New NAS for mixed Mac and Windows

urapnes

n00b
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May 29, 2011
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48
Hey there...looking for advice.

My wife is starting a photography studio which will include a couple of Macbooks a Mac mini, and a windows 10 laptop.
The macbooks will be used to retouch images, the mini will be used for displaying images to clients, and the windows machine will be my wifes daily driver.

I am starting to research options for a NAS to store images (raw files) from the photo shoots. The windows machine will be backing up financial data to the NAS and occasionally reviewing images processed on the macs. Every machine will connect via ethernet and/or wireless.

The primary concern is the ability to backup the images from the macs as quickly as possible. Avg file sizes are in the neighborhood of 40MB each. (lets say each shoot will produce 4gigs worth of data and there will be upto 6 shoots per day)

I am learning about all the different options (apple file sharing, SMB, SMB2, etc.), but would appreciate any guidance the think-tank has to offer.

In summary, I would like help to understand which is the best protocol to use in a mac heavy environment.
 

VRT

Limp Gawd
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I really like FreeNas, I have used it for years and it works great.
 

Bandalo

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Bite the bullet and get a Synology or QNAP 4-drive NAS. It'll last you for years, and will work in any environment with a minimum of fiddling and a lot of backup options.
 

_Gea

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Dec 5, 2010
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In former time it was easy.
Microsoft developped SMB and Apple AFP for sharing. MS does not support AFP and Apple supports SMB but was a lot faster with AFP.

Now Apple switched to SMB2+ as default because it is now the de facto sharing standard with much more features than AFP. In the meantime SMB was even faster on Macs than AFP, see my tests http://napp-it.org/doc/downloads/performance_smb2.pdf

There was a hope then to ditch AFP especially as it was a constant source of trouble on non Mac systems (Linux, Solaris) especially when combined with SMB as netatalk was always behind Apple with quite a lot of bugs on one or the other Linux/Unix.

The situation now
- Timemachine works with AFP and SMB3, with tweaks with any Share but is slow as it must copy all data
- SMB on Macs is much slower than on Windows, needs some tweaks, see https://dpron.com/os-x-10-11-5-slow-smb/
- AFP and Windows SMB is quite incompatible regarding permissions

What I do: despite some performance problems on current OSX: SMB2+ only on ZFS
(on 10G only 300MB/s and not the possible 900 MB/s like with former OSX). May be not as relevant
on 1G networks with around 100MB/s but 10G networks can be much faster than a local Sata SSD.

ZFS gives you the most secure filesystem with versioning/snaps. A lot better than the timemachine crap as you can do as many readonly snaps as you want without any copy or delay on creation. Keep all files on the ZFS NAS.

ZFS is extreme stable and secure with versioning (snaps) to recover deleted files. To protect the disaster case (fire, theft) do backups. This can be done with additional disks. In your case I would place a second system in a different room/location and replicate the data with zfs send. This allows to keep the two systems in sync even on high load servers in the Petabyte area. You can create a different snap retention policy on both systems (on the main filer quite often like snaps every 15min last hour or every hour this day and every day this month, on the backupsystem maybe keep snaps longer)

Hardware wise, use serverclass hardware, cheapest is a HP microserver G8 or similar with 8GB ECC RAM or more.
Add a webmanaged ZFS storage appliance. My favourite is Solaris, the ZFS origin, either with the commercial Solaris
(fastest and most feature rich of all options) or a free Solaris fork around OmniOS or OpenIndiana with NexentaStor as a commercial option.
They give you absolutely the best integration of ZFS with the OS and services like SMB, NFS and iSCSI, mostly in a zero config manner and all supported by the OS maintainer itself (Oracle or Illumos). For them I had developped the napp-it web appliance add on that you can use for free in a base version even commercially .

Other options are around the BSD operating system like a native FreeBSD (using a core OS gives you always newest features and fixes) or systems where a special OS release and the Web-UI is combined like FreeNAS or Nas4Free or iX as commercial option.

