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Running SQL Server on Synology


Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by John Morehouse

Synology has a wide range of capabilities but sometimes it still falls short.

In a previous post, I mentioned moving existing virtual machines to my Synology DS920+.  The movement of the virtual machines required configuring the virtual machine locally on my laptop and then subsequently moving the “bundle” to the Synology.  This effectively meant that I was running the virtual machine across the local area network (LAN).  As you might imagine, overall performance tanked.  Any CPU related workloads would happen locally on my laptop however any disk I/O requests would traverse the network, and well, sucked.

Virtual Machine Manager

Synology offers the ability to create and maintain full blown virtual machines locally.  This would be synonymous to having a VMWare ESXi host running somewhere inside your house.  Unfortunately, with my model of Synology, it’s lacking severely in the memory department.

4GB of memory is all she’s got Capt’n!

4GB of memory is minimal in order to run a virtual machine on Synology.  Operating systems such as Windows require a decent amount of memory to function and it does not even address the need for SQL Server to have all the memory it can.


Another possible solution is to run a Docker container.  Docker is platform that is designed to run containers and you can run it on a Synology NAS device.  Containers is the next evolution within the virtualization space.  Effectively, containers further remove layers by abstracting away the operating system entirely.   Each container allows minimal deployment of applications and services that are needed.  The operating system kernel (usually Linux) is an abstraction layer that sits below each container.

While this is a potential solution, the minimum requirements to run a SQL Server container is 2GB.   Given that my Synology only has 4GB available, essentially I need to upgrade the hardware.

Remember, even with virtualization or containers, it still has to run on hardware beneath the hood.

However, at the moment I am unable to pull the appropriate container image needed so this will be a work in progress.

Stay tuned!

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