About a year ago I knuckled down and got a Synology disk array for my data storage needs. Honestly I have to say I’m having a hard time thinking how I can be happier with the system. Awesome stuff.

That’s only part of the post though.

I have my iMac that’s sporting a bunch of SSD on the system drive. Also awesomesauce.

The problem is the difference in sizes. I have 3/4 TB of SSD on the Mac and 12TB (with room to grow) on the NAS. The thing that makes it a problem is that I need to run a couple different VMs at times to do some side work from time to time.

VMs are big if you didn’t know.

So here I am with the fast SSD drive that I was storing the VMs on since running over SMB was too slow. Booting was an absolute nightmare. Sure, Parallels made it work, but only barely so.

Over the weekend I remember that the Synology supports iSCSI. iSCSI is essentially mounting a drive over ethernet (or IP if you want to get pedantic). It’s a very low-level protocol. It deals with blocks, not files. I decided to give that a whirl.

Win.

Sure, it’s not as fast as the SSD, but I’m still pushing around 1000 IOPS (Input Output Per Second) over the drives! It’s more than serviceable and I get to free up the main storage for other things!

At first I was worried that the limiting factor would be the gigabit ethernet, and occasionally it is, but by and large the limit winds up being the IOPS that seems to slow things down. It’s faster than when I was running it off a local hard drive so I’m not complaining.

Over the weekend I think I might run some benchmarks to compare the performance of the various technologies and see how they stack up in synthetic benchmarks.