Speed optimisations - how to make file access faster?

Firstly - thanks for your YouTube channel - I have learned a lot.

One area that could be addresses is optimisation.

I have recently implemented a DS1515+ to be used as file server for 3 Mac users. This is my first time using a NAS and have always used Dell servers. The software is great - so much easier than setting everything up by hand, but we are struggling with performance.

As mentioned we are using Macs - all fairly modern. We have tried using AFP and SMB to connect to the server. We switched to AFP as we were getting a lot of server disconnects. SMB seems a little more stable, but maybe even slower.

We have added a SSD cache drive, but this did not make any real difference. We have not upgraded the RAM - but the system never reports the RAM usage as going above 40%

Any ideas on how we can make file access faster would be great. I do also have access to a DS718+ with a DX513 which is just used for Plex - we could swap over if that would make a big difference?

are you running btrfs and pinning the metadata to the ssd cache?

So there are about 8 billion things that this could be, but where I would start is this video:

I would move off of AFP unless you have to have it. MacOS is dropping support for it, and you could end up with some real issues. Better to pull the band-aid off sooner rather than later. The only reason that I leave clients with AFP is where they have folders with thousands of files / folders in them. Loading a list of thousands of files just takes a long time with SMB due to the way the protocol was written.

What are the performance issues you are running into? Is it navigating / opening files. Or is it copying large files?

Thanks for your response, Since I posted I did find 2 more of your videos, the one you linked to and the Max speed one.

So far I assume it must be a network issue, My M1 Max Mini is only getting 11MB/S write and 8.7MB/s read - this was tested when no one else was on the network. The Mac is connected via CAT6 to a cheap Netgear switch, which has CAT6 to another Netgear, which connects to the NAS - so it is a head scratcher. I will try to replace switches and see if I can get any decent throughput.

Thanks again!

So first check and make sure that wifi is off on that! it may be using wifi

Mac’s don’t switch nicely between wifi and wired connections for LAN traffic. The SMB client on a Mac doesn’t not use the network service order settings so even if you have Wired as the preferred network, it will remember what it used last and use that. To explicitly tell it to use Wired, I have to turn my wifi off. Really frustrating and others on Reddit have said he same problem.

Yes! Whatever connection you use to connect to the NAS each time (when you actually mount the SMB share) MacOS will stick to. If it dies (i.e. turning wifi off) the mac will try to fail over to the fastest remaining connection!

Yes which is unfortunate. If I connect on Wifi then plug in a wired connection on the same network, it would be nice if MacOs automatically used the faster connection but it doesn’t. This happens seamlessly on Windows.

I did disable the wifi on this machine a few days ago to test this - but of course it is good to have wifi enabled for other features.

I plan to eliminate the network and put a cable from the Mac to the DS1515+

What would be handy is to have some idea of what data speeds other people get from a similar aged unit.

Even if they were on Wifi, I’d expect much better speeds. I get a solid 100-120MBps when transferring large files to/from my NAS on Wifi. I don’t really plug in. I will when I get my 10GB Switch and need to transfer at 10GB.

How fast are your transfers via Wifi? What WAP do you have?

Are your network cables decent quality? I’ve seen terrible network stability and performance in the past come down to cheap network cables that weren’t terminated correctly or weren’t actually a standard.

Thanks for your responses.

I now have wifi turned off on all the Macs that I am testing.

I have spent a few days running tests - but have not made much progress.

I currently have the network stripped down to the bare basics:

Brand new 1Gig Netgear switch
|–MacBook Air with 2.5G Anker USB C network adapter.

The NAS has been restarted and tests where run when it was ‘quiet’ low CPU load / low memory - not background tests.

When I run tests I get about 100Mb - but I assume that I should be getting more than that?

As another test - I plugged the Mac directly in to the NAS - I still only got 100Mb. Is this the best I should expect or is my 1515+ misconfigured/faulty?

I used BlackMagic Speed tests.

100MB/s is what you should expect from gigabit ethernet, 1000MB/s from 10gbe. You could get as high as 125MB/s theoretically but it is usually not for the entire duration of a transfer. What is your expectation of speeds?

Maybe I was hoping for a little more than was realistic.

When I first setup I was getting 10MB/s - now all the computers are getting over 100MB/s and the wifi is getting getting 35MB/s - so I guess I should be happy.

Thanks everyone for your help.

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Curious if there has been any update to the conversation about WIFI. With Widgets you can only get your local weather with WIFI on. When I have WIFI on I notice that my connection will sometimes revert to WIFI it appears. I don’t quite understand how it can go over WIFI without a dongle on the NAS. Is there any setting that will enable me to leave WIFI on and have my 10gb port control the connection?

Thanks. Michael