Use a directly connected USB disk with HFS+ on a Mac for local OS backup and restore. Backups are much faster then than over the net as you must copy all data. Keep all user/ photo data on the ZFS NAS (security is much higher there than on the local HFS+). In this case you must not fiddle with netatalk on Unix/Linux.
 
Last edited:

VRT

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
460
Bite the bullet and get a Synology or QNAP 4-drive NAS. It'll last you for years, and will work in any environment with a minimum of fiddling and a lot of backup options.

I have seen many problems from both of these systems!
 

Bandalo

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I have seen many problems from both of these systems!

I've seen far fewer problems with those types of dedicated system that the "build-your-own" approach. If you're a pro, then FreeNAS is a great solution. If you're not, the other options are far superior.

Hell, I consider myself somewhat of a pro, and I'll still swear by my Synology NAS. It's been running solid for me since late 2011, with no major issues.
 

urapnes

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May 29, 2011
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Lots of great stuff here! I need to re-read it again. Thank you to everyone who has posted.
 

Machupo

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I've seen far fewer problems with those types of dedicated system that the "build-your-own" approach. If you're a pro, then FreeNAS is a great solution. If you're not, the other options are far superior.


I certainly consider myself a relative noob with BSD, but have been running FreeBSD (plex, sonarr, AFP/SMB/Unix shares, etc) without issue for over two years. The new UI really makes it pretty straightforward to get shares working; you only need to revert to SSH when you want to do something custom (e.g. I built a quick temps reporting script so I could closely monitor temps... even though e-mail notification of boundary condition breach is already built into the UI).
 

Shogon

Limp Gawd
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I have seen many problems from both of these systems!
I have been lucky I suppose with the QNAP NAS solutions. I used to have my own HTPC I built, but I figured might as well go to a 2 bay NAS, save power, use less space, and is pretty straight forward. Even with a quad core atom I've been pretty happy with the streaming quality to my TV/phone with Plex. Speaking of it's probably time I restart my NAS.
sfaf.png
 

Bandalo

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I have been lucky I suppose with the QNAP NAS solutions. I used to have my own HTPC I built, but I figured might as well go to a 2 bay NAS, save power, use less space, and is pretty straight forward. Even with a quad core atom I've been pretty happy with the streaming quality to my TV/phone with Plex. Speaking of it's probably time I restart my NAS. View attachment 20295

No need to restart it unless it's having problems. Mine ran for literally 9 months while I was on deployment. My wife did no maintenance, no restarts, the UPS kept it up for the brief power outages we had while I was gone. And she used the shared folders daily.

All I did when I got back was update some of the "apps" and install the latest OS updates.
 

VRT

Limp Gawd
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Messages
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I've seen far fewer problems with those types of dedicated system that the "build-your-own" approach. If you're a pro, then FreeNAS is a great solution. If you're not, the other options are far superior.

Hell, I consider myself somewhat of a pro, and I'll still swear by my Synology NAS. It's been running solid for me since late 2011, with no major issues.

Couple of things here, if you cheap out with the "build-your-own" approach yes you will have problems with the system.

We have a couple of storage sets that are currently running FreeNAS, they store more than a couple of PB of data, and have had 0 unplanned downtime over years. On these systems we do not use anything but quality gear and they are using 45 drives in each chassis with 3 warm spares, using RaidZ2 on each vDev. We get uptimes in the range of what Novell used to get when it was 3.x. Most of our planned downtime has been able to be scheduled months out and just due to growth of the array. Some of these sets have files on them with snapshots over 8 years old, and started life with 6x250GB drives that same storage set now has 7 vDevs and each vDev has 6x8TB drives. These sets went from 1TB available to 224TB usable, I understand these are commercial non-related systems but think about it.

