Sharing experience of Synology --> ROCK migration

I am on Roon for a few years now, always on Synology. I was starting to have more and more difficulty with my Synology implementation of Roon because the Synology app was a third party one and the integration with Synology often got broken when either Synology or Roon had new releases. In addition, even though I had replaced the Roon database disk with SSD, performance was very poor.

As an example, when I recently had to reinstall the entire Roon DB and import all music on the Synology (long story…) it took for ever. 48 hours later I was at import of 30,000 tracks with 15,000 to go. This was WITHOUT analyze. Analyze with 3 cores was running at about 500 tracks per hour!

I tried moving to a Windows Core, but that was not only slow, it was also unstable, with the Roon app crashing every so often.

I figured that Roon doesn’t work well in shared environments, and so I had a choice between the Nucleus and a ROCK. I was quite far along in discussions with my dealer for the base Nucleus (India Price ~$2000), at which time I thought to see what ROCK was all about. It had always been my impression that the NUC Build involved deep tech (as in soldering etc.). However I was quite delighted to see that the NUC came pre-assembled and the only thing to do was to follow the ROCK install, which also seemed pretty trivial. Best of all, an i7 NUC with 16GB was a quarter of the price of the base Nucleus!

Promptly bought an i7 NUC with 16GB (over specified, but not much gap in price). Took all of 15 minutes to install and set up Roon. Since my previous installation (on Synology followed by the Windows attempt) were both floundering anyway, I decided to go for a clean import of my music files.

By way of stats, 45,000 music files were imported in about 45 hours (1000/hr) with Analysis turned off. After the music was imported I took a backup and set about analyzing with 6 cores. Very fast! At 8000 tracks an hour it took hardly 6 hours to complete.

My logitech extension remains on Docker in Synology and works like a charm. The UI responsiveness is awesome. Album Art pops up instantly and searches, playback etc. are insanely fast relative to what I had gotten used to with Synology.

While evaluating ROCK/Nucleus/Synology (which I did even when I first installed) I searched for and could find no post on comparative performance. Had some stats been there possibly I would have gone for a ROCK a while ago. I wonder if anyone has done an apples to apples comparison with an identical music database, with various platforms such as Synology, QNAP, Windows, Linus, ROCK and Nucleus 1/2. That would be of great value to people getting on board.

I thought to share my experience here for the benefit of people going through a decision making process to select a platform.

I guess the only people who have made that comparison are people like you who started with one and moved to the other.

Thanks for posting.

I too went on a journey: Windows laptop as core and sole endpoint, Synology package, Synology docker, NUC/ROCK, now many endpoints in each of two homes, each with its own ROCK and a complex method of sync’ing the two homes’ ROCKs. In terms of stability and predictability, it’s far superior. In terms of ‘snappiness’ (my word for subjective responsiveness of remotes to search queries, page loads, and other basic usage) it’s also been a win. I always wish it were instant, it’s not, but it’s certainly on the less noticeable end instead of the more noticeable laggy end.

Glad to hear you’ve had a similar experience!

Much of this depends on the hardware specs of the NAS.

I have a beefy gen11 NUC with an i7 and 16GB of RAM. I have a rack-mounted Synology RS1221+ with a 2.2GHz quad-core Ryzen V1500B. The Synology has 32GB of RAM, the disks are spinning media, dual 480GB SSD cache (RAID 1) set to R/W with Btrfs metadata pinned.

I run Synology in a Docker container have no compatibility issues - that includes the transition from DSM 6 → DSM 7.

I don’t see any sort of performance difference between my ROCK/NUC and my NAS.

If someone is starting from nothing and wants to get started with Roon, the definitive answer is (and should be) get a Nucleus or a NUC. You’re going to get compatibility, predictability, and appliance-like behavior. That’s very desirable.

But I think the NAS route is very viable for a specific group of people including me. It doesn’t automatically imply worse performance or compatibility. I’ve had far fewer issues than I’ve seen people have who are trying to run their cores on various Macs and PCs where configuration, networking, firewall, OS and Roon versioning can be issues.

Just wanted to provide this counter-point perspective and to say that it’s not as easy as saying “which performs better - NAS or NUC?”.

Exactly, but the recommendation to not use a NAS still applies to most people because most people don’t buy a business class NAS for home use. Most people have a DS model or even lower performing NAS than that. I have two DS models and would never use either for anything but file sharing/media streaming, backups and surveillance recordings.

I hope that’s what you read my post as saying. There’s a broad spectrum of NAS devices and similar broad spectrums of Roon use cases and technical competencies. The set of folks in the “You should use your NAS” portion of the Venn diagram is small, but it’s legitimate. For those folks, it’s a good solution.

This is probably a subject for another thread but there’s all kinds of fun stuff you could be doing with those. For example, if you happen to be a HomeKit or Google Home user, you could run a Scrypted docker container and connect your Surveillance Station cameras up to it. Or you could tinker with home automation with Home Bridge or Home Assistant. Or create a private sync cloud with Syncthing. All of these things, and a lot more, are well within the capabilities of many Synology NAS devices. They are pretty impressive “private cloud” devices if you choose to use them that way.


