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Emby, the 1515+, being too slow, and the solution


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When I got home from vacation my HTPC had died.  I had moved the data to a Synology 1515+ months ago, but with a dead PC I decided to move the server application there too.


Here are my thoughts, the issues I had with it, and the solution I found and seems to be working for me.  


Had I to do it again, I would have made a slight tweek from the start, but all's-well now.  


I hope my experiences help someone else.


I have been running Emby for 2 weeks now and ....
  • Running it natively through the package manager is fine. There is no need to use Docker.  If I had to do it again, I would install to an SSD vs the RAID.  More on that later.  
  • That said, updates don't come out as often as the main branch.  This is not a problem for me.
  • I strongly suggest running the plug-in for Configuration Backup, this saved me some trouble as I was able to re-load my HTPC's configuration and skip ahead in the settings.
  • That said, despite having the libraries point to network shares (which were on the same NAS as Emby was now moved to), for some reason Emby didn't pick those up and I had to re-import the libraries.  My watched and paused metadata was retained but the "latest added" data was not.  I suggest changing the setting on "Latest added" to be based on the file's timestamp (vs. date scanned by the server).  
  • Re-importing ~5 TB took a week.  I did it in parts, based on the library sub-section.  Once imported, everything (from the library point-of-view) worked just as well as with the HTPC.
  • Speed:  I have a pretty beefy NAS with 16 GB of RAM.  So, I expected speed to not be an issue.  But, like a lot of things in Synology, I had to tweek the set-up to get better performance.  When I say "speed" I don't mean the movies/videos playing, they would transcode and play just fine.  The issue is getting the UI displayed on the playing device (e.g., PC, Roku, etc.). If you can't get the UI displayed, you can't tell the movie to play.
  • The clients have differing levels of fault tolerance.  The Roku was really good at handling a slow response from the server.  It took longer but the Roku plugged away until everything showed up.  The Android/Amazon Fire is brittle (it looks a lot nicer than the Roku, but it is fragile).  If the server didn't respond fast enough you'd either get: (1) the grey screen of death, (2) a black blank page, which I could move out of (hence not "death"), or (3) a Volley.error and then nothing.  
  • This is the *slow* everyone complains about.  You just can't get the UI populated fast enough to use the client.  And even if the client is fault tolerant (i.e. web, Roku) it takes a while.
  • The slowness surprised me because I have an over-powered NAS in a minimal usage setup (1-2 people using it at a time across a wired network).  I am just not putting enough load on the server to justify it being noticeably slow.  However, I learned something that seems obvious in retrospect.  If you're going to use the NAS as a computer and not just a file server, you should have 2 volumes.  A 1st for data (RAID) and then a 2nd for applications and speed.  I thought with the power-to-usage ratio I could ignore this.  I shouldn't have.  
  • The solution appears to be to move the server off the RAID volume.  Follow the advice on the Performance Improvements (https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/48086-performance-improvements/) forum post.  Basically plug in a small USB stick to the NAS and move the Emby DB to there.  This is why I say, were I to do this again, I would have installed the plug-in to the USB or a SSD volume (making me appreciate the 1517+'s SSD option).    Also when the USB stick eventually crashes, I expect the Configuration Backup utility to save me again (as that saves to another device).
  • With the Emby DB moved to the USB, performance has increased.  The Amazon Fire responds relatively quickly (still slowly, but not unacceptably slow).  I may post back in a week to update the Fire's performance.
Edited by ahbi_santini
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Thanks @@ahbi_santini


From reading some of the recent feedback around performance, there's certainly a piece of work to do to better understand the database performance on the Synology platform.


If possible, can you post the output of the following from your system:-

ls -lh /var/packages/EmbyServer/target/var/data/*.db


- James

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