Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

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Thermionic Idler
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#1 Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

Background - last weekend I managed to get my RoonServer/RoonCore PC upgrades done - upgraded MSI motherboard and Ryzen 5 3600XT processor bought second-hand as a gamer cast-off, 32Gb memory, 250Gb NVME SSD, pluse the existing 1Tb SSD out of my old Daphile server and a 2Tb spinning rust backup drive. With the relatively low licence fee I thought I would give Audiolinux a go.

I managed to successfully get it up and running with RoonServer activated (as it was already installed). Unfortunately I had about 4 instances in 24 hours where the OS crashed hard - no error message, just complete lack of response, mouse frozen etc, and I had to hard-reset to bring it back online. Three of them happened whilst we were playing music - the music just cut out and the app brought up the 'oops there seems to be a problem' window, but one happened just with the system idling.

I decided to do a reinstall with RoonServer running on a different OS - bare-bones Debian (no GUI), to see whether the issue was being caused by a hardware fault - I had bought some of the bits second-hand after all. So far I've had 17 hours' uptime and no hard crashes, so I'm starting to wonder if I have some major hardware-related conflict with AudioLinux (or the underlying Arch Linux OS).

I know that Audiolinux has been 'tuned' specifically for audio, and one of its big selling points is running the OS in RAM. I'm trying to get a sense of how much difference all this sort of stuff would make in reality - surely the data arriving at the endpoint through the network from the server, should be bitperfect whatever the OS? This basically informs how much effort I put into getting AL working reliably (diagnosing random system freezes is such fun) or whether I just go with something that is proven to be rock solid.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Nick
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#2 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Nick »

Unless I have missed something, I would have expected that as long as you have enough ram any kernel will run out of ram. Its only going to start paging if there is memory shortages.

But I am out of date on such things by a couple of decades.
Whenever an honest man discovers that he's mistaken, he will either cease to be mistaken or he will cease to be honest.
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Greg
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#3 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Greg »

I don’t know if this is helpful, but I used to have frequent crashes, often after a Roon update, when I ran Roon core on a Windows 10 NUC. Reverting to my sonicTransporter, which I think runs a Linux system has brought total stability.
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Thermionic Idler
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#4 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

It was a slightly odd install process for AL. It's supplied as an image of a fully installed and tweaked OS complete with user accounts (with what appears to be a 'legs akimbo' security model, I might add) which you gunzip onto a partition of the HD, subsequently extending the partition to the rest of the disk.

So it doesn't go through the normal install process, where AFAIK the hardware is queried and the OS is installed with the appropriate drivers etc to match the hardware environment. When I'd first completed the PC rebuild last Sunday, at first I tried booting it off the same disk which had had Ubuntu Server and Roon installed to see if it would work, but it basically went straight into 'emergency mode', logging me in as root. It was still an MSI motherboard, just one that was 8 years newer, and still an AMD processor, but a much higher spec one.

Which leads me on to question how much certainty there can be that an OS is going to be stable, if it's booted into different hardware to that into which it was originally installed? I'm speculating here though and I know the AL guys know their stuff a lot better than I do, but maybe I've been unfortunate enough to end up as an 'edge case'. My Linux foo is improving but there is still a lot I don't know.

The plan at the moment is to leave the system up as it is for the next few days to confirm that it's stable, so that I'm certain that the issue lies in software rather than hardware. But so far, more than 24 hours without a problem under Debian.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Ray P
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#5 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Ray P »

Dave, I've been running Audiolinux for years and I've never had it crash - it always just works with no fuss. I've always found Piero responsive to my questions too - have you reached out to him?
Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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Thermionic Idler
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#6 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

Ray P wrote: Wed Jul 13, 2022 7:18 pm Dave, I've been running Audiolinux for years and I've never had it crash - it always just works with no fuss. I've always found Piero responsive to my questions too - have you reached out to him?
I'm planning to once the system has passed a few more day's continuous uptime with no freezes, so that I can be absolutely certain that there isn't a hardware glitch anywhere.

Are you running the headless version or the one with the desktop Ray?
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Ray P
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#7 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Ray P »

I have the desktop version Dave, though I essentially run it headless as I use a KVM switch with my normal desktop PC on the few occasions I need to access it (or use 'No Machine' from the laptop),
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#8 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

Got a reply from Piero after I reached out to him - apparently it's an issue with Roon and the latest official Linux kernel version 5.17 - 5.18, which AL runs by default.

