps 2,5 and 5G adapter have 3rd party drivers on github, so as long as someone has made a driver for QM2, it could work.

If both volumes come from the same pool, there is no advantage to separate volumes, as those volumes are not drive specific.
Ofc you are correct. My thinking by default is new volume = new storage pool, but I haven't written it that way.
 
If both volumes come from the same pool, there is no advantage to separate volumes, as those volumes are not drive specific.
And similarly, if one sets up 2 separate pools on the same RAID5 array, is there any benefit if those 2 pools are sharing the same disks? Is there the concept of tiering, or priorities, on Synology storage pools, so that one could assign a higher priority to the pool containing the volume which contains the VMs?
 
And similarly, if one sets up 2 separate pools on the same RAID5 array, is there any benefit if those 2 pools are sharing the same disks? Is there the concept of tiering, or priorities, on Synology storage pools, so that one could assign a higher priority to the pool containing the volume which contains the VMs?
There are no options like that, best to setup separate pools on separate drives (or array of drives).
 
when DSM update comes there is always a risk of loosing that volume due to system changes
Hadn't considered that possibility.

No NVMe cards in my unit yet, so cannot see the options for how to configure them. Sounds as though one can create a storage pool with them (?).
 
Hadn't considered that possibility.

No NVMe cards in my unit yet, so cannot see the options for how to configure them. Sounds as though one can create a storage pool with them (?).
You can via SSH only not via UI. Like I said, unofficial method.
 
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Actually, in FS you create subfolders and files, the root shared folders are created using Control Panel > shared folder, if that's what you meant?
Sorry if I wasn't clear. What I meant was that, in the root of the storage on any volume there doesn't seem to be a way of creating a non-shared folder (such as one might want for storing VM files). The only option is to create a shared folder, as far as I can see. Control Panel/Shared Folders is only for creating shared folders, and File Station only allows you to create folders in an existing Shared Folder.

Hope this makes sense. It's analogous to creating a folder on a Windows file server, but not sharing it for wider access. It's only for the use of the server itself. As far as I can see, this doesn't seem to be possible. Standing by to be corrected :) .
-- post merged: --

There are no options like that, best to setup separate pools on separate drives (or array of drives).
OK, thank you. With only 4 disk slots in the unit I've chosen, I'm rather short of fault-tolerant options! I suppose I could split the 4 drives into 2 RAID1 arrays, but not keen on that, and the disks aren't big enough to halve the capacity I've bought, and leave me enough. Also wasteful to use 2 x 10TB disks to set up a separate storage pool and volume for only possibly 2 small VMs which might consume 0.25TB between them.

Thank you for clarifying though. I'm boxing myself in!
-- post merged: --

You can via SSH only not via UI. Like I said, unofficial method.
Ahah, OK. Hadn't realised SSH only. That's OK though. More digging to do. Thank you.
-- post merged: --

Correct. VMM as a hypervizor takes care of it. You can configure networks, and storage destinations, so when you create a VM you can choose where the virtual drive will live.
Thanks.
-- post merged: --

Qnaps 2,5 and 5G adapter have 3rd party drivers on github, so as long as someone has made a driver for QM2, it could work.
Interesting. Must go and do some digging around.

Shame about the QNAP NAS horror story. It looks a fine piece of hardware, at least in the NAS space.
-- post merged: --

At the risk of overdoing the thanks, thank you to Rusty, Robbie and Telos for rapid and useful responses. My first time posting on here.
 
Sorry if I wasn't clear. What I meant was that, in the root of the storage on any volume there doesn't seem to be a way of creating a non-shared folder (such as one might want for storing VM files). The only option is to create a shared folder, as far as I can see. Control Panel/Shared Folders is only for creating shared folders, and File Station only allows you to create folders in an existing Shared Folder.
VMM will use @iSCSI folder and subfolder structure to maintain the content

Ahah, OK. Hadn't realised SSH only. That's OK though. More digging to do. Thank you.
reddit post on the matter will be very easily to find.
 
Further to the Shared Folder question, it looks as though the folder-creation process is the other way up to how I'm used to seeing it done on a Windows server. On Windows, you create the folder (minimal access) and only share it/delegate access if you want to.

On the Synology, it looks as though one creates a Shared Folder (maximum access, in principle), and then ties it down with user permissions and hide it. Is that about it?
-- post merged: --

VMM will use @iSCSI folder and subfolder structure to maintain the content
(y). Will create one and see what it does. All will become clear.

reddit post on the matter will be very easily to find.

(y) again.
 
On the Synology, it looks as though one creates a Shared Folder (maximum access, in principle), and then ties it down with user permissions and hide it. Is that about it?
Correct. If you try and access the @iSCSI destination with any account other then root you will get permission error. So running your VMs via VMM you will configure what DSM account can run/stop/edit the machine.

But getting to the actual "vmdk" files will not be possible via UI, and not without root.
 
Correct. If you try and access the @iSCSI destination with any account other then root you will get permission error. So running your VMs via VMM you will configure what DSM account can run/stop/edit the machine.

But getting to the actual "vmdk" files will not be possible via UI, and not without root.
Understood - thank you.
-- post merged: --

The original reddit thread for NVMe volumes:

guide_use_nvme_ssd_as_storage_volume_instead_of

DSM7 changes seemed to help with the reliability when used as a volume. I don't currently have any NASes with NVMe slots so no recent experience of the hack.

☕
Thanks for the link. Just read it, and made a note/link in the KB Log in our CRM system (runs life and everything).
 
...and made a note/link in the KB Log in our CRM system (runs life and everything).

Impressive. What I actually envisage...

post-it.jpeg


:-p
 

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