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  • Small video production company needs an healthy storage system

  • Alex Martinelli

    June 17, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Alex and I’m working for a small production company here in France.
    The company is pretty new and I would like to set-up a sturdy way of dealing with media management.

    Today, we are still using external drives which makes it really messy and I think it is time is to go for a NAS.

    Before doing it, I still have a few question that I need to resolve to be sure I can present this solution to the company having all the information I need.

    Where we are right now :

    What is stored on the disk now are Final Cut Pro X Libraries that we grab when we need to work on it, work from the laptop, and update to the new version (basically we replace the library).

    We are currently 9 people in the company which need access to the datas.
    4 filmmakers more intensively than others (and 1 is living 500km away).
    Today we have to send we transfer and hands hard drive to colleagues.

    What do we want :

    At least 80 TB with Raid 5 or 6 and I want it to be expandable to be able to see the future coming.

    Have everything accessible through the network, either locally and remotely to be able to grab and update files from anywhere.

    Having a Cloud backup to entirely copy what’s in the NAS.

    What I plan to buy :

    So I’ve seen the synology DS 1817 and the 1819+
    The processor on the 1819+ is faster, but what are the other differences ? I’m kinda lost between all the references.
    Do we need more than 4GB of RAM ?

    For the drives, I’m planning to get 8x 10TB seagate IronWolf 7200rpm. Are they any you recommend or this would be fine ?

    Guess I’ll need a switch right ? Would the Buffalo BS-MP2012 be any good ?

    Questions :

    How to plug this ? We are in a building with there own internet infrastructure and I’m not sure that we can access this system.

    We have on each desk an internet Cable cat6 1Gb. They do plan to go to 10GBE in a near future.
So my guess is that I need to grab one of those, plug it into one of the 4 port at the back of the unit, and I’ll be able to redistribute 3 1GBe lines. Is that right ? And what if I need more users ? Is that when I’ll need a switch ?
    What’s up with the bandwidth though ? And if I need 10Gbe ? (editing 4k sometimes, would that be mandatory ?).

    Maybe I’m taking this wrong ? Also thinking of pluging the NAS to the switch with 4 cat6 cables and pull some line from the switch to the computers ?

    I’m kind of drowning in all the infos available everywhere, and these are the first questions coming to myself. I have plenty more but at some point I feel I just need to make sure this would suit my needs and then try it and adjust it.

    Thanks a lot for reading this. I’m really glad I have found this community.

  • Bob Zelin

    June 17, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Hello Alex –
    I am going to answer your question in detail, but before I do – I know for a fact that other dealers and manufacturers look at this forum. I would like all of them to make an observation from your post (and all of them already know this) –

    Do you see how Alex has chosen the Synology 1819+. And he is suffering why he needs to purchase this model, instead of the cheaper DS 1817. Do you see how Alex has researched switches, and is asking about Buffalo and not Netgear, Dell, or more expensive Arista, Cisco, Extreme Networks, etc. Alex has done excellent research, and his research has led him to one common denominator. The same common denominator that EVERYONE is asking today – the same common demoninator everyone on Reddit asks about – WHAT IS THE CHEAPEST THING I CAN GET (down to the penny) that will still work for me. Even though Alex is in France, and has easy tech access to GB Labs, and DDP, he is asking about Synology, because of it’s price (and it’s probably still too expensive). I want to shove this fact down your throats (not you Alex !) – so that you understand where the market is right now. This is why I do what I do, not because of a particular brand that I have loyalty to. I want to stay in business.

    Hello Alex – I apologize for the nonsense above, but I fully understand what you are looking for.
    It will be difficult for me to answer all of your questions in a single post response, but I will do my best.
    The DS1817 appears that it is no longer manufactured. I believe the DS1817 was using the horrible Amazon Annapurna CPU processor which was slow. I understand that this model probably came with a free dual port 10G card, but this is the wrong box for you. Should you decide to choose a Synology product, in my opinion the Synology DS1819+ is the least expensive model that you should choose. You MUST purchase an optional dual port 10G NIC card from Synology for this system. Without 10G ethernet, this system is useless, and YES, you must have eight matching 7200 RPM drives in this system. The 10G port will connect to a 10G ethernet switch.

    You have selected the Buffalo BS-MP2012. This is a 12 port 10G switch. I have never installed one of these.
    You have 9 client computers that need to access the data from this NAS box. I would suggest from my experience that you choose a Netgear XS712Tv2 12 port switch, or a Netgear XS716T 16 port 10G switch. This does not mean that the Buffalo BS-MP2012 will not do the same job. I have just never installed one personally, and I do not know how it will perform. It is not popular in the United States.

