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SsirronTtam

Recording Studio NAS for Backup and File Transfer

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi! TL:DR - need advice on building a NAS

 

Context

 

My recording studio in the UK is starting to take off, and over the lockdown period we've had a lot of virtual choirs/orchestras/concerts come in. Naturally, this influx of both audio and video content is starting to take up a LOT of storage. I've got 13TB of total internal and external storage (1TB OS SSD, 1TB project HDD, 11TB external USB 3.0 drives), about 5TB of which remains. While this is likely to last me a good year or so before it's filled up, I do want to find a viable solution both for archiving my old projects safely, and for backing up my project drives/OS drives on a daily basis. 

 

My Spec

 

- Mac Pro 5,1 (2x 6-core Intel Xeon, 3.06GHz)

- 32GB RAM

- Radeon RX580 (8GB)

- 1TB OS SSD

- 1TB project HDD

 

My Idea

 

Having had about a month to think about this, I've thought of using a NAS to back up everything, and have all files accessible through both a wired 10Gb/s connection, and also remotely as a "personal cloud" kind of thing. I'm thinking of a 40TB RAID 10 setup in the long run, but am open to starting with something a little smaller for now. 

 

I've been looking into FreeNAS for running this device, and have also been investigating how to set it up for remote access similar to Dropbox (a recent job paid for a 3TB one year subscription, for which we don't want to continue paying £200/year) so that we can integrate receiving large groups of files from clients. I wanted to see if I could sync a cheaper 100GB subscribed Dropbox folder to this NAS so I could transfer and clear our Dropbox folder to the NAS on a daily basis. 

 

I've pasted a link to my PCPartpicker build, which raises another question... ECC memory - yes or no? I've done *some* research on how it works, and am really not fond of the idea of a bit of information changing (eg. in an OS drive), to result in total data loss of a NAS. Budget is a factor here, as you'll be able to tell from my choice in the spec below. For my uses however, as a small upstart business, is it worth cheaping out and not running ECC hardware?

 

https://uk.pcpartpicker.com/list/xx4Pp8

 

Does anyone have ideas or specs on a test NAS which I can use to get used to the FreeNAS OS? When I end up building the final archive NAS, would I be able to reuse the hardware, or would it just be better to rebuild that final thing from scratch, and reuse the old NAS as a media centre or something?

 

Cheers \m/

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how much good are you with setting stuff like this up and how much time do you want to spend on this stuff?

it may be better overall if you just get something like a Synology 918+ as a start and see how the business goes.

 

The entire remote access stuff is more or less completely depended on your internet connection so unless you got a solid business connection with minimum 100mbit/s upload thats not gonna be a good experience overall.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Great with hardware setups, and once I've had a practise at getting used to the software/OS, I'm pretty sound. From what I've heard it doesn't take too long to get FreeNAS running (for example as I'm open to using other OSs), or build the machine. The time consuming stuff from my perspective would be transferring all the files, but even then it would only take a day or 2 across a CAT 6 cable, right? 

 

I'll look into the Synology 918+, but had hoped to be able to do something DIY (the whole studio except for speakers and mics) has been built by hand, so that would fit nicely with our homebrew ethos.

 

Re. remote access, it would mainly be used as a substitute for Dropbox if I'm honest. Only for file transfers to/from clients, and if necessary, accessing them ourselves to be downloaded and edited on our main machines. The 10Gb/s networking capability is futureproofing for when we're running two editing machines, referencing media for the same project.

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I’m also in favour of you ditching a custom built and getting a QNAP or Synology instead for your business. 
 

Reasons:

1. This is going to be a critical piece of equipment. As such uptime and warranty should be paramount. Having one contact instead of each part will simplify any processes revolving around warranty issues. 
2. Both Syn and QNAP offer software support about configuration/performance, etc. You can basically call/email them and ask questions and they’ll typically help you. 
3. Simplicity. 
4. Easier expansion. 
 

You can get enterprise grade ones that have 10Gig nics if you need. They also support SSD’s. 
 

Here’s where I would differ slightly. Note: it’ll cost more. 
 

I would recommend buying 2 NAS’s. The primary one would be used as you describe above. The secondary one would be a backup destination (note: not just a sync. A proper backup. Make sure it’s snapshotting with file versioning). 
 

Ideally you move the secondary one off site but that’s not always practical for everyone. 
 