I certainly consider myself a relative noob with BSD, but have been running FreeBSD (plex, sonarr, AFP/SMB/Unix shares, etc) without issue for over two years. The new UI really makes it pretty straightforward to get shares working; you only need to revert to SSH when you want to do something custom (e.g. I built a quick temps reporting script so I could closely monitor temps... even though e-mail notification of boundary condition breach is already built into the UI).

This is very common with these systems. Also rather saying FreeBSD, aren't you thinking that you are using FreeNAS that runs on top of FreeBSD.

I have never seen this problem with FreeNAS, but I have a few customers that had this happen to them.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/8337/synology-advises-users-of-synolocker-ransomware
 

capt_cope

Gawd
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Apr 12, 2009
Messages
944
Since this is for your wife (not your own use), and for a business, and you're asking questions: I'd go with synology. I've got a little two bay unit and it was so simple to setup it blew me away. Currently I'm backing up two windows machines (and syncing these backups with google drive) and a mac mini (time machine) as well as hosting a share for my media on a plex server. If you want something that works without fiddling, dedicated nas box is the way to go (unless you know what you're doing already) in my opinion.
 

mrwizardno2

Limp Gawd
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Messages
206
I wanted to second the "buy something" vs "build something" sentiment. I've got a Netgear ReadyNAS Pro Business 6 bay that I've had for 9+ years. It runs a Core2 Duo and 4 gigs of ram. Thing has lasted this long with only failed hard drives (which were easily replaced without data loss). Upgrading disk capacity was as simple as pulling one drive and putting in a larger drive - it automatically scales the volume without you having to fiddle with anything. It's built like a tank, quiet, and dependable.

This thing easily saturates a gigabit link. It's easy to upgrade, easy to understand, and it does all the file sharing protocols you could want. AFP, SMB, HTTP/S, others.

I definitely recommend something like this. Either a Netgear or Synology. I feel like this is easy enough my parents could use it.
 

Bandalo

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Couple of things here, if you cheap out with the "build-your-own" approach yes you will have problems with the system.

We have a couple of storage sets that are currently running FreeNAS, they store more than a couple of PB of data, and have had 0 unplanned downtime over years. On these systems we do not use anything but quality gear and they are using 45 drives in each chassis with 3 warm spares, using RaidZ2 on each vDev. We get uptimes in the range of what Novell used to get when it was 3.x. Most of our planned downtime has been able to be scheduled months out and just due to growth of the array. Some of these sets have files on them with snapshots over 8 years old, and started life with 6x250GB drives that same storage set now has 7 vDevs and each vDev has 6x8TB drives. These sets went from 1TB available to 224TB usable, I understand these are commercial non-related systems but think about it.

I know you can build and operate high-end and high-reliability NAS devices with FreeNAS and the build-your-own. But your example alone shows you know what you're doing. For a home user or newbie, Synology or QNAP make something that's also high quality and reliability, but can be setup and running in minutes and require near-zero maintenance. You pay a bit more, but I think you get your money's worth in those cases.
 

acascianelli

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Unless you're going to build your own, I'd recommend QNap, or Synology. I'm running an older Synology DS212j at home with my mixed Linux/Windows/Mac environment.
 

Machupo

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This is very common with these systems. Also rather saying FreeBSD, aren't you thinking that you are using FreeNAS that runs on top of FreeBSD.

Good point -- FreeNAS for sure ;)
 

VRT

Limp Gawd
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I know you can build and operate high-end and high-reliability NAS devices with FreeNAS and the build-your-own. But your example alone shows you know what you're doing. For a home user or newbie, Synology or QNAP make something that's also high quality and reliability, but can be setup and running in minutes and require near-zero maintenance. You pay a bit more, but I think you get your money's worth in those cases.

Yes, I do know what I am doing but I also know that if you were to buy a small server with two-six drives from Dell/HP etc, FreeNAS is extremely simple to install. The hardest part of the whole thing is writing the USB image from the download.
 

