A VMware vSphere cluster is nothing without shared storage. Most of the functions, like VMware HA or VMware vMotion (okay, vMotion is possible without shared storage), can only be used with a shared storage. The servers in my lab have Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBA), but buying an old and cheap Fibre Channel storage system wasn’t an option in my case. This left two options when choosing the right storage protocol: iSCSI or NFS. I tried to virtualize the local storage in my ProLiants with the HP StoreVirtual VSA and DataCore SANsymphony-V, but both were too complex for my needs and a lab environment. Because of this I decided to move the local storage into a small storage system and use iSCSI or NFS. I searched for a while for a suiteable system until Chris Wahl started blogging about the Synology DS414slim.
- First Glance: Synology’s Sleek New DS414slim
- New Home Lab Addition – Flash Powered Synology DS414slim and
- The DS414slim NAS as vSphere Lab Storage – Protocols, Performance, and Thoughts)
Like Chris, I’m a fan of NFS. His blog posts encouraged me that, the DS414slim would be a good choice. In addition, the DS414slim is relatively cheap (~ 250 € incl. taxes in Germany) and Chris showed, that the system can achieve a good performance when used with SSDs. Fortunately I already had three Crucial M550 SSDs (each with a capacity of 480 GB) and a single Seagate Momentus XT with a capacity of 500 GB, so I bought the DS414slim without disks.
I shot the DS414slim for ~ 250 € at the end of 2014. The price varies between 230 € and 260 € in Germany for model without disks.
The box contains the DS414slim itself, a stand, two patch cables, screws for the disk trays and a power supply. So it contains everything you need to bring the DS414slim to life.
The system is really small as you can see on this picture (take the2,5″ disks as reference). It goes without saying that you only can use 2,5″ hard disks.
The disks were quickly mounted into the disk trays, the needed screws are included. The initial setup is really easy. Simply power it on, open a browser and go to http://find.synology.com. My DS414slim was running DSM 4.1, but you can update the DSM during the installation process. Simply download DSM 5.1 at the Synology Download Center and provide the update file to the installer. The rest of the setup process is not very spectecular. I will not explain the installation process here in more detail – it’s too simple. :)
The next part of this series covers the network connectivity: vSphere Lab Storage: Synology DS414slim Part 2 – Networking.
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