This is because RAID is *not* a backup, and should never be used as such. As a business, you need to fully backup important data to a separate system with file versioning (which protects against viruses and corrupted

files, etc). 
 

Edit: if DIY is that important, most of what I said can be translated into a DIY solution. Get a second NAS and use as backup. 


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* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Ok cool, I've had a google and am liking the QNAP series, especially with the idea of warranty in mind. The offsite backup idea is something I've been thinking heavily on as well!

 

If I were to exclude the uses of file sharing and remote access, and only have the idea of a huge backup drive for archiving projects, would it still be worth getting a NAS by Synology or QNAP, or would it just be worth building a small form factor storage machine that wouldn't be powered on 24/7?

 

Would this in turn remove any need for ECC memory if I took this DIY approach building what is essentially a massive external hard drive for backups?

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5 minutes ago, SsirronTtam said:

Ok cool, I've had a google and am liking the QNAP series, especially with the idea of warranty in mind. The offsite backup idea is something I've been thinking heavily on as well!

 

If I were to exclude the uses of file sharing and remote access, and only have the idea of a huge backup drive for archiving projects, would it still be worth getting a NAS by Synology or QNAP, or would it just be worth building a small form factor storage machine that wouldn't be powered on 24/7?

I would still go QNAP, etc. It leaves you with the easy ability to expand functions without stressing about researching things too heavily. 
 

I also wouldn’t bother turning the storage off. You can do backups overnight when no one is here for example, plus things like patrol reads and SMART testing the drives. Don’t want to do any of that when you’re “open”. 

5 minutes ago, SsirronTtam said:

Would this in turn remove any need for ECC memory if I took this DIY approach building what is essentially a massive external hard drive for backups?

If you go DIY, I would 100% recommend ECC. Bit flips in RAM aren’t that common but they do happen, and you don’t want to have to deal with a critical file being corrupted unnecessarily. 
 

 


For Sale - iPhone SE 32GB - Unlocked - Rose GoldSold

Spoiler

 

 

* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

On that subject actually, what are patrol reads and SMART testing? 

 

I should prob point out as well that in its current state, my studio is a home studio, with plans later on to build on a plot of land, so as I say it's tiny

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1 hour ago, SsirronTtam said:

On that subject actually, what are patrol reads and SMART testing? 

 

I should prob point out as well that in its current state, my studio is a home studio, with plans later on to build on a plot of land, so as I say it's tiny

SMART testing is using your NAS to instruct your HDDs controller to perform one of various tests. 
 

There’s a short and long test. Any errors detected during testing are logged and it updates your SMART HDD stats. This can allow you to catch a drive early before it actually dies. 
 

Patrol Read or Scrub (also known by other names) is a system where a RAID array scans itself for corrupted files and restores those files from parity if needed. Basically an active scan of the entire array (whereas the SMART tests don’t test every sector, and SMART is per HDD as well. 
 

These are complimentary and should both be used. 
 

Synology and QNAP both support these and may even walk you through configuring them. 
 

FreeNAS also supports these. 
 

In all three cases you can create schedules to run on a recurring basis. 
 

With a proper server running a hardware RAID Card (eg: LSI RAID card) the controller on the RAID card handles the patrol read. Sometimes it’s user configurable and sometimes it’s automated. 
 

Software RAID systems often have an advantage with patrol reads/scrubs because they can sometimes tell *which* copy of the file is to be trusted. This helps protect against bit rot (random bit flips on drives due to EM fields generally encountered (such as background radiation, solar activity, etc)). 
 

Most NAS appliances like QNAP use software RAID, usually built on Linux MD or their own RAID file system (Synology has Hybrid RAID which is their own custom MD version. They also allow BTRFS and regular MD raid usually). 
 

FreeNAS uses ZFS which is possibly the most resilient file system but FreeNAS is similar to QNAP software in general but definitely less user friendly. 
 

ZFS is available on Linux and other BSD OS’s as well. 


For Sale - iPhone SE 32GB - Unlocked - Rose GoldSold

Spoiler

 

 

* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

This is super useful, thanks! One more thing...

Quote
On 7/2/2020 at 2:51 PM, dalekphalm said:

RAID is *not* a backup, and should never be used as such.

 

How come? With setups like RAID 5, 6 and 10, the drive redundancy in case of hardware failure is a very appealing factor to me - is it not to be used as a backup system purely because of the risk of complete data loss is something bad happens while an array as rebuilding (after replacing a dead hard drive for example)?

