Synology NAS can now use a SSD volume on Synology using NVMe slots. That’s if you have one of the supported models. What if you don’t have one of these hot new models ? 🙂
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What are the supported models that can be used as a SSD volume on Synology using NVMe slots
According to this KB article by Synology, these are the models as at November 2023 that can be used to create a SSD volume using the NVMe slots.
|23-series||DS1823xs+, DS923+, DS723+, DS423+|
|21-series1||DS1821+, DS1621xs+, DS1621+|
So what if you have a machine that obviously have two NVMe slots but not in the list above. You know my cute little Synology DS1520+ which has two slots just staring at me 🙂
The only official method of using these slots is just to use them as READ or READ/WRITE caching. To improve performance of your NAS (under certain circumstances). And there is always a risk of the volume crashing if the R/W cache failed.
And with the prices of these NVMe SSD dropping like mad, it is so tempting to want to ignore the official guideline of only allowing those models on the top of this article to be using the SSD volume on Synology using NVMe slots.
So came the usual hack… there is a hack in the Github called “Synology M2 Volume“. And it is this Github that I used to make my cute DS1520+ to run the two NVMe slots as a new volume.
Buying Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series – 1TB
So to start, I went to Amazon and choose two cheap Samsung 1TB SSD. I bought the Samsung 970 EVO Plus Series – 1TB pci_express_x4 NVMe – M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM).
It cost me $123 for two pieces after some promotion.
So they arrived pretty fast and then I fix them into the NVMe slots of the “unsupported” DS1520+.
Installing the Samsung 970 EVO with Synology DS1520+
Here they are with my DS1520+
The instructions are clear on how to open up the slots to install the EVO 🙂
That’s it…. u are ready for the next steps..
Installing the software for M2 Synology Volume
- You would go to the Github Repository to download the software at M2 Synology Volume. On the top right, there is a CODE button and you can then choose to download the ZIP file.
2. un-zip the zip file and you will really only want the one file, syno_create_m2_volume.sh.
3. You will now need to switch on SSH service in your Synology. This is done by going to DSM Desktop > Control Panel > Terminal & SNMP > Enable SSH
4. Next you need to “upload” the one file, “syno_create_m2_volume.sh” to a folder in the Synology. For example, I uploaded it to a folder called “temp” in my volume 1.
5. Now you need to use a SSH software to access the Synology and execute the commands. As I am using my MacBook Air, I am using Terminal in Mac OS. You will need to know the IP address of your Synology and the admin password to gain access.
And then execute the command “sudo -I /volume1/temp/syno_create_m2_volume.sh“.
Obviously this depends on where your file is located.
6. You can choose to do a DRYRUN test first. I did that as I was wondering how the process will work.
Nevertheless, it is really just a test if your system is ready to do the actual installation.
7. When you are (REALLY) ready, then you can run the actual installation. Run the same command again and this time, choose to start the real stuff.
After a while, you will see the “creating array” and a %.. slowly slowly from 0% to 100%… it takes a while…
And when all done, reboot the Synology…
Setting up the SSD volume on Synology
So now you want boot up successfully (pray), you should see that the system detected a new drive (yippee.. do a dance) and it is ready for your use..
Go to the Storage Manager to get going.. click on the “Available Pool 1”..
On the top right hand corner, click on “ONLINE ASSEMBLE” ..
So finally you will have a Storage Pool 2 for use….
The final step is then create a volume from this storage pool 2.
For example, I choose to use up the whole 1TB (I know we have two sticks of 1TB but because of RAID, it is just 1TB). I use 900GB of the 927GB available to create a new volume called “MyVault”….
I used Btrfs.. whatever that is..
You can choose to encrypt this volume if you need to. Some people believe it is pretty necessary if you are using it to keep “personal data” as it is much easier to remove the two sticks of NVME SSD sticks than the hard disks inside the Synology…. Your choice..
There you go.. you have a whole volume of SSD using the two NVME sticks in a Synology NOT SUPPORTED by Synology 🙂
One final step is to set up TRIM for this volume as it is a SSD volume.
All done now !! You can now proceed to use the new volume for whatever purposes. For example, you can set up a folder on it or a shared folder on it. You can use the shared folders set up on the new volume on the Synology Drive (which is like the Synology for Dropbox…. a cloud in the internet on your Synology..). I have since stopped using Dropbox and moved to Synology Drive for my cloud storage….
Now, if only life is so good.. but it is not so straightforward…
Because this method we discussed above is NOT SUPPORTED by Synology, there is no guarantee this will work for every DSM (the Synology Software) is updated. So my advice is whatever you are keeping in the Synology SSD volume, you should back up the data (Synology is NOT a backup !!). But then you are already doing that for your Synology data, right ? Your videos, your music and your prawns 🙂
DSM update causing Issues to Your SSD volume
From the software writer : “If you later update DSM and your M.2 drives are shown as unsupported and the storage pool is shown as missing, and online assemble fails, you need to run the Synology_HDD_db script. The Synology_HDD_db script should run after every DSM update.”
I deliberately did not write this article till I have chance to hit a DSM update that affected this SSD volume. A few DSM small updates came and go and nothing happens. Till I got so complacent 🙂
And then it hit.. for the latest update, DSM 7.2.1-69057 Update 2…
I got this message on my phone when the updates were completed:
When I logged into DSM, I can see that the volume is completely not recognised…
Clicking on the ONLINE ASSEMBLE is the first step I took but it did NOT work..
So no choice, you have to do the fix as recommended by “M2 Synology Volume”.
Go back to the web site, and this time, you download the Synology_HDD_db script at https://github.com/007revad/Synology_HDD_db.
You will again need to
- Download the ZIP file but you really only interested in this file: syno_hdd_db.sh
- Copy (upload) this file to your Synology folder again
- SSH into your Synology using Terminal in Macbook
- Run the syno_hdd_db.sh script
- To be exact, the exact command is “sudo -i /path-to-script/syno_hdd_db.sh -nr“
- Wait for the script to complete its execution
- Reboot the server
And all will be good. You will NOT lose your data inside the volume. The volume was just not recognised by the DSM operating system and the above steps will fix that.
All good 🙂
Conclusion on SSD volume on Synology using NVMe
This article talks about how to use an un-supported hack to use the NVMe slots provided in many Synology models that are not set up by Synology to be used as a separate volume (a storage volume).
To me this works pretty well for about 1/2 year since I used it and the latest DSM update did caused an issue but that was pretty easy to recover from.
All goooood 🙂