How to: Deploying a Synology VAAI Plugin

In an earlier post, I posted how users can quickly deploy a Synology Diskstation.

One of the things many people like to do with a Synology Disktation within a VMware Homelab environment (or production) is install the Synology VAAI VIB for hardware acceleration. In order to take advantage of this, your Synology will need to be added to your VMware environment as a target and be available as an Datastore to use. Installing this VIB allows for increased performance and better throughput via hardware acceleration with offload to the Synology CPU/RAM/CACHE.

Step 1: Download the VIB.

Step 2: Use a program SCP or in my instance, WINSCP to connect to you host. If you are using Windows and need WINCP, you can download it here. Extract the VIB and upload the VIB to the /tmp/ directory of your ESXi Host. You will need to use the credentials that are for the root account on your ESXi host.

Step 3: Enable SSH on the ESXi Host and run the following command:

esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/synology-nfs-vaai-plugin-1.2.1008.vib --no-sig-check

Step 4: Ensure the command ran successfully.

Step 5: Head to the Synology Datastore/Configure then look for the word Hardware Acceleration. Look for the “Supported” word, which means it is now enabled and working with hardware acceleration as intended.

First Head over to the /tmp/ directory using WinSCP (Windows).
Ensure you see the Extracted VIB within the /tmp/ directory.
The Plugin is selected for demonstration purposes.
Next, SSH into you ESXi host and run the following command.

esxcli software vib install -v /tmp/synology-nfs-vaai-plugin-1.2.1008.vib --no-sig-check

You can now see that Hardware Acceleration is supported.

How to: Deploying a Synology Diskstation DS418

Earlier this year, I debated on the idea of getting a Synology DiskStation for Home Lab use. The use case would be to have shared storage for my VMware environment. Additionally, having a local NAS at home would allow for flexibility to have mapped network drives on the workstations throughout the house. This, along with being able to scan to PDF and store on the NAS made the decision a no brainer!

There are two main players in the entry level NAS market. QNAP and Synology. I decided to go with the Synology due to the feature set of the DSM software.

In this quick blog will show how to do the initial setup of the Diskstation.

The BoM for this build is below

  1. DiskStation Synology 4 Bay NAS DiskStation DS418 (Diskless)
  2. WD Red 4TB NAS Internal Hard Drive – 5400 RPM Class, SATA 6 Gb/s, 256 MB Cache, 3.5″ – WD40EFAX

I decided to go with the 4 bay for future expansion. I started out with just two drives, but plan to go to 4 drives later.

Note: There are some issues with these drives it appears when researching online. I personally haven’t had any data loss, but be sure to research your drives before purchasing.

DiskStation1
First: Pop in your drives and power on the device. Go to a web browser and go use either find.synology.com or diskstation:5000. The Web portal will then launch and search for a DiskStation within the local network. Note: The DiskStation status should be that of Not Installed.
DiskStation2
Accept the EULA.
DiskStation3
Select Setup.
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Next, select Install DiskStation Manager (DSM). Alternatively, you can download the latest version manually and select manual install.
DiskStation5
Since the Hard Drives were previously installed before boot up, the Synology Web Assistant will see these drives and import them. Note: Any Data (if not new drives) will be lost! I used the default RAID configuration of Synology SHR.
DiskStation6
Next the DSM will now install.
DiskStation7
The progress bar will continue as the DSM software is installed.
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Next, create a server name, username, password, etc.
DiskStation9
Finally, once the DSM software has been installed you will have an option to Setup QuickConnect.

Once DSM is installed successfully, you will be able to hit the IP of the Synology in a web browser and login successfully. From there you can install plugins, create shared folders using CIFS or NFS, etc.

I would highly recommend a Synology for anyone who takes setting up a HomeLab seriously. It is a large investment, but the ease of use, options and software make the investment worthwhile. Additionally, you can also use Hardware Acceleration for VMware Homelabs on certain models. Check back for a How To with regards to Hardware Acceleration.