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Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

jimk1963
Luminary

Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

My RN528x is configured with 8x4TB Toshiba HDD's. Product arrived preconfigured with X-RAID, which chose a RAID 6 configuration. System reports about 21TB usable out of 32TB. I've only loaded up 2TB so far, but already I'm annoyed with the sound of spinning disks. Also, although the 10GbE interface is fast, I suspect SSD's would speed this product up further. After a lot of research, I'm unable to find simple answers to the following, please help:

1) Will replacing 1 or more HDD's with SSD speed up performance? Especially write speed

2) In order to see an SSD benefit, how many SSDs MINIMUM do I need to swap in?

3) Can I swap in SSD(s) to act as cache, or only what I guess is NTGR's proprietary "tiering"? How many SSD's do I need for this???

4) RN528x motherboard contains an SSD slot on its backside, unpopulated. I wonder - if I populated that slot wth the m.2 SATA III SSD, would the motherboard use that SSD as cache? Or would it just be ignored? I'm no Linux expert, so if the answer has to do with some kind of invasive OS inspection, it might be over my head

 

Currently with ATTO I can see read speeds up to about 1 GB/s and read speeds up to about 500 MB/s. However, the speeds in both directions are highly variable, depending on file size. I have Jumbo packets enabled (on PC, 10GbE switch, and RN528x), and what I notice is that big files are fast and tiny files take forever. Maybe there is some "tuning" I should consider for mixed-size media... another topic maybe.

Model: RN528X|ReadyNAS 528X - Premium Performance Business Data Storage - 8-Bay
Message 1 of 13
StephenB
Guru

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X


@jimk1963 wrote:

1) Will replacing 1 or more HDD's with SSD speed up performance? Especially write speed

2) In order to see an SSD benefit, how many SSDs MINIMUM do I need to swap in?


Generally speaking, your RAID performance would be limited by the slowest disks in the array.  So this would not be a good strategy.

 


@jimk1963 wrote:

3) Can I swap in SSD(s) to act as cache, or only what I guess is NTGR's proprietary "tiering"? How many SSD's do I need for this???

Your options are to use ReadyTier, or to re-build your system so it has two independent volumes (for instance, a RAID-1 SSD volume and a RAID-5 or RAID-6 mechanical disk volume).  Either way you'll need to destroy the existing volume (and reload the data).

 

For ReadyTier, you should have RAID redundancy, so you'd need two SSDs.  They wouldn't need to match the size of the mechanical disks.

 

FWIW, I haven't seen many posts here from ReadyTier users.  Hopefully some will chime in.

 


@jimk1963 wrote:

 

4) RN528x motherboard contains an SSD slot on its backside, unpopulated. I wonder - if I populated that slot wth the m.2 SATA III SSD, would the motherboard use that SSD as cache? Or would it just be ignored? 

 


There's been a couple of other folks here who've wondered about using that slot.  But I haven't seen anything from someone who has used it.  I'd be surprised if the ReadyNAS software uses it automatically.

 

I doubt that the slot will take m.2 SATA though.  More likely it is nvme. 

Message 2 of 13
adorso87
Tutor

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X


@jimk1963 wrote:

4) RN528x motherboard contains an SSD slot on its backside, unpopulated. I wonder - if I populated that slot wth the m.2 SATA III SSD, would the motherboard use that SSD as cache? Or would it just be ignored? I'm no Linux expert, so if the answer has to do with some kind of invasive OS inspection, it might be over my head


I have an RN524X, I pulled the back panel off and sure enough I found an unpopulated M.2 connector and an unused PCI-e X4 slot. I populated the M.2 with an Intel 660p nvme and booted the machine back up. After getting into the backend of the unit I clicked on every tab, every link, on every page and could not find the nvme drive anywhere. I would say that the M.2 slot is for a wifi connection, a way for your phone to connect to it with better range than bluetooth. As for the PCI-e slot I would say it's for future proofing the unit and cannot be accessed just yet. This was checked on the 6.10.1 firmware. I attached photos of backside of the board these features are on the RN524X, RN526X and the RN528X. Netgear what are they for!?