Shogon

Limp Gawd
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No need to restart it unless it's having problems. Mine ran for literally 9 months while I was on deployment. My wife did no maintenance, no restarts, the UPS kept it up for the brief power outages we had while I was gone. And she used the shared folders daily.

All I did when I got back was update some of the "apps" and install the latest OS updates.
I just restart it once a month for some reason. Not sure why haha. Having it on an UPS also adds to the "set it and forget it" approach.
 

VRT

Limp Gawd
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I just restart it once a month for some reason. Not sure why haha. Having it on an UPS also adds to the "set it and forget it" approach.

I have fairly reliable power where I live, but anything that isn't a laptop has a computer has a UPS on it at my home. All of my switches have PoE, they are also into a UPS so they power my APs etc.
 

VRT

Limp Gawd
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You might want to also look at the option to have a Windows box with storage, install StarWind Virtual SAN Free on top and it will provide you with an SMB/NFS share that then can be used for both backups and photos :)

I would never run anything that I want to be reliable on WinBlows, it is fine for desktops but not for servers.
 

Ranulfo

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Yes, I do know what I am doing but I also know that if you were to buy a small server with two-six drives from Dell/HP etc, FreeNAS is extremely simple to install. The hardest part of the whole thing is writing the USB image from the download.

FreeNas is fine until you have a problem with it (say permissions in windows) and you need support (have lots of free time or be a pro). If I was to go that route, I would just buy a system from iX and get support straight from them. I'd go with a Qnap or Synology. Also, if the OP does build is own, unless you want spend more money with more hassle, avoid itx setups and build it in a matx, atx case or server case.
 

Olga-SAN

Limp Gawd
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haters gonna hate ;)

your cell phone operator 100% runs emc vnx for billing processing and this little baby runs windows ;)

back to star winds they have linux version as well afaik

we used one to demo iscsi back in 2011 , 2012 or so

I would never run anything that I want to be reliable on WinBlows, it is fine for desktops but not for servers.
 

Olga-SAN

Limp Gawd
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i'd for freebsd or linux

freenas is a forkout for now reason ;(

FreeNas is fine until you have a problem with it (say permissions in windows) and you need support (have lots of free time or be a pro). If I was to go that route, I would just buy a system from iX and get support straight from them. I'd go with a Qnap or Synology. Also, if the OP does build is own, unless you want spend more money with more hassle, avoid itx setups and build it in a matx, atx case or server case.
 

capt_cope

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FreeNas is fine until you have a problem with it (say permissions in windows) and you need support (have lots of free time or be a pro). If I was to go that route, I would just buy a system from iX and get support straight from them. I'd go with a Qnap or Synology. Also, if the OP does build is own, unless you want spend more money with more hassle, avoid itx setups and build it in a matx, atx case or server case.
This is true. The fact that this is being setup for his wife's business is why I'd strongly recommend going for Synology or Qnap. Searching stack-overflow or forums for a solution isn't the end of the world for a home setup, but it costs money in a business scenario - usually more than you'd save by building it yourself. Ask your wife how much money she'd lose if the worst-case happened: the backup fails after the files from her latest shoot were removed from sd cards and laptop. If the answer is more than a few hundred dollars you'd be crazy to go the DIY route. I'd also be looking at regular off-site backups and cloud storage in addition to a commercial storage solution.
 

urapnes

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May 29, 2011
Messages
48
Huge thanks to everyone who has commented.

because this if for my wife's new biz, I think I'm going to start out with a synology box. I know I will be her tech support for a while, so I want to keep it Uber easy.

Thanks again
 

Grimlaking

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A nice 12 TB or even 24 TB home setup might be nice. Let us know what you settled on. I'm curious.

At work we just installed some VNX 5400's using pure fiber to connect to our SQL and ESXi hosts. Robust.. and FAST.. but we don't run 6TB drives because we want speed. It's all about the IOPS Baby!
 
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