Debian runs version 5.10, so that makes perfect sense to me.

Updating AL to a different kernel version should help to stabilize it, and he's sent me instructions on how to do it. I'll have a go at that later on.

The purist in me likes the CLI-only interface but I think I'll stick with the desktop version even though it'll be headless a lot of the time - I need to instigate some kind of backup solution on this box and that'll be a whole lot easier with a GUI.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Thermionic Idler
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#9 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

Reinstalled AudioLinux and rolled the kernel back to the realtime LTS version 5.15, updated Roon then activated RoonServer.

So far only about half an hour's uptime, so too early to judge for certain, but the Roon Remote apps seem to be responding more quickly than before - you barely see the 'waiting' icon. So I think things are closer to the happy path now.

Going to leave it like this for a few days to make sure things stay stable. I don't have any proper endpoints at the moment, it's all going to Apple TV's around the house.

Edit .... aaand things fell off the happy path again about 20 minutes ago. Bugger.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Thermionic Idler
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#10 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

So it looks like I may have been running short on disk space - although I had expanded the AudioLinux partition, the file system still thought it only had 14Gb or so.
[audiolinux@audiolinux Logs]$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/nvme0n1: 232.89 GiB, 250059350016 bytes, 488397168 sectors
Disk model: Samsung SSD 980 250GB
--
Device Start End Sectors Size Type
/dev/nvme0n1p1 2048 1001471 999424 488M EFI System
/dev/nvme0n1p2 1001472 357324799 356323328 169.9G Linux filesystem <------ plenty here...

but.....

[audiolinux@audiolinux Logs]$ df -H
Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
dev 17G 0 17G 0% /dev
run 17G 1.2M 17G 1% /run
/dev/nvme0n1p2 14G 9.3G 3.9G 71% / <----- that should be a lot bigger!!
tmpfs 17G 0 17G 0% /dev/shm
etc.
Roon was busily building its database from my music library and it seemed to fall over when I was looking at stuff in the GUI. Having said that, everything was fine after a restart.

This morning I got the link for the headless version of AudioLinux after paying for the additional image. (Duh.. I thought the fee included both versions, so I'm kicking myself a bit as I'd have bought the headless version first if I'd read the website properly, but of course I didn't because Man :roll: ).

Just as easy to set up via an SSH connection from the Mac, all of those menus work really nicely. I've done the same changes to the kernel version, activated Roon and moved its database to a separate disk partition under /media so it won't end up in RAM if I switch on Ramroot later on. Uptime nearly an hour and all seems well so far. I'm going to leave it like this for a few days and see how things go.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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#11 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Nick »

I would assume you would need to expand the filesystem onto the new space. No reason to expect increasing the partition size to do that.
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#12 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Nick »

Just thought. Everything to roll your own version instead of paying more should be available. GPL after all.
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#13 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

3 day's uptime so far with AL headless, no further issues. Good times! Now to figure out my backup strategy...
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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Thermionic Idler
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#14 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by Thermionic Idler »

All still good in terms of stability, automated backups now implemented and working.

But... I cannot get file sharing to work for love nor money - tried both Samba and nfs (including activating Samba via the menus), feels like smacking my head against a wall. Guest OK set to yes, no firewall but no, it ignores that and just keeps denying all connections for some arcane unexplained reason that Googling doesn't help with. Most of my precious Sunday down the plughole and nothing to show for it. Of course it worked perfectly under Ubuntu before, but hey this is the brave new world of Arch Linux...

God I fucking hate computers sometimes.
Deck: Garrard 301 - Audio Origami PU7 - NW Analogue DH3S
Phono: Pete Millett LR, Lundahl SUT, AMB σ22 PSU
Linestage: Bruno Putzeys Balanced Pre + Hans Polak relay mod, LCDuino control
Power amps: 300B PP 'Symmetric Reichert'
Speakers: FF225WK Big Mets
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#15 Re: Roon core question - actual advantages to running OS in RAM?

Post by pre65 »

Thermionic Idler wrote: Sun Jul 24, 2022 5:32 pm

God I fucking hate computers sometimes.
You will get it sorted. :)

As a two brain celled computer numpty I keep away from the level of complexity some of you guys deal with.

My limit (so far) is a Logitech Squeezebox using a computer hard drive and the inbuilt streaming of radio.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

G-Popz THE easy listening connoisseur. (Philip)
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