I’ve been asked several times how and why I setup my home lab to use NFS on my Synology NAS and thought a post detailing the steps would be best. First the why, when I purchased my Synology DS412+ about two years I recall seeing several people stating NFS was out performing iSCSI (like this post) on the Synology. It was strictly from reading other peoples findings that I started with NFS and have continued to use NFS without any issue. In fact I’ve been very happy with my DS412+ in a RAID 10 setup.
How I setup NFS on the Synology for my ESXi homelab is pretty simple as well.
Synology released DSM 5.1-5021 update as well as Cloud Station 3.1-3320 today. This update includes all the updates since 5.1-5004 as well as fixes for a number of vulnerabilities in PHP, OpenVPN, and other security improvements. DSM 5.1-5004 also improves Amazon S3 backup stability along with a number of other fixes and improvements.
In the recent DSM update (5.1), Synology added VMware VAAI support for NFS volumes using two primitives which are Full File Clone and Reserve Space. What do these VAAI primitives offer?
Full File Clone enables virtual disks to be cloned by the NAS albeit while the machine is powered off.
Reserve Space allows you can create a thick VMDK file. However Reserve Space does not off-load the work to the array. The benefit of thick VMDKs is that many use eager-zero for high I/O performance needs.
On the Synology side of things you just need to update to DSM 5.1, but in order to take advantage of VAAI you still need to install the VIB plugin on your ESXi 5.5 hosts.
I’ve been using the default setup on my Synology DS412+ with HTTPS enabled for a while now but knew it really wasn’t all that secure without a proper SSL certificate and creating a self-signed certificated isn’t all the much better and can be easily forged. I decided it was about time I used a “real” certificate to better secure the NAS.
Prerequisites before starting
You need to own a domain name, for example MikeTabor.com and be able to receive email from the domain name. If you don’t already have a webhost for the domain, I’d suggest BlueHost.
After performing my home lab upgrade, ESXi now runs from a USB stick and because of that vSphere would complain that the system logs where on non-persistent storage:
If I wanted I could have ran the vCenter Server Appliance (vCSA) as it comes with it’s own syslog server, or I could have used something like KIWI or Splunk to be my syslog server. I instead went the route of my Synology NAS as it too has the ability to act as a syslog server and these are the steps I performed to setting it up.
In the past I’ve been using a single server to run my VMware ESXi home lab. it was slow, old, big and loud. I’ve been meaning to upgrade my home lab for a while and just never got around to it, until now! When looking for new hardware I wanted the servers to be as compact as possible, quiet, and low energy usage as possible while still having some horsepower.
I debated on going the whitebox solution as I build all my own desktops anyway, I also looked at several other solutions such as the HP ML310e server, Shuttle XH61V barebones machine, but ultimately decided to go with two Intel NUC i5’s.
Intel NUC i5 DC53427HYE Features:
Uses very little energy
Supports up to 16GB RAM
A dual core CPU that scores nearly 3,600 in PassMark benchmarking
Includes vPro which allows me to easily run both NUC’s headless
Extremely small, nearly 4 1/2″ inch square footprint