    As for the NAS box itself, I have installed the DS1819+, and I have installed the equivalent QNAP TVS-873e (also with optional 10G NIC card). I can assure you that the slightly more expensive QNAP TVS-872XT-16G for $1899 US is a dramatically better, faster product. This model has a built in 10G port, and eight SATA drive slots, and is expandable with 6 expansion chassis.

    With that said – you have NINE (9) clients that will connect to this. If all of them want to do 4K editing, this will be pushing the limits of what any of these boxes can do. At that point, I would suggest a more expensive box – the QNAP TS-1685, which is a 12 bay model, with built in dual 10G NIC ports. This would connect to your 12 or 16 port 10G switch, and all 9 of your client computers would connect to this switch. The price of the TS-1685 without drives is $2899 US.

    The Seagate Ironwolf 7200 RPM drives are an excellent choice. With an 8 bay chassis after RAID 6 (where you can have 2 drives fail) – you will have 60 TB of usable storage. With a 12 bay chassis, like the TS-1685, after RAID 6, you will have 120 TB raw, and 100 TB of usable storage after RAID 6.

    If you want wired internet, I would insist on TWO CAT 6 wires per computer workstation. One for your house wired internet, and one dedicated for the 10G NIC port on the computer, that would connect to the 10G switch (either Netgear or Buffalo).

    I am fully available to answer any further questions that you may have. I am sorry if I missed any of the critical points that you may have been asking –

    oh –
    for remote access to the editor that is 500 km away from you –
    you create Proxy files for him. He would then remote into your QNAP over the internet, download those proxy files, edit the show in proxy, and put the project data file back onto the QNAP over the internet. It would then be your responsibility to conform the show from his project file, back to the original full res media. The internet is simply not fast enough to transmit full res 4K ProRes files for someone to do remote editing.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Rich Rubasch

    June 18, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Probably one of the tastiest and most satisfying posts from Zelin I’ve read in a while. I visit here just to see how Bob thinks.

    It’s always worth it….this time, especially so.

    Rich Rubasch
    Tilt Media Inc.
    Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

  • Will Duncan

    June 18, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    I’m currently in the midst of a production that is utilizing a DS1618+ with 10GbE, and I’ve used the 19+ on several occasions. For a single editor or lighter load with up to 3 editors, they’ve held up fine. But under an intensive load (4k+, multicam or too many users) or during any type of maintenance/drive rebuilds they’ve been a pain. Mostly just running slow/bottlenecks for editors and nothing is worse than frustrated editors and nothing you can do about it because you didn’t want to spend $2000 more on much better hardware.

    I haven’t used a QNAP in a heavy shared environment though, I was a fan of Synology because of the simplicity of the software/management and ease of setup, but I really only use them as file-servers and personal media servers. A QNAP at 3x the chassis price is well worth it for the hardware alone to avoid bottlenecks down the road. They appear to just be better built with a lot more horsepower.

    As Bob was saying, I also haven’t installed or even seen a buffalo 10GbE switch in the wild. I would seriously consider the Netgear options he mentioned. I have been lucky enough to have Aristas for most productions I have worked on.

    If you have one off-site editor, and you can control your workflow to have a very organized file structure, you could put a small synology or something on your remote editors desk and have it sync proxies over public internet to them. It’s possible depending on the amount of data you are typically sending at once. It’s also a small hard drive / shipment away if it’s too much to sync. Or consider researching if low-resolution proxies could work. Sometimes we’ve run into complicated problems during final assembly cause an editor worked int he wrong timeline size with low-res proxies and it adds a lot of hours to fix.

  • Bob Zelin

    June 19, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    I would like to address Will’s comment on the Synology painful rebuild time.
    “But under an intensive load (4k+, multicam or too many users) or during any type of maintenance/drive rebuilds they’ve been a pain.”

    It is my opinion that the painfully slow rebuild time of a Synology is simply due to the fact that the default format of the Synology (when you first put in the drives and create the RAID group) is BTRFS. When you configure the Synology, and select EXT4 (which is a standard linux forum, that is used by QNAP and many others) – instead of the default BTRFS, your rebuild times will be in hours, not days – for a failed drive.