 

 

Message 3 of 13
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

Did you try looking for the SSD via SSH?

 

Are you saying there is another PCI slot that's not for the 10GBE?  I know older NAS like the RN516 have one that's for that (when the board is configured for an RN716x).  I doubt is is somehow "deactivated", but you likely would need a riser card to use it.

Message 4 of 13
StephenB
Guru

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X


@adorso87 wrote: After getting into the backend of the unit I clicked on every tab, every link, on every page and could not find the nvme drive anywhere.

 


I'm not suprised at that.  I think you'd likely need to manually format the drive and mount it (from ssh).

Message 5 of 13
jimk1963
Luminary

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

There is no SSD drive in the 528, only an empty slot. Original question was whether populating this slot would accomplish anything. 

Message 6 of 13
StephenB
Guru

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

Understood, and @adorso87 said he tried it putting an SSD in that slot.  He then found that nothing changed in the web ui - though it's conceivable the added nvme SSD could still be used by the NAS if it were manually formatted and mounted with ssh.

Message 7 of 13
adorso87
Tutor

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X


@StephenB wrote:

though it's conceivable the added nvme SSD could still be used by the NAS if it were manually formatted and mounted with ssh.


 

I'm not familure with SSH, if you have any info for me to give it a try link it for me and I'll see if I can get it to work. In the end the drive wouldn't be able to do much, cacheing on ReadyNAS isn't worth the extra expense.

 

 

 

 

Message 8 of 13
fm365
Aspirant

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

I have an RN424 , and  tried to insert the nvme disk into m.2 slot,and restart readynas , then login ReadyOS via SSH , did not found out anything about this nvme disk:

root@readynas:~# lsblk
NAME    MAJ:MIN RM  SIZE RO TYPE  MOUNTPOINT
sda       8:0    0  1.8T  0 disk
├─sda1    8:1    0    4G  0 part
│ └─md0   9:0    0    4G  0 raid1 /
├─sda2    8:2    0  512M  0 part
└─sda3    8:3    0  1.8T  0 part
sdb       8:16   0  1.8T  0 disk
├─sdb1    8:17   0    4G  0 part
├─sdb2    8:18   0  512M  0 part
└─sdb3    8:19   0  1.8T  0 part
sdc       8:32   0  2.7T  0 disk
├─sdc1    8:33   0    4G  0 part
├─sdc2    8:34   0  512M  0 part
└─sdc3    8:35   0  1.8T  0 part
root@readynas:~#

 

And I googled this m.2 slot what it should be used for ,  and did not found out any useful information.

Model: RN424|ReadyNAS 424 – High-performance Business Data Storage - 4-Bay
Message 9 of 13
pepsov
Star

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

Just my 2 cents here:

 

First, on the M.2 slot:

If the RN528X has implemented the M.2 slot on the back of the MB the same way as the RN526X did, then the slot is wired as SATA-only (no PCIe lanes, so no NVMe, alas!)

It is routed to an on-board 2-channel Marvel 88SE9170 SATA chip, which also drives the eSATA on the back of the unit. The main 6 disks in the 526 are driven by the on-chip 6-channel SATA controller built into the Xeon D1508 SoC.

 

I'm curious how the extra 2 SATA channels are implemented on the RN528X - is there a second 88SE9170 on the MB, or did they use a 4-channel SATA chip - 88SE9215, 88SE9235, 88SE9345,... ?

 

Second, on the use of that M.2 slot:

I've added a SATA-III  M.2 SSD  (Transcend TS128GMTS400) in that slot, which I chose mostly for its length (42mm), so that I didn't have to risk moving the securing nut on the MB to the 600mm position, and I can attest that it works fine. It is NOT recognized by ReadyNAS OS in any way on the web-interface. It does not show up in the configuration options at all. My main use of this SSD is to speed up the RAID-1 that hosts the root filesystem, by manually adding a partition from the SSD to the RAID-1, and then marking all spinning disks' partitions as 'write-mostly'. That gives me the double benefit of read speed, which is now SSD-like, and of not having to wait for my system disks to spin up from powersave - the SSD is there immediately serving my commands, while the (write-mostly) HDDs are waking up. Makes for a really responsive system!

