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NAS with SSD and 10gbe, or not?

Discussion in 'General NAS Discussion' started by zalves, Feb 21, 2019.

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  1. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    Hi

    I'm now responsible of managing my company's network. It's a 3D visualisation studio with 15 workstations and we are planning to go to 30 this year. We use OCTANE as a render engine and it needs to load all the resources of a project from the NAS to the workstation memory, that is usually between 2 to 5 GB of information, some large files between 500MB to 1GB and some smaller files around 1MB to 10MB, in total around 200 to 500 files per project open.

    So far we've been using a Synology 1817 NAS with 4TB WD RED HDD in RAID 10 in a 1gbe network. From the resource monitor of the NAS it appears that it's never in full use. But when I tried having the project files of a project locally on of the workstations (with and internal m.2 drive) it loaded in 45sec instead of 5min coming from the NAS. Some larger projects can take up to 10/15 min to load.

    I've been thinking on getting a 10gbe NAS with SSD drives, but it implies a heavy cost, 10gbe switch, NAS and SSD drives. So I'm not sure it would increase performance significantly.

    Happy to hear you thoughts
     
  2. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    What about loading local and backing up to the NAS. It seems cheaper.
     
  3. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    Most of the time we have several people working on the same project, it's better to have all centralised.
     
  4. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    OK, it seems you need some high speed networking. You need to build a fast core network which wireless is not on. Wireless is very slow. So do not bridge to your high speed core you need to route to it.
     
  5. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    I currently have a 48port 1gbe switch where all workstations connect to and and a wi-fi AP. Also have connected to the switch the modem/router of our internet provider which is also the DHCP server. Is this configuration slowing down my network? I do get to saturate 1gbe with large sequential files.
     
  6. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    Networking is like a chain. The slowest link has an impact. Does your switch support VLANs, how about your router. Can you segment off your slow link? If your are thinking 10 gig do not think wireless.

    Sounds like you need a small business LAN. Some Apple protocols do not network well so plan accordingly.

    PS
    I am just thinking 10 to 15 minutes is a long time to load a project.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  7. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    The time it take is also influenced by how the software take time to process and interpret the data it's receiving. Though locally it take less than 5 times the time to load compared to the NAS.

    All the workstation are connected with CAT6 cable as well as the NAS with 1gbe links. I can't manage the switch, at least so far haven't been able to find its console, so I can't create VLANs.

    I don't understand how having an AP connected to the switch would slowdown the performance of the NAS.
     
  8. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    If you are looking ultimate speed you don't want wireless in the same broadcast domain. Wireless is a shared slow media which cannot even reach 1 gig speeds.

    You are going from 45 seconds local to 10 to 15 minutes. That is an extreme difference.
     
  9. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    With a 10GbE network, your latency will go down by a factor of 10, just as your speeds will increase by up to the same amount. However, I don't believe it will give you a 10x speed increase in the projects you're describing. Accessing network resources will always have further latencies than local storage ever will. Exaggerated even more the smaller the file sizes transferred.

    You're also forgetting in your cost increases the 10GbE nic's that each workstation will require (x15 to x30 within a year).

    What I would be looking at is a variation of what coxhaus offered.

    I would be installing an additional SSD in each workstation in the $50 to $100 range (I'm assuming the current m.2 SSD's don't have the capacity required in the workstations currently) and have these synced with the main NAS (which I would install SSD's in too, if possible, to help the little atom CPU it has) with something like QNAP's QSync (not sure if Synology offers something similar, but I'm sure it's probably available). This syncing can happen in the background while the user has the data loaded in mere seconds and already working. Total cost: ~$4,750 (15x$50 for the current workstations plus 4x$1000 for the 4x 4TB NAS SSD's) which should be recouped by your 15 current workstation employees in about a day of productive work. :)

    The 10GbE network + 15 (or 30) 10GbE nic's + a couple or more 10GbE switch(es) with a centralized NAS w/32GB ram, at least a half dozen SSD's and an i7 processor at a minimum and the manpower to put this all together optimally would cost significantly more and I believe will still offer inferior performance, over the LAN. Even for a single user and probably even harder to justify the cost for 30 concurrent users for the performance I am thinking it will offer. It will also be hard to first test this with up to 30 users accessing the NAS concurrently until you've paid for it. ;)

    The cost of the 10GbE network will also probably cost more than the SSD's for all the present workstations (plus the NAS) for just the new i7 powered NAS, fully configured.

    Within the current year, your needs are 2GB to 5GB x 30 users for your present workloads (60GB to 150GB throughput speeds) which even at 10GbE speeds it is far outpaced by the users' requirements, today.

    The possible solution I offer above is one which is the least cost, the easiest to implement and the one which can be implemented piece by piece, with the least interruptions to the day-to-day work.

