Need help from experienced virtual machine users on Synology

Hello all,
I’m new to this forum but not so new to Synology NAS.

I have a question for those experienced ones about setting up new server in the office.

Office setup now:

  1. HP Enterprise Server, Xeon E3-1225 v5@3.30GHz, 16GB RAM, 2x SSD 980GB RAID1
  • File sharing for 20 office users
  • Hosting Pantheon accountant software with 3 users
  • Hosting BBM accountant software with 9 users
  1. DS918+
  • File sharing for 20 office users and 80 offsite offices via WebDAV
  • Active Backup for Business - 20 PC’s and Mac’s and one server
  1. Windows 10 Home PC
  • Hosting Western Union Voyager program

I was thinking about replacing it all with RS3621xs+ and setting it up as:

  • File Sharing for all users on DSM
  • Active Backup for Business for all computers
  • VM Windows 11 Pro hosting both accountant programs and WU Voyager

I would keep DS918+ for backing up RS3621xs+

Does anyone have some experience with similar setup who could tell me how useful are Windows VM-s on Synology servers. I really wouldn’t like to set it all up just to figure out VM-s are slow and useless.

Sorry if I missed a topic or if there is a similar one. I was searching for it but couldn’t find it.

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Hi there

I had a similar starting point with customers usually running setups similar to

  • 2 or more dual-cpu servers with Raid5 systems running Hyper-V for the usual VMs:
  • Domain Controller
  • Print Server
  • File Server
  • SQL Server for ERP System
  • SQL Server running VEEAM for backup
    The customers wanted faster systems and were ready to replace the old servers (while keeping the ERP systems). We as sysadmins were fed up with VEEAM as it was such a pain with corrupted backup chains.

So we opted for a change and started small:

Veeam was replaced by ABB which required the 1st NAS. Then we understood how you can protect yourself against ransomware with BRTFS and snapshots. Then we went for off-site backups with snapshot replication which usually led to the 2nd and 3rd NAS.
Over the years we used ABB for backup and for me personally, ABB+Snapshot Replication is by far the best plattform for small to mid-seized companies.

In hindsight the performance bottleneck were never the servers but the network. A properly tuned Windows/Linux file server will always beat a Synology NAS. But as the performance never arrived at the desk of my clients the “low performance of Synology NAS systems” was not relevant.
So we kept the old servers that now are running VMs for PDC (AD, DNS, DHCP), Print Server and SQL. Having eliminated the storage role significantly reduced the workload on the servers. Having a sound backup and good smart monitoring ( we inserted PCIe NVMe adapters and we got realy responsive servers a very low cost.

The money saved on licenses for backup software was then invested into 10G network equipment (check the Unifi XG24 24*RJ45 10G @ 1300USD) which had a huge impact on the user experience.

Back then a typical low-budget setup for an office with 20-50 clients were 2-3 DS1520+/DS1522+ as file & ABB servers. Default HDDs are Seagate EXOS 16TBs which for the last 2 years didn’t cause any issues. We recently bough a some DS1823xs+ and were very pleasently surprised of the significantly increased performance. I consider the DS1823xs+(same CPU, 110G. 8bays) a slightly downgraded FS2500 (210G, 12 bays).

With a given budget I would rather invest in 2-3 smaller models - mostly DS+ models as they digest almost any HDD you throw on them. Multiple NAS allow to set up (immutable) snap-shot replications which are huge life savers. Starting from DS16xx you can add PCIe 10G NICs which allows for HA solutions. You can install Central Management to have a single dashbord for monitoring and policy management (TIME SYNC between AD and all NAS)

Also, with multiple NAS you can better partition them to specific jobs

  • All SSD btrfs NAS for VMs (prefereably with original Synology SSD)
  • All HDD ext4 NAS for Surveillance Station
  • All HDD btrfs NAS for ABB (3rd party HDDS)

I did not have good experience with Synology Directory Server (AD and AD Forest version 2008) on smaller DS units as they did not seem to properly handle GPOs. Seen the good performance of the DS1823xs+ I have no problems using it as host for a virtual PDC. Seeing that your currenty set-up only has 16GB Ram I would expect the accounting software to run nicely too. But separate your server roles on different VMs.