I agree with you. My point was simply that most users can quickly get into trouble trying to do too much with an under-powered NAS and should just deploy ROCK on a dedicated NUC. There’s a reason why that is the most recommended solution.

I have a dedicated Ubuntu server for VMs and docker. I’m also already a Homekit and HA user. All this while still using my NASes as just NASes.

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I haven’t used a NAS, always suspecting they would be underpowered. I use EQ and more processing power is required going down that route so a NAS was never really an option for me. Instead I mostly used my desktop pc, and laptop for a while, which meant I only accessed my music when my pc was on. A couple of years ago I bought a second hand small footprint PC (Dell Optiflex) and installed ROCK on it. It’s been absolutely flawless. Perhaps the biggest thing I did was run ethernet cables in my 30 year old house rather than rely on wifi. My ROCK Core sits in the hall cupboard on the shelf below the alarm panel, next to my ethernet router. So good is it that I forget it’s there most of the time. So for me ROCK Core on a suitable computer is the way to go, but a cheap second hand PC works well too, along with a solid network.
I can’t think of a higher compliment. I hardly ever think about my gear, I just listen to music.

Finish the job , put an SSD inside or USB outside if it’s not the tall form NUC then use your NAS as backup for the NUC drive.

I did this 9 months back, I retired my desktop windows “tractor” core with a 10i7 , 32 Gb RAM, 4TB SSD . I later added a 5tb ext USB. My pc retailer also built if for me (I could have done it but he tested it checking RAM, SSD etc so why not) , the ROCK install is as you say genuinely simple

Runs like a dream, truly an appliance, only attention in 9 months is turning on and off.

One day I’ll complete the plan and move it next to the streamer BUT if it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Congrats on biting the bullet …

You have the correct spec clearly , but you all too often see new users complaining about Roon running on NAS with a Celeron or Atom processor and minimal RAM .

it’s not spelled out to well what is a capable NAS and many newcomers are not yet aware of the demands of Roon. My old desktop was i7-7700 3,2 ghz 16Gb RAM. There was nothing wrong with it except noise.

As I mentioned I was planning to rationalise, downsize the audio gear. I am 99% headphones so the plan was NUC/ROCK Naim Uniti Atom HE best move yet , tiny footprint ready for the next move (all too rapidly approaching) to a retirement home :smiling_imp:

We agree on a lot more than we disagree on.

I think I need to clarify my position on this. It’s probably different than what’s coming across.

I have never run Roon on anything other than a Synology NAS. I started with the RoonOnNAS package in early 2001 on older, lower powered Synology than what I have now. That was, I think, my 3rd Synology generation - it followed lots of larger, self-built home server machines with one form or another of enterprise-grade RAID cards. I ran Window servers in my house for many years (domain controllers, on-prem EXO, storage arrays, etc.) This ain’t, as they say, my first rodeo nor is the first rodeo of any of you on this thread.

The DSM6 → DSM7 broke my installation (like it did everyone’s) and I jumped from RoonOnNAS to Docker. I later upgraded to a rack-mounted NAS because a) I was moving, would have two houses for a time, seemed like a good opportunity to upgrade and b) Synology shipped the RS1221+, which was their first network-depth rack mountable unit and I was building out a network-depth rack for other reasons. The stars aligned.

I’m in a small population because my NAS is decently powered and I run Roon in Docker.

I haven’t said this part yet : I think Roon should completely drop RoonOnNAS. It is a barely supported effort that is frequently broken and is slow to get fixed. The QNAP issues over recent months have been quite problematic for people. It breaks with upgrades. There are permission issues. Roon, the company, spreads itself too thin and has too few support resources - they should simplify in multiple ways and I think dropping RoonOnNAS would help.

This is a good time to point out that the Roon website describes RoonOnNAS as collaboration between Roon and Chris Rieke, which conveys a level of support that does not exist in actuality : They do ultimately get around to fixing it when it’s broken but it goes broken for weeks.

So, contrary to what I’ve implied, I don’t really believe that Roon should be explicitly supporting NAS devices. They do, however, support unix and that lends itself to Docker on just about any unix platform. And I just tend to think about my NAS as a lowish-end unix machine that can run some workloads just fine. Including Roon the way I run Roon. Not necessarily the way everyone runs Roon.

So no love lost for me if Roon completely drops RoonOnNAS. If the community wants to support one or more Docker images, like the one I use from Steef, let them. Caveat emptor to anyone that choose to run on any unix machine with or without Docker. If your machine isn’t up to the job because of RAM, CPU, storage, networking characteristics you’re going to be in trouble.

I should keep my mouth shut on threads about NAS other than to say “My opinion is that you should only run on a NAS if a) you are willing and able to treat it like a unix platform and are comfortable running Docker (including manually upgrading images and/or using Watchtower or Portainer) and b) you are either convinced that your NAS is specced well enough to run Roon or you are willing to bail on it and move to another platform if you learn it isn’t.”

Thanks for the conversation - this helped me clarify my thoughts.