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Anyone using a NAS for storage/production? Modular Synthesizers
Old 17th April 2017
Anyone using a NAS for storage/production?

Hey gang...I have a pair of SSDs that I use for my main production drives, with 3x 2TB external drives for long term storage (projects that are finished or that I'm not currently working on but still want to keep handy). A couple of those drives are a few years old, and while they've worked flawlessly so far (they're WD My Passport and My Passport Ultra for anyone keeping score), I figure it's only a matter of time before they fail so I'm thinking of getting a NAS box for all my media (TV shows and movies), as well as my long term storage as I mentioned. Anyone have any experience with these in a music production scenario?

Also, are the read/write times fast enough that I could (if I had to) deal with the projects I have on there without having to transfer them to my local SSDs?

Thanks all, love to hear your recommends as far as brands and which RAID setup I should use as well. Cheers
Old 17th April 2017
Lives for gear
autodidactic's Avatar

I'm in the process of building a new machine and am planning on converting my old box into a NAS. As far as NAS boxes go, look for something that uses ZFS. ZFS is a copy on write filesystem that has many features built in that normally you could only get with a combination of RAID card, Apple's Time Machine. The file system is battle tested and has been used in high capacity workloads by companies like NetFlix, Adobe.

FreeNAS was just released and it is amazing. FreeNAS is the OS but there are prebuilt FreeNAS appliances that you can get if you don't want to build your own.

Here is an article about how to get FreeNAS set up for a video editing workflow. Most of it should apply for audio work as well.

Keep in mind they used 5400 RPM drives and were able to saturate the connection. You could probably best that by using 7200 rpm drives or even SSDs.

iX Systems also does custom builds so if you need a more performant setup they can build any custom solution you need.
Old 17th April 2017
Lives for gear

I'm running hardware RAID6 on a 30TB Dell PowerVault (15 x 2TB SAS disks) attached to a Dell rack server running Ubuntu Server. Rock-solid and fast, if a bit loud. It's nowhere near my studio space, though.
Old 19th April 2017
Good lord, that's a lot of **** your opinion, is there a smaller scale (say, 10TB) version of that that wouldn't cost a jillion dollars?
Old 19th April 2017
Lives for gear

Used/surplus server gear for file server purposes can be had rather cheaply. The trick is going to be making sure you don't have any compatibility issues if you mix and match from different brands. Some of the HP enterprise stuff will only work with HP hard disks, for example. Many DAS boxes like a PowerVault don't have to be completely filled with disks. There's no reason why you could put in an array of say 5 x 2TB disks in RAID5, which would give you 8TB of fast usable space.

Used PowerVaults can be found cheap, but you have to make sure they come with enough blank spacers, otherwise they won't cool properly. Disk caddies and interposers for SATA drives can be tricky to find cheaply, though. You also have to watch compatibility issues with using the right interface card with DAS boxes.

Larger file server chassis with room for internal RAID should be easier to configure, but won't have the raw capacity of DAS boxes.
Old 19th April 2017
Gear Nut
random_id's Avatar
I think with any NAS option, the bottleneck will be the network transfer speed. It should be fine to load most projects over the network, though.

I have used ZFS before with FreeNAS, and it is pretty awesome. You can schedule snapshots that allow you to revert back to previous versions if needed. It is very robust in terms of errors, and it is also more tolerant of mixing hardware than some RAID setups.

Windows also has Storage Spaces on Windows 10. ZFS has better features overall, but it is a pretty cool option for creating mirrors and other drive configurations.

One thing I will recommend is that if you try ZFS (FreeNAS or other), don't do it within a VM. I did this and I found that performance decreases, and I started to get drive errors.
Old 20th April 2017
Gear Addict

If you can, get a computer with 2x1gb ports and a NAS that has the same and they can both use link aggregation. Or, even better, go with 1 10gb port on each but $$$. Make sure everything is hardwired and your switch (or router - which would also need to support link aggregation if you go that route) is one of the faster ones for wired networking at If you're going to load samples... I've never done that, but I'm thinking you'd want the above network speed, plus use some HGST 7200rpm drives in the NAS. Also, check your RAID versions and make sure the hardware is "performant" with the version of RAID you want.
Old 25th April 2017
Nah, no samples, this is mainly for keeping semi-recent stuff handy, but that I don't need every day. Ideally it'd be cool to have it act as a media server for TV shows and movies too, if possible.
Old 25th April 2017
Gear Nut
I'm using a 10 TB ZFS Nas (5x2TB Sata in Raid-Z) and it's quite marvelous for my needs.
The transfer speeds are limited by the 1Gbps network speed, so about 90 Mb/s but internally this puppy goes to 200-300 Mb/s which speeds up some of the internal operations, like error checking for example.

This thing has some very modern safety features built into it's ZFS filesystem. It keeps the data intact with internal checksums and parity. It could have broken sectors and not fail. It could even loose an entire disk and not fail(it's level 1 raid-z.. can handle one broken disk). So all in all it gives me very reliable 8 TB of storage accessible from anywhere in my house on any device. I take full backup images of the family laptops in there. It serves all media and music to all machines. And it houses backups for my important DAW and work files (though i have a secondary backup device for those too, obviously).

The system is pretty close to this one: Fortysomething Geek: FreeNAS Mini-ITX AMD E-350 Lian Li PC-Q25 build

I have a smaller case but the same processor and memory. And i'm using Nas4Free Linux. Pretty awesome setup. More powerful than ready made Nas systems like qnap etc, but still more affordable. I think i spent around 300$ on this total because i used some very cheap but good quality used parts. And it uses only about 40-50 Watts total.

Only gripes i have is of course the speed. Especially with very small files, like large software coding projects..(48000 files in 100mb etc) But I've fixed this with some scripting to compress things before they get sent to backup. So hours of transferring becomes just few seconds.
Old 25th April 2017
Lives for gear
tvsky's Avatar
I have been running a 12tb zfs freenas setup for about 4 years now and put all the studio work on it as backups and finished archives

but I would use the local SSDs for actual work

1GB ethernet is not really quick enough these days. 2x1GB aggregated is about local mechanical hdd speed , but you have greater latency and overhead. You really need 10gb or multiples of to match fast local storage.

but for backup and network sharing a good NAS is indispensable these days
Old 25th April 2017
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by kojak View Post
Nah, no samples, this is mainly for keeping semi-recent stuff handy, but that I don't need every day. Ideally it'd be cool to have it act as a media server for TV shows and movies too, if possible.
Check out Lots of guys over there built many multi-terabyte media servers using various RAID methods. Lots of discussion regarding pros and cons of various methods as well.
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