 

Thirdly, I wanted to report that the PCIe x8 slot on the MB is fully functional, albeit in an awkward position (retreated about an inch back), so one can use it for internal PCIe cards with any 90-degrees x8 PCIe riser card (I'm using one from a SuperMicro server). But you need a special offset one if you want to have the connectors plate of a the card bolted to the low-profile PCIe opening on the back of the unit. I searched long, and never found such an offset riser - maybe NETGEAR never produced it? Anyone knowing more about it?

I've plugged a 4-channel SATA card (88SE9235) without the mounting bracket into mine, and am going to try adding 4 regular 2.5" SSDs in the box, to use them for Data Tiering. 
Not sure if ReadyNAS OS 6.10 will recognize them and use them at all.

I'll report back when I know more. 

 

root@RN526X:~# lspci|grep SATA
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 8 Series/C220 Series Chipset Family 6-port SATA Controller 1 [AHCI mode] (rev 05)
01:00.0 SATA controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88SE9235 PCIe 2.0 x2 4-port SATA 6 Gb/s Controller (rev 11)
05:00.0 SATA controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. Device 9170 (rev 13)

 

 

Model: RN526X|ReadyNAS 526X – 6 Bays with up to 60TB total storage
Message 10 of 13
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

Interesting.  I've played around with adding cards to the rack-mount varieties (RN4200V2, RD5200, RN4220), and the card always "reserves" the slot for Drive 1.  So a 12-bay NAS has what should be drive 1 show up as drive 2, 2 shows as 3, and so on down the line.  The drives attached ot the added card are not visible to the GUI, but work fine once an MDADM RAID and BTRFS file system are created and mounted via SSH.  From there, the GUI works fine with that volume.

 

Interestingly, RAIDar shows all the drives, so the GUI sems to be intentionally ignoring them because they don't "fit" into the NAS model definition.

 

I used a couple different SAS HBA's, not SATA, so I'll be interested in what you find.

 

Message 11 of 13
pepsov
Star

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

The order in which drives are discovered is determind by the order in which the controllers are discovered by the kernel during OS boot. In many cases this order follows the PCI slot numbering, and on-board controllers usually show up before expansion cards, because the PCI bus enumerates on-board devices with lower numeric IDs than the ones in expansion slots. But this is not always the case (and also the PCI IDs may be given in a different order by the BIOS), and it may even change between different ways of booting the machine - for example if the kernel  loads the device driver for a given SAS controller at a later stage in the boot process, then the disks connected to that controller will show up later than the disks connected to a controller whose driver was loaded earlier.

 

That probably explains your observation of disk-order changes when additional SAS controllers were plugged in the system.

Model: RN526X|ReadyNAS 526X – 6 Bays with up to 60TB total storage
Message 12 of 13
Sandshark
Sensei

Re: Add SSD drive(s) to RN528X

Yes, the way they are discovered by the underlying Linux system is that way.  But the way the OS treats them may well be quite different.

 

On my RD5200 running OS6, drive discovery is by column, lower left to upper right.  Lower left drive is sda, one above it sdb, ,and one in upper right is sdl.  But the OS labels them by row, top left to bottom right -- drive 1 is upper left, drive 2 to it's right, and drive 12 in lower rignt.  Those are all on the onboard SAS controller and a SAS expander backplane (that's how Netgear built them).

 

My RN4200 runing OS6 has the Linux sda, sdb, etc. in the same order as the OS shows them on the RD5200.  Drives 1-4 are connected to the onboard SATA ports 1-4 (with 5 and 6 empty) and drives 5-12 are on the two onboard SAS ports with direct SAS/SATA cabling (that's how Netgear built those, even though the motherboard is essentially the same as the RD5200).

 

So, what you see (or don't) in the OS may not be the same as shows up in the underlying Linux.

 

BTW, nothng above drive 12 shows up on either in the GUI.

 

Message 13 of 13
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