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Considering NAS/SAN, how to make it fast?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'll be doing non-linear video editing (After Effects, Lightworks type), RAW -> JPEG conversions, and 3D modeling/physics simulations. All of my uses from time to time need fast access times and transfer rates. About 1TB in RAID 1 will be enough for storage.

Will a NAS be fast enough (about 50MB/s read)?
Can normal NAS stations be configured to be SAN (ie. system drive-like, for example letter E:/), and is there any real negative effect if I do so? (as I understood, I should be able to install and run applications from it then if I so desire)

Thanks for your time!
EDIT: wait, now that I think of it can't NAS drives be assigned to letters too?
Edited by seepra - 12/5/12 at 4:19am
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post #2 of 15
I can't speak to pre built NAS systems as I don't personally own one, they are supposed to read in the 60 - 80mb/s range - now from my personal experience of a NAS that i've built, it does 100 - 120Mb/s read/write (i.e. it fully saturates a Gigabit Ethernet) - Yes it will mount as a drive letter depending on how you set it up and which software you use (I use FreeNAS v.8)

I suppose you could install software to it, though I would personally keep software to a local machine so that you don't run into other issues later down the road and just keep the NAS as a storage device.

Of course if you're doing this in a professional capacity, a NAS may not be your first choice, something a bit more local and attached (i.e. Firewire, eSATA, Thunderbolt, etc.) would be a bit more logical.
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
The USB 3.0 drive and USB 2.0 drives I've owned haven't really proven to be too reliable, I don't know why but independent from the motherboard, I've gotten dropouts (device suddenly "unplugged" etc.), some refuse to defragment, some start hanging at long file transfers.. I would much prefer 3.5" HDDs, that I can manage the RAID myself with.

The FreeNAS solution sounds great, I will look into it!
I'm still open for commercial 2-bay solutions if anyone knows a fast/well performing one. Any other sources like http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ that would be good for research?
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post #4 of 15
The difference between SAN and NAS is all about how the files are accessed. NAS uses file protocols such as SMB, CIFS, NFS, etc to access files at the file level, whereas SAN uses block level protocols such as iSCSI and Fibre Channel.

Anyway, if you will be accessing these files on this NAS device from only one PC, I would recommend eSATA. eSATA NAS's will generally be cheaper, which means you should be able to get a 4-drive NAS pretty cheap. Load it up with 4 2TB (2TB have a better price per gb than 1TB drives) and build a Raid 10 for some awesome performance. Since eSATA is rated at 3Gbps (or 3072Mbps, or 384 MBps), you would get the speed you would need at a port level, and 4 2TB 7200RPM drives in a Raid 10 should yield close to the same speed.

Alternatively, if you are accessing from multiple PCs, you would want a gigabit connection. a Gigabit NIC runs at 1Gbps, obviously. 1Gbps is equal to 1024Mbps, or 128MBps. Still fast enough for your requirements, but not faster than eSATA. If you want better than that for multiple PCs, you would need to get a SAN with multiple nics, and set up an iSCSI target utilizing MPIO...which is a lot more work than you probably want to deal with.

Again, I would just recommend a 4-bay eSATA. The nice thing about eSATA NAS's, is they usually have USB 3.0 as well. These will usually run you about $150-250, without drives.

EDIT:
Sans Digital 4-bay Raid 0/1/10/5/JBOD enclosure, that comes with a 2 port eSATA card. ($149.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816111164

Rosewill Raid 0/1/10/5/5+1/JBOD enclosure, also comes with eSATA PCIe card. ($119.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132029
Edited by tycoonbob - 12/5/12 at 6:21am
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't think I can do eSATA. My motherboard has no eSATA connection, and I've got room for two PCI-e slots, which will both be occupied by a GPU. USB being out of the question, I think I'll have to stick to a gigabit one.
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post #6 of 15
NAS also have more overhead due to network protocols. A NAS can be mapped to a drive letter as a network share.

Why do you even need a NAS or SAN for only 1TB?

SAN and NAS are useful to abstract storage for expandability and maintainence. They also allow different storage architectures for performance. NAS also provide the benefit of shared storage. If you need 1TB in RAID0.... why not use the native controller and install the HDDs internally?
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I would prefer to store the media away from my computer case for portability reasons. I forgot to mention that even though I don't want to use USB as my main connection, it would be beneficial if I ever have to move to another workstation. Basically, I could go for a RAID 1-able USB device, but since I've never viewed USB as too reliable I'd prefer another interface, and with eSATA out of the question Gigabit ethernet seems like the only viable choice.

Of course, if there are 4-bay NAS on the cheap, I could look for one of those, more space is never a problem.
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by seepra View Post

I would prefer to store the media away from my computer case for portability reasons. I forgot to mention that even though I don't want to use USB as my main connection, it would be beneficial if I ever have to move to another workstation. Basically, I could go for a RAID 1-able USB device, but since I've never viewed USB as too reliable I'd prefer another interface, and with eSATA out of the question Gigabit ethernet seems like the only viable choice.
Of course, if there are 4-bay NAS on the cheap, I could look for one of those, more space is never a problem.

Newegg Shell Shocker right now is a 4x bay NAS with USB 3.0 PCIe card for $150: http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?cm_sp=ShellShocker-_-1149457-_-12052012_1


No idea about the quality of the company though.
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've got 4x USB 3.0 natively on my Mini-ITX motherboard, and can't fit another PCI-e device since my GPU will take both slots.

EDIT: Also, I live in Finland.

EDIT2: There's a slight chance I might be getting a laptop soon, so having the storage accessible from the network would be easiest with the NAS in that regard too. A Cloud solution (being able to access the NAS from my phone) would be cool too, and for LAN accessibility, I think USB and eSATA are out of the question?
Edited by seepra - 12/5/12 at 7:55am
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by seepra View Post

I've got 4x USB 3.0 natively on my Mini-ITX motherboard, and can't fit another PCI-e device since my GPU will take both slots.
EDIT: Also, I live in Finland.
EDIT2: There's a slight chance I might be getting a laptop soon, so having the storage accessible from the network would be easiest with the NAS in that regard too. A Cloud solution (being able to access the NAS from my phone) would be cool too, and for LAN accessibility, I think USB and eSATA are out of the question?

So a NAS is what you want.... however, you are negating the your initial request for "fast access times and transfer rates".
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