ROON Server on Synology DS1815+
review


                                                       by Maarten van Druten      28-7-2018



 

Disclaimer:


This article is about my personal experiences with my own Synology DS1815 + NAS.
I share my experiences, but I take no responsibility for any damage that may arise from following the steps in this article.
Upgrading the memory will void the Synology NAS warranty.
so be warned!

 

 
NAS or DAS?


In my earlier article I have explained why DAS storage (Direct Attached Storage) is much, much faster then NAS (Network Attached Storage)
For streaming High resolution audio and big SACD.ISO or DSF files a DAS server is preferable over a NAS.
 
DAS has less latency, it's much faster but it also has an disadvantage: because your server has to be located close to your DAC.
And therefore your DAS streamer has to be quiet, and passive cooled.
Creating a optimized quiet, fast streamer/PC is a specialistic work, not everybody is able to build his/her own streamer from separate parts.
 
But not everybody wants to stream DSD, some Audiophiles prefer PCM audio over DSD.
When I was surfing the internet I noticed that there was also a ROON Server version that could be installed on the Synology NAS!
 
If this could work, then this would be very convenient because this way, you need only your NAS and a ROON certified endpoint (Roon Bridge) to stream high resolution audio.
No big PC any more in your living room.
 
I already had given up all hope about my slow Synology NAS, but then I also noticed on YouTube that some people succeeded to upgrade their Synology DS1815+ NAS from 2 GB to 16 GB of memory!
That's a big difference.
Because my warranty of my NAS was already overdue, I decided to upgrade my NAS and see how ROON Server will run on my NAS.
 
My my expectations were low, because my earlier experiences were not very good with the network performance of my NAS.
 
 So I created an upgrade plan for my NAS:
 
 1 - First upgrade the storage capacity by adding two more hard disks
 2 - Then upgrade the memory from 2 GB to 16 GB
 3 - Then add a SSD to install ROON Server on SSD (instead of the hard disk volume)
 4 - Then add another SSD that will be used as SSD cache for the storage pool




Upgrade my NAS with more harddisks


My Synology DS1815+ had four 6 TB hard disks in SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid)
I decided to add two more hard disks of 6 TB to extend to total storage capacity
The reason that I have chosen for SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid) is that you extend your volume with adding extra hard disks, without that you have to move your data to another NAS.
You cannot do this with a Raid 5 or 6 volume!
If you have Raid 5, you first have to copy all of your data to another NAS, extend your Raid and then copy everything back again....
With SHR you don't have this problems
Just add the extra hard disks, Open Storage Manager.
Select the storage pool you wish to expand. Then click Add Disk from the Action drop-down menu.
Select the drives with which you wish to expand the storage pool.
Follow the steps of the wizard to finish.


The disks have been added (Disk 5 and 6) the volume is now expanding

This take a long time! it can even take one of two days!



 



The volume is now expanded till 27 TB storage
I still have two harddisks slots empty on my NAS.

 

Upgrade the memory

Originally my Synology DS1815+ NAS had a 2 GB memory module in the internal memory bank.
But the Synology DS1815+ has two memory banks.
In the manual was written that you only could upgrade with 4 GB extra, resulting in 6 GB total memory.
But other people managed to place two 8 GB modules in their Synology DS1815+ NAS resulting in 16 GB memory, and that's a lot...
 
After some research I decided to buy these memory modules:


I used this memory kit: 16 GB KIT (2 X 8 GB)

 



2-8GB DDR3L - 1600 SODIMM 1.35V CL11
"CT2C8G3S160BMCEU" on the memory is written: "CT8G3S160BM.C16FND"
I can confirm that this module works in the Synology DS1815 +





Important: before installing the new memory modules all hard disks have to be removed
Other wise you cannot access the internal side memory module.
Therefore it's wise to number all harddisks first, because  after the memory upgrade the disks have to be placed on the exactly the same slot again.
Otherwise your SHR Raid volume could get damaged if the disks are not be placed in same slot





Placing memory in outside memory bank, is easy but replacing the internal memory bank is much more difficult...
 

You can see the hole is very small, you have very little space for your fingers...
I managed to place them by unscrewing the motherboard, so I could move the motherboard a little bit
creating just that extra space needed to insert the 8GB memory module

Pfff...the most difficult part has been done, now insert all the hard disks on the right place and turn up the power in the hope the NAS will accept the extra memory...

Succes! total physical memory is 16 GB!

This is more then enough to run most software, the next step is to make your NAS even faster by adding a SSD were you can install your Synology application on.
 



Add a SSD for installing applications

Your Synology NAS has two more options to boost the performance
One is to add a SSD were you install your software on (packages)
A SSD is much fast then a harddisk, so this upgrade will make a big difference.

One interesting thing I found out is, that the Synology DS1815+ NAS was always a fast NAS for running applications. (databases)

This is a good thing because ROON Server has also a database, so after installing a SSD for applications only, I installed ROON Server on this disk.



Install another SSD for "SSD Cache"
 

I also installed another SSD that I used for "SSD Cache"
Synology supports two different "SSD Cache" options.
One is for "read only", that I'm going to use, for this option one SSD disk is enough.
But if you want SSD cache for "read and write", than you need two SSD's.
I had only one hard disk slot free, and I wanted only SSD cache for "read"
so I placed a SSD in my last free hard disk slot of my NAS.
Then I activated in the Synology software the option "SSD Cache"
 
One big advantage is that the Synology operating software has many possibilities and everything works immediately, as you would expect
Everybody can do this, you don't have to be a computer expert :-)



Conclusion:
 

After all this work the most important questions are: And how did it sound?
was it worth all the work? and is the performance faster then before?
After running ROON Server for some months now, I I have to take back my previous statements about the NAS
Because it works like a dream, browsing my music collection with ROON Remote installed on my new Ipad 2018 is very fast.
Even just as fast then using my bigger and more powerfull Audio Dandy DAS streamer.
I think the fact that ROON Server is much lighter then the full version of ROON is the cause of this.
 
ROON always advised to use ROON Server with ROON Bridge/Endpoints and ROON Remote for the best audio experience.
And now I can confirm this.
 
ROON Server works as dream on the Synology DS1815+ with 16 GB of memory, and a separate SSD for applications (=ROON Server) and a extra SSD for cache.
 
I liked it so much that I'm using this solution more often than my older Audio Dandy DAS streamer...
 
Even playing back DSD256 is no problem on the Synology DS1815+


 

Also it sounds very good, I didn't encountered any problems at all after my several months testing.

So if you have a Synology DS1815+ and you are willing to take the risks, you can create a perfect high resolution streaming solution.
 
You only need a Ipad for ROON Remote and a ROON certified endpoint/bridge
an off you go.
 
Highly recommended!





               
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