Synology/NAS/Networking/Linux Advice Needed!

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Seikenfreak

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#1  Edited By Seikenfreak

Heyoo duders!

.btrfs vs .ext4 file formats. I know we've got some smart people around here.. I'm hoping some of them may be experienced and measured in the subjects mentioned: Synology, NAS, Networking, and Linux.

During this past holiday weekend, the one where we celebrate gratuitous spending, I bought myself a Synology DS918+ NAS and some hard drives. The goal is to offload my Plex server from my main PC to this, along with various other pictures/media/documents etc. My current expectation is to run it in a RAID 5 configuration. I can't seem to come up with a clear decision on whether I should build the system on the .btrfs (is it proprietary to Synology?) or .ext4. I've spent about as much time as I can bother watching videos and reading threads about which I should use. Rampant opinions on either side.

".btrfs is being abandoned! Major issues! Volumes being wiped! Never again!" against "I've been using .btrfs for years and it works great. Never had any issues. And I like the advanced recovery/maintenance features." So pretty much every video with network enthusiasts says its fine and each format has pros and cons. Every "professional network engineer" forum warrior says not to go anywhere near .btrfs.

My concern: I don't know anything about Linux. I've never used it and never looked into it. All this stuff seems to be built around it, with something like Synology's Disk Station Manager acting as a familiar front end. My chief concerns are:

If I use .btrfs:

  • The Synology unit fails (it seems some people have had power supply issues?) and I'm stuck with a proprietary file system that doesn't leave me any options other than buying another Synology unit. My cynical side i.e. all of me- says that's why they want you to build it on their system.
  • Some information suggests that .btrfs specifically has an issue with RAID 5/6 configurations.
  • The system won't perform as well for streaming Plex (unlikely? I really only stream on local network)

If I use .ext4:

  • I'm building it using something that may be more flexible (can be used/read with any Linux setup)..
  • ..But would also require more advanced knowledge. That any sort of troubleshooting would require me to use a command line with weird voodoo Linux language blah blah blah I don't know. Random example like the NAS fails, and I try and use Linux to get access to the information.. I have zero idea how to use it and sitting around for days doing research on how to do basic things with a new OS doesn't sound like fun to me.
  • Everything I know about Linux: It's like Windows but for insane, masochistic people.

So whats up? I think I want to hear from someone who has had a NAS system failure and how they handled it: Which format did they use and how was the recovery process? Should I stay away from getting my hands dirty with Linux/.ext4 and use the "home user friendly" btrfs? Or have faith in the old, crusty, but wiser workhorse that is .ext4? I think I'm a decently smart person and I can learn me a thing or two.. but I don't want to if I don't have to lol Maybe @brad could chime in as he's been in the background of my thoughts with his recent mentions of building a FreeNAS machine. Brad & Will Tech Pod /thumbsup

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mikewhy

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BTRFS is not proprietary, so no worries there.

I haven't used Synology's BTRFS stuff before, but it specifically has issues with RAID5/6. If you're planning on downloading torrents directly to the NAS (either from a computer connected to a share or a client running directly on the NAS), BTRFS will make things slower. Lots of BTRFS' advantages are in ZFS, which is becoming more available, so support for the former will dwindle as time goes on.

Any sort of data corruption bug will be a big stain on a filesystem's image that will be hard to get rid of.

EXT is tried and true. From the Synology side of things, it doesn't "require more advanced knowledge". Certainly less than BTRFS.

If you're unsure, go with EXT4.

---

Here is my 5 cents. I just moved from a Synology NAS with BTRFS to OMV 4.x with EXT4, because of significant speed degradation issues (fragmentation) on the Synology when you use BTRFS volumes to download torrents etc.

https://github.com/openmediavault/openmediavault/issues/101#issuecomment-546958140

My point being that BTFRS has some rather large pitfalls for novice users. And once I started reading up on BTFRS (and ZFS) my feeling was that it makes sense for enterprise usage, but for the average Joe it's adding mostly unnecessary complexity on top of existing hardware CRC in disks etc, at a performance cost. Using CoW to save storage space for example is rather pointless for 99% of non enterprise user scenarios, and again degrades performance especially on spinning disks.

https://github.com/openmediavault/openmediavault/issues/101#issuecomment-547327745

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Seikenfreak

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@mikewhy: Thanks for the response. I don't think I'd be downloading directly to the NAS for much of anything, but then again apparently these are very versatile machines so who knows what I'll come up with in the future.

Does sound like I'll just go with .ext4. I can't remember if I saw other format options besides the two I mentioned here (which is why I've only researched the two of them)