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1 hour ago, SsirronTtam said:

This is super useful, thanks! One more thing...

How come? With setups like RAID 5, 6 and 10, the drive redundancy in case of hardware failure is a very appealing factor to me - is it not to be used as a backup system purely because of the risk of complete data loss is something bad happens while an array as rebuilding (after replacing a dead hard drive for example)?

Let me clarify. RAID can be incorporated into your backup system. 
 

But by itself it is not a backup solution. 
 

Why? Because RAID is designed to ensure minimum downtime. A drive dies and you can keep running the system until you can replace the dead drive. It *ONLY* protects against a hardware drive failure (and only so much as whatever RAID level allows). 
 

RAID does not protect you against an accidental file deletion. It doesn’t protect you from malware. Or corrupt files. Or accidentally saving over a file you were working on and losing work. 
 

So to expand upon that: you have your main location for storing your files. This could either be locally OR on the NAS. 
 

THEN you have backup software backup important files to a different location (another RAID array in the same NAS, another NAS entirely, an external USB HDD, etc). 
 

You want to make sure that your backup system isn’t just syncing files as well (syncing files is not a proper backup unless you only sync new files and changed files and *also* keep old versions and deleted files). 
 

A proper backup system has file versioning which means it keeps old versions of each file you backup. 
 

You also want to use differential (or a variation of) backups so that each time you backup your files it only backs up changed or new files (with a fresh full backup every so often -

once a month for example). 
 

FreeNAS and Synology/QNAP have a feature called snapshotting which can backup files stored on the NAS to another location (another RAID Array on the same NAS, external drive, etc). It’s a bit more complicated then that but depending on the desired setup there are tons of guides, and we can help too. 


For Sale - iPhone SE 32GB - Unlocked - Rose GoldSold

Spoiler

 

 

* Intel i7-4770K * ASRock Z97 Anniversary * 16GB RAM * 750w Seasonic Modular PSU *

* Crucial M4 128GB SSD (Primary) * Hitachi 500GB HDD (Secondary) *

* Gigabyte HD 7950 WF3 * SATA Blu-Ray Writer * Logitech g710+ * Windows 10 Pro x64 *

 

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:51 PM, dalekphalm said:

I’m also in favour of you ditching a custom built and getting a QNAP or Synology instead for your business. 
 

Reasons:

1. This is going to be a critical piece of equipment. As such uptime and warranty should be paramount. Having one contact instead of each part will simplify any processes revolving around warranty issues. 
2. Both Syn and QNAP offer software support about configuration/performance, etc. You can basically call/email them and ask questions and they’ll typically help you. 
3. Simplicity. 
4. Easier expansion. 
 

You can get enterprise grade ones that have 10Gig nics if you need. They also support SSD’s. 
 

Here’s where I would differ slightly. Note: it’ll cost more. 
 

I would recommend buying 2 NAS’s. The primary one would be used as you describe above. The secondary one would be a backup destination (note: not just a sync. A proper backup. Make sure it’s snapshotting with file versioning). 
 

Ideally you move the secondary one off site but that’s not always practical for everyone. 
 

This is because RAID is *not* a backup, and should never be used as such. As a business, you need to fully backup important data to a separate system with file versioning (which protects against viruses and corrupted

files, etc). 
 

Edit: if DIY is that important, most of what I said can be translated into a DIY solution. Get a second NAS and use as backup. 

I disagree with with 1-4.

 

1, It is a backup, therefore up time is only really important during the back up processes - it doesn't sound like he is using the NAS for 'ongoing' projects, pulling data throughout the day to complete work - so uptime seems less important - maybe that is wrong and what he wants is something like what LTT has, where he is pulling data constantly from storage, but I didn't get that impresison.

 

2, If you do it yourself, you will learn and be able to troubleshoot for yourself - sure you may spend a LONG time getting the basics down...been there, still doing that, but now at least if something goes wrong, I have a working knowledge of what is actually going on and that may assist when things turn off;

 

3, FreeNAS is pretty simple, if you want plug and play, sure, but then you will need to rely on 2 because you won't know what is going on - I am a big fan of learning for yourself and being a little more reliant.  Customer service and especially Tech Support, is notoriously annoying and pretty slow because they are working entirely blind on what is going on with your system.

 

4, How would it be harder to expand on FreeNAS than Synology or QNAP? You add more drives, make a new pool - that is it on FreeNAS.