    Even if a new NAS is needed, it needn't be an i7 monster. :) It just needs a more modern processor to keep the local SSD's of the workstations synced in real time.

    And keep in mind that the workstations that don't have the local additional storage yet can still continue to use the files located on the NAS in the meantime. ;)
     
  10. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    I like L&LD idea. SSD are a lot faster than hardrives. Make sure you have a backup NAS for your SSD NAS to backup your data. You never know when a SSD or 2 will fail. You will probably want to buy the Intel server grade SSDs for your NAS. They will last longer under a NAS load.

    IF you buy some 10 gig switches make sure you segment them off to keep the performance up. This is done all the time in data service centers.

    PS
    If it was me doing segmenting off traffic I would use a layer 3 switch. The best would be a Cisco layer 3 10 gig switch which may not be affordable at your level. The next would be a Cisco layer 3 switch which contains a 10 gig port or 2 for uplink. You can segment off at the uplink ports.

    PSS
    One thing we have not considered is are your workstations up to running 10 gig?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
  11. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    Thank you L&LD and coxhaus for your replies.

    Our machines already have 10gbe, since I future planned it buy getting the Asus x299 sage/10g. So I wouldn't need to get nics for the computers.

    Our workflow is quite peculiar, as it's momentarily "heavy" when loading the project, but after that it requires very little throughput from the NAS. I would say that people would load a project 4 to 5 times a day, which sometimes means that 1h of the day per worker is waiting for stuff to load. I thought of having the projects locally, but on most of them there are people working on them at the same time, also there are projects that share assets between each other and an asset shared library, so centralised option would be better.

    So I suppose I could first try getting a more powerful NAS, able to handle SSD faster access times and use my older NAS synced for backup. Before I would change my network to 10gbe. Is that about right? Also I'll connect my wi-fi separately.
     
  12. coxhaus

    coxhaus Part of the Furniture

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    Adding an faster SSD NAS sounds like a good place to start. It gives you a backup NAS. You may want your new NAS to support 10 gig in case you need to go to the next level of getting a switch with 10 gig uplink ports.
     
  13. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    Go to a reseller if you can and get them to demo a test NAS with your files over your network to see if it actually does anything for loading times. You'll be better able to make an informed decision then.

    Having syncronizing software on a central NAS will still give you the greatest benefit to keep your workers productive. Instead of a day to recoup your investment, it would be closer to a week. Still worth it. :)

    Do all workstations have an M.2 SSD? Do they have the capacity to hold projects that are in process? That would shave a large part of the cost right there. Or, it could be used towards a newer NAS.
     
  14. monakh

    monakh Occasional Visitor

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    Is there a NAS that takes either m.2 drives or 2.5" drives only (to keep the size small) and ALSO have 10G? I have been unable to find such a beast, at least in the QNAP lineup. Looking to replace my aging Atom-based TS-469 Pro.

    Edit: I did see the 882ST3 but that's running a 6-series CPU and costs a bundle, I was hoping to find something newer and cheaper. I don't need more than 4 slots.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  15. zalves

    zalves New Around Here

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    That would really be a nice find.

    That TVS-882ST3 is really impressive, but costs way more than a PC would that could do all that and more.
     
  16. monakh

    monakh Occasional Visitor

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    Agreed. You could do a Ryzen-based FreeNAS (diskless) build in way less than a grand and that gives you 8 solid cores.

    I like the fact that QNAP continuously updates their OS but that's not worth the upgrade price premium.
     
  17. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    While this isn't an exact match, it was as close as I could find in a quick search. :)

    TS-332X 3-Bay NAS w/ 4GB RAM

    https://www.qnap.com/en-us/product/ts-332x/specs/hardware

    The M.2 slots only seem to support SATA modes and the disks are 3.5/2.5 so size isn't as small as possible. But it does get you very, very close to your specs I think.
     
    monakh likes this.
  18. Deepcuts

    Deepcuts Regular Contributor

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    Build your own NAS with off the shelf components.
    Good brand NAS units with 10 Gb are too expensive and on the low side of performance CPU wise.
    Also, erase the info from your memory about having your wifi link in the same switch as your wired lan being a bad idea for your described setup.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019 at 3:04 PM
    monakh likes this.
  19. monakh

    monakh Occasional Visitor

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    Thanks, L&LD. That's a good find but the ARM CPU (which lowers the price) isn't something I am looking at.

    Deepcuts: I'd love to build something based on FreeNAS and ZFS but I can't find any mobo with 3 or more M2 or NVME slots. Otherwise, you're limited to ITX builds with SATA drives. I want to get this as small as possible.
     
    L&LD likes this.
  20. L&LD

    L&LD Part of the Furniture

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    You're welcome. What are your requirements? What usage?

    Anything much smaller will not have a more capable CPU inside. Maybe you are underestimating what that ARM CPU can do for you?