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Emby server on external SSD question


jsc1205
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jsc1205

Is there any possible way to use an external SSD for the Emby server?  I have a Synology DS918+ with expansion unit but they do not support an external drives showing up as volume.  Thanks for any work arounds anyone might know of.

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Happy2Play

Moved to Synology section as fellow users will be able to answer better.

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On 7/14/2022 at 2:37 PM, jsc1205 said:

Is there any possible way to use an external SSD for the Emby server?  I have a Synology DS918+ with expansion unit but they do not support an external drives showing up as volume.  Thanks for any work arounds anyone might know of.

What do you mean the expansion unit doesn't show up as a volume?  If it's a Synology expansion unit you can add these drives to your current volume or create a new volume for these disks.  I would not advise adding external drives to the internal volumes.  By setting up a second/new volume the internals are one pool and the external are their own pool which keeps thing safer if a cable gets bumped or knocked out.  That way the whole volume goes off line taking one volume out but doesn't influence the internal volume. Hook it back up and you're normally fine unlike if you half a volume disappear which can lead to more serious issues to fix.

If this is the 3rd party expansion box connected via usb3 or eSata the drives will show up individually and the GUI won't allow you to make a volume out of them.  But you can still create a pool from them with a single volume using BTRFS as well as use compression and deduplication as well. Compression can be quite useful but deduplication in general is a bad idea unless you know just how to use it and have the memory and muscle to use it which most consume NAS boxes don't have. I only mention this to show that you can setup the disks as a pool/volume with all options but the setup needs to be done from the command line as Synology reserves the GUI setup for it's own hardware. :)

Adding one external drive is very easy to do and like above can be managed from the GUI as a single drive but not added or combined with other drives unless you do it from the command line which wouldn't apply here.

I've connected single drives via eSata as well as front and back USB3 ports.  I've had 3 USBS hubs with 4 drives attached to each all plugged in and it's works fine (as single drives).
Synology NASes handle external drives just fine with the exception of doing multiplexing via eSata which they seem don't support unless it's their hardware.

If you connect spinning rust drives you have supply power for the drives.  If you connect SSDs the USB3 ports will power the SSD just fine so no external power is required which is a nice.
eSata requires the drive have it's own power supplied.

In your particular case you are likely using the eSATA interface for the external chassis so USB3 would be the way to go. Now the downside to using USB3 is the raw port speed for the USB3 type A port is 5Gbps vs SATA/eSATA at 6Gbps so it's a slower interface but there is also overhead due to the bridge chip needed to interpret the ATA protocol to USB3. So you're handicapped on total throughput and will only see 3.5Gbps to 4Gbps throughput but that's only one characteristic of an SSD. The reason we love them so much isn't for their throughput using SATA but for the greatly reduced latency and fast access times.  From this standpoint they work just fine externally.  So if you decide to do file tests or "benchmarking" and see it running slower, keep in mind it's probably a measurement that's not as important as the quick access times.

You can run a single SSD this way or multiple if needed.  Two would be optimal each plugged into a separate USB3 port to maximize the load but you get the most gain from the first SSD you add and may never feel the need to add another. Having your Cache, Meta-Data, Transcoding & DVR directories on SSD gives you a nice boost.

What I would not advice is trying to Install Emby on the external disk.  Leave it installed where it normally installs and instead setup the the environment to use the SSD. You'll be using the SSD via USB3 essentially the same way as the NVMe we mount as a drive (only this is faster).  So I would suggest reading the PDF I put together in the linked post and skip down past the setup of the NVMe to where we use it.  You can storage manager to make the SSD it's own volume. Then just follow the same directions for using the SSD.

This makes it super easy for you to do as well since you're just coping a couple things and changing a few settings to make use of the new location.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Carlo

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jsc1205

@cayarsCarlo, thanks so much for the response.  As always your a wealth of knowledge!

So I currently have a Synology DS918+ (drives are full) and recently purchased the expansion unit, DX517 (1 drive currently being used).  I have 1 external WD drive hooked up to the 918 via USB and have a WD Passport 1TB external SSD that I'm not using at all.  Since using SSDs are always faster than a spinning disc, I thought I could use the USB port in the front of the 918 to hook up the Passport SSD and use that strictly for the Emby server.  Of course as you probably already know, the external drives are not showing up as a "volume" in DSM, so cannot select the external SSD to install the server onto.  So I thought I would ask how to get it to work and if its even feasible.

I will look over the info you provide.  Thanks again and let me know if its at all possible.

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Something I think you should test is speed of the USB3 SSD vs mounting it in the DX517. You would think IOPs/Bandwidth would be best from the expansion unit.

You can make volume from USB3 drives just fine that Synology will use like any other volume but it depends on the partitioning/format of the drive when plugged in. You would want to verify it's compatible or reformat/setup the drive from storage manager itself.

Carlo

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