 

Doesn't sound like he needs contiguous data storage where he needs a single pool to expand in line with the data.  He can create new pools.  Might even assist him in terms of not having to deal with huge pools of 100tb, but instead 10 pools of 10tb so he can go to a single pool and find the project data from a particular date range, for example.

 

I am not convinced that for a business that is just expanding that spending money on Synology or QNAP is really necessary.  You can build a FreeNAS server pretty cheap if all you want to do is backup data onto it...in fact, the most expensive part will be the HDD themselves, as you will want to get large capacity enterprise drives and they run to a few hundred quid a pop.

 

If all you want is to backup data, and occasionally be able to retrieve it, you don't need a lot of RAM, you don't need a powerful CPU, all you need is HDD.


In relation to RAID cards, I think you are going well overboard for this use case.

 

The man has 11tb of storage, of which 5tb is left, which means he has used 6tb of storage.


This is clearly not a man storing 8k footage.  He doesn't need a RAID card, he doesn't need any of that....yet.

 

That may change, but realistically speaking, with FreeNAS, he will do just fine with RaidZ in software for the storage capacities he will be dealing with.

 

He can buy 3 14th HDD for £1,000 in the UK, and have somewhere in the region of about 28tb of storage, which is nearly 3 times what he has currently.  He doesn't need a RAID card, he will easily have 3 SATA ports on a MB.

 

In 5 years, when he has a multi-room studio, with 10 employees, he can come back and talk to us again, and I will wholeheartedly agree with you in relation to what he needs.


But for where he is? You are selling him a Lambourghini when all he needs is a bus pass.

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Though I do agree, get two NAS for your use case.

 

One on-site, one at home.  Back them every night and you will be golden.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
9 minutes ago, Dravinian said:

I disagree with with 1-4.

 

1, It is a backup, therefore up time is only really important during the back up processes - it doesn't sound like he is using the NAS for 'ongoing' projects, pulling data throughout the day to complete work - so uptime seems less important - maybe that is wrong and what he wants is something like what LTT has, where he is pulling data constantly from storage, but I didn't get that impresison.

 

2, If you do it yourself, you will learn and be able to troubleshoot for yourself - sure you may spend a LONG time getting the basics down...been there, still doing that, but now at least if something goes wrong, I have a working knowledge of what is actually going on and that may assist when things turn off;

 

3, FreeNAS is pretty simple, if you want plug and play, sure, but then you will need to rely on 2 because you won't know what is going on - I am a big fan of learning for yourself and being a little more reliant.  Customer service and especially Tech Support, is notoriously annoying and pretty slow because they are working entirely blind on what is going on with your system.

 

4, How would it be harder to expand on FreeNAS than Synology or QNAP? You add more drives, make a new pool - that is it on FreeNAS.

 

Doesn't sound like he needs contiguous data storage where he needs a single pool to expand in line with the data.  He can create new pools.  Might even assist him in terms of not having to deal with huge pools of 100tb, but instead 10 pools of 10tb so he can go to a single pool and find the project data from a particular date range, for example.

 

I am not convinced that for a business that is just expanding that spending money on Synology or QNAP is really necessary.  You can build a FreeNAS server pretty cheap if all you want to do is backup data onto it...in fact, the most expensive part will be the HDD themselves, as you will want to get large capacity enterprise drives and they run to a few hundred quid a pop.

 

If all you want is to backup data, and occasionally be able to retrieve it, you don't need a lot of RAM, you don't need a powerful CPU, all you need is HDD.


In relation to RAID cards, I think you are going well overboard for this use case.

 

The man has 11tb of storage, of which 5tb is left, which means he has used 6tb of storage.


This is clearly not a man storing 8k footage.  He doesn't need a RAID card, he doesn't need any of that....yet.

 

That may change, but realistically speaking, with FreeNAS, he will do just fine with RaidZ in software for the storage capacities he will be dealing with.

 

He can buy 3 14th HDD for £1,000 in the UK, and have somewhere in the region of about 28tb of storage, which is nearly 3 times what he has currently.  He doesn't need a RAID card, he will easily have 3 SATA ports on a MB.

 

In 5 years, when he has a multi-room studio, with 10 employees, he can come back and talk to us again, and I will wholeheartedly agree with you in relation to what he needs.


But for where he is? You are selling him a Lambourghini when all he needs is a bus pass.

Agree with all of this, and the offsite backup is being pre arranged with my assistant engineer(s) as my studio *is* my home :P

 

Thanks for all the info! ^

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