    I just did a google search on this, and was shocked to find this Synology white paper on this very subject –
    “However, it is known that Btrfs RAID is unstable and not suitable for production environments. For this reason, Synology chose Linux RAID over Btrfs RAID. ”

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Will Duncan

    June 19, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks. Yes, I am aware of the BTRFS being the root cause of the slow rebuild time, unfortunately it’s not my box and it’s the cards I was dealt. But 9/10 Synology systems that other people set up will be set to the default without any thought, and it’s a problem I constantly come across.

    However on most servers, including btrfs on bigger synology chassis back before I knew better, we’ve been able to work off them during a rebuild. Is the slowness of the server during a rebuild just a lack of horsepower? or bottleneck due to it being a 6-8 drive setup? On a 12 bay chassis I don’t hit the same limitations. On non btrfs systems, it’s never been an issue that I can think of.

  • Bob Zelin

    June 20, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Will –
    you purchase the right product and there is no problem. If we are talking about Synology, you purchase a
    Synology RS18017xs+ for $5999, and there will never be a problem and no one will complain. You buy the
    DS1618+ for $719 with the horrible Intel ATOM 3538 CPU processor, and you will get what you have right now.

    Same applies to QNAP (and every other brand). If you buy the correct model, it will work great. If you buy the cheapest thing you can possibly get – well, then you will get garbage.

    This is why you STILL see people who cut on AVID say “we must have an AVID Nexis, because nothing else works”.
    Because when many production companies try to avoid the right hardware, and buy the cheapest thing they can possibly get – well, nothing works, and that original person comes back and says “see – I told you – we should have bought the AVID Nexis”.

    Bob Zelin

    Bob Zelin
    Rescue 1, Inc.
    [email protected]

  • Carine Bey

    June 24, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Dear Alex,

    I would be pleased to get in touch with you and show how GB Labs could help. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] if youwould like to have a chat.

    Many thanks,


  • Alex Martinelli

    June 24, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Hi everyone.

    Thank you so much for all the advices you already gave me. It’s all a science ! and of course experience, the most valuable asset… I had to read the thread a few times before I could reply to you (and it is pretty busy over here).. so thanks for you patience (hope you still there..).

    Bob, you really made a point in your first paragraph. I’m glad somebody with that much experience is the link between brands and customers.

    Regarding the router
    I will present the 12 ports 10G option as it seems you and Will Duncan are satisfied about it. I understand that you never set-up the Buffalo, but I’m wondering in which way this could be bad ? Bottleneck I guess ?

    Concerning the box itself
    This is exactly why I came on forums. If you says though, that the DS 1819+ would do the job , I think I will have to present that option because the company is small and every cost should be carefully watched if we want to be able to survive till we stabilise.

    My intuition is telling me that the « cheapest that can do the job » will win, until we can rest a bit about business (in the meanwhile we still need to store !!! -that first paragraph says it all to me-.

    I will still push for the QNAP TVS-872XT-16G with 10G Cards.

    The way we are working is not that hungry of ressources the same for the 9 people. 2 (3 max.) people will just cut down some interview to build a storyline, and then pass it to a « filmmaker » which is gonna put images on top and push the project. The Filmmaker are definitely more likely to build huge projects, and spend some more time using the ressources. I said 9, but now it is 4 Filmmaker and 3 « Storyteller ».

    So to keep a bit of margin, I am thinking of asking the Storyteller to get the files on their laptop, edit it off from there and just send the XML to the Filmmaker so the NAS would not be super stressed when everybody is in the party.

    About the RAID
    You do really recommand RAID 6.. I had an eye about RAID 5 to « spare » one drive but I’ve also read that drives have their chance of fail bumped up during recovering. Should I also make sure the drives are not from the same batch as they have (like we all do) their « time to live » ?

    Thanks again for you great help, and yes Carine, let’s get in touch see where this could go.

    Alex Martinelli

  • Rich Rubasch

    June 24, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    For us RAID 5 is perfect. All we have on our main RAID volume is the raw footage that is double backed up as soon as it comes in the building. Then every night we back up the project file volume to 10 TB Iron Wolf’s. Drives have been a major workhorse over the years and I have had two failures in 19 years. Backups saved the day.

    So since we went with 4 TB drives with only 8 bays we needed the extra space and our backups will give us the peace of mind if the RAID fails.

    I’d almost go RAID 0 just for space sake as long as we have solid backup procedures.

    Also we auto save our projects to our internal drives so they are not on the NAS in case of failure….at least we have the project files.

    Rich Rubasch
    Tilt Media Inc.
    Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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