In your situation I would take a smaller unit (DS1622+/DS1822+) with Synology SSDs (Raid1 2x 1TB) and virtualize the ERP system. If it works buy the DS1823xs+ (Raid 5 with 3x 1TB) and migrate to this system. Use the other NAS for ABB (the more bays the better). Use the DS918+ for Off-site backup to the biggest branch office and setup shared folder sync. Max out RAM on all System. Buy 2/3 16/18/20TB drives for HDD to extend your snapshot chain and add disks when capacity > 60%

If you end with 2 identical boxes where the RAM is not soldered to the MCB you could transfer the Synology RAM from the replication box to the main box, max out the replication box with 3rd party RAM and save some more money.


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Hi @Stephan_Angele,

thank You very much for very detailed answer. That was something I was looking for.

I’m glad that You confirmed some of my thoughts and my way of seeing how our office should look like. My intention is to get one RS3621xs+ with 32GB RAM for starters and put in existing HDD’s from DS918+. That should migrate just fine and keep most of the settings.

That old volume I would like to keep for ABB as it already has around 18TB of backups.

I will like to put in some more HDD’s for File Share volume and some SSD’s for VM volume.
As for VM I will have three of them. Two for accounting software and one for hosting WU Voyager. Maybe later we would need new DC which then I can put in new VM.

User CAL license price is really big thing when we are talking about M$ Server 2xxx and this way I would avoid that expense.

As for DS918+ I will put in four 18TB HDD’s for ABB+Replication.

Thanks again for Your help,


Hi Filipp

You migjt ask your local synology organization for a trial device. We had some good experiances with their sales support. Go through their contact form on the homepage and ask for a sales guy.

I would keep the ABB and VMM on separate machines so you do not run into performance issues on you VMs.

918+ for ABB on client computers is good. Plan for 1-2h bare metal restore process for an 250GB w10 office client over 1GBE. But since they are not mission critical this is no problem. I have 50 clients on a DS1522+ with 5× 16TB at 60% capacity. Your bottleneck will be the network interface of the DS918 as you have only 2x 1GBE. This limits the number of parallel backup/replication jobs.

ABB VM backup can be done on the big machine and then replicated to the 918+. CHECK THE LICENCING OF VMM if you need to consider VMM PRO.

If you transfer disks from the DS918+ to the RS3621xs+ you will get non-compability warnings. For an enterprise solution i would not do this. So you need to consider data migration from rhe DS918+ to RS3621xs+

While you can not officially create SHR pools on xs+ models you can use them when you transfer you SHR pool from the DS918+ to the RS3621xs+.
I’m still goofing around with my DS1823xs+ and have not yet compared performance of SHR vs Raid5.

If your current setup does not run on Btrfs the next points are not relevant but i can offer some lessons learned on ABB+Snapshots.

The point of snapshots is to have a snapshot chain.
SSR does only transfer NEW snapshots. This limits the use of SSR (and Hyperbackup) as migration tools.

Synology migration assistant copies the old system at bit level to the new system. BUT DURING MIGRATION SERVICES ARE DOWN AND THE COPY PROCESS TAKES AGES. And I think to recall that SMB was among the disabled servicess too. For a DS1522+ with 5x 16TB it took 7+ days on 4x 1g LACP aggregated network.
This is not a suitable way for plattforms that run Line Of Business stuff.

By far the easiest way is to simply maintain the volume and replace disk by disk with the bigger drives. Then you can take the whole disk pool and put it in the new nas.
Make a local hyberbackups of apps and dsm settings and you can very quickly restore the dsm settings on the new plattform too (mode 2 reset). But the resulting volume is still SHR and not Raid5.

I would just leave expanded the pool in the old nas and do only the sync of new snapshots to the new nas for redundancy. Having the recent snapshot on the big nas allows you to restore the backup on VMM as virtual machine. Also a bare metal recovery from the RS3621xs+ should be faster than from DS918+ but will be still limited by the 1GBE NIC of the desktop machine.

Summing up the above points - find and quantify our bottke necks first. Check if the RS3621xs+ actually addresses these bottle necks. You could also buy 2 smaller stations, use them only as file servers and ABB and replace the server for pure VM hosting.