Roon database hosted on external USB SSD

I’m running Roon on a Linux streamer (Brand: Audio aan Zee Ultra) and all is working fine. However, performance is not great. Currently all information (Roon database and music) is running on an HDD (2TB).
After a lot of browsing on the Roon knowledge database and community, my understanding is that it makes sense to store the Roon database on an SSD drive. My intention is to add an external USB SSD drive to the system and move the database but unfortunately I cannot find How to do this. See a lot of articles around the movement of music but cannot find a related topic to host Roon database on an external USB SSD.
Two question

  1. does it indeed makes sense to move the Roon database?
  2. can someone help me on the ‘How’

Can you point me to the English technical specs and user guide for the exact model? Also, do you have a Mac or PC? Finally, please provide a little more information about your setup, e.g. what you use to control Roon, the performance problems you’re experiencing etc… Thanks

Audio aan Zee Ultra description:
I’m running the Core on a Linux box (Fedora release 23). Vortexbox SW 2.4
Hardware: Gigabyte J1800N-D2H motherboard, CPU Celeron J1800 @ 2.41 GHz
Using a iPad or windows PC to control Core.
Box is connected via USB to Calix DAC.
I have a PC and use PuTTY to connect.
Is this sufficient?
The issue is the UX is not very performant. Takes long to start.
No issue with playing music.

Sorry, but I’m a little confused. What role is the AudioAanZee Ultra Flow music server performing? Or is this your “Linux box”?

If the AudioAanZee Ultra Flow is essentially a Linux environment running Roon core I think you should talk to the manufacturer about replacing the boot drive with an SSD and then use the spinning disk for storage music files.

Whilst it would be fine to use a USB drive for media, I wouldn’t recommend this approach for the Roon database.

The Ultra music streamer is indeed a Linux / Vortexbox running the Roon Core software. It has dedicated hardware modifications to act as a high end streamer.
I agree booting could go faster when replacing the HDD by a SDD but since this might impact the internal design I don’t see this as a viable path forward.
My thinking to use an external SSD is inspired by this article
We strongly recommend … an SSD for the Roon databases. Your music files can be on spinning disks, but ideally the Roon database should be on an SSD. This one optimization can provide the single biggest improvement to Roon’s performance and user experience.

Note: If your NAS does not have a free slot for an SSD, you can use a SSD via an external enclosure connected via eSATA or USB 3.0. Anything 64GB or larger should be fine – extra space will not help you any.

Although your advice “… I wouldn’t recommend this approach for the Roon database” is clear, to my understanding an external SSD connected via USB 3.0 is faster than an internal HDD and therefore, would like to give it a try.

I would like to understand where the database is stored under Linux and where the path is defined. Can you refer me to an article?

I understand your reservation, but I still believe the best course or action is to replace the system drive using an SSD. Moreover, you could try this without touching the original drive, i.e. prove it works before committing to an irreversible change.

Roon is installed in /opt/RoonServer on my Ubuntu server, but you may have it installed under /var/roon/RoonServer. The database is in the RoonServer folder.

You can certainly use the USB SSD, mounting to RoonServer. My reservation is that you’re running a database application on a removable device. I wouldn’t do that. Whatever you do, make sure you take regular backups of the Roon database.

Some questions:

  1. Did the product come with a recovery disk or install media?
  2. Is it still under warranty?
  3. How comfortable are you with Linux shell?
  4. What size is the SSD?

Most SSD drive are available with a resource to clone the whole drive. Remove the HDD, clone it and then replace it with the SSD. I’ve done this with Windows before and it works really well. You may need a Windows or Mac to do the clone.

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I understand your hesitation to run a database on a removable disk. Something to consider.
I found the software under var/roon/RoonServer. I looked into the logs and there seems to be some errors that i would like to further investigate.
Answer to your questions
Did the product come with a recovery disk or install media?

No, but i do have a backup
Is it still under warranty?
How comfortable are you with Linux shell?
In general I’m ok with programming and i have some basic understanding of Linux shell (and not afraid to make mistakes)
What size is the SSD?
The HD is 2TB with roughly 1 TB music. So expensive to replace by an SSD. Alternative could be to add small SSD (500 GB) and keep music on HD. Have to open the box to see if there is space.

My dealer installed Roon and one thing is bothering me: Roon seems to be a full music server. So am I still running the Vortexbox software or better, do i still need the Vortexbox software?

I think it unwise to replace the Vortexbox software with an alternative since certain hardware features may depend on custom code and/ or device drivers.

However, I do think you should consider replacing the current system disk with your SSD. As @bevan_court says, cloning is relatively straightforward and the original disk is unaffected in the process. Clonezilla is a good choice, but there are others available too.

You’ll need to hook the Audio aan Zee to a monitor and keyboard, but the advantage of this approach is booting Clonezilla from a CD and cloning directly to the USB drive.

I’ve checked with the dealer and he recently checked an SSD as music source. He claims poor results because an SSD (according to him) is compressing data and therefore poor music results. I don’t fully understand…
I have to travel in the coming weeks. Once returned I will open the box to look for options.
Keep you posted.

That’s nonsense. When you return from your travels, I or someone else on the forum will help you sort something out.

I’ve got a Kingston 480Gb SSD connected via an Esata Dock. When I moved the database to it the music playback from my Mac remote client was extremely choppy and unlistenable. I’ve moved the database back to the spinning disk and music is now as it should be again. Any thoughts. Thanks

HP Proliant Mini Server N37L , 5Gb RAM, Ubuntu