I'm trying to determine if a NAS or file server will be best for the following scenario:
- 20 Maya users
- 1 Gbps network
- i7 Ivy's, SSD, and gigabit card workstations
- DROBO will be used for backup for now. We also have an offsite back up solution for the DROBO.
The workflow we want to mandate is have users work directly off of the NAS or file server with a mapped drive on their workstations. We don't want them to deter away or have a bad experience from this workflow if the NAS or file server will have slow transfer rates. We tried this initally with the DROBO but everyone stopped using it. It turned out that the DROBO had slow transfer rates due its nature (as many has noted in numerous forums) and we're stuck with it.
I've been searching around and I haven't found anything substantial regarding this. Also, I don't really have experiences using a NAS or file servers for this kind of application. There seems to be different schools of thought about NAS and file servers so I'd like to know what others are using out there.
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this is not so easy to answer and should really often discussed better for becommimg a better overview an knwloedge about the whole work and strulture, that peoples are really be able to council or giving the right tip to you.
If you are knowing know that the number of peoples (workers) will incrising higher and grows up and/or the entire number of files and folders is growing up rapidly, it will be better to go with a File Server, but if you are running the file Server only on PC hardware, it will be much better to go with a NAS system for sure.
If in side of the File Server one or two Intel Xeon E3/E5 CPUs are working and 8 - 24 GB of ECC/REG RAM make at the one end the server more powwerful and more stable and that means, that you are able to go with file server for a longer time!!! The File server usually is also better to upgrade with another CPU, more RAM, more HDDs, other network card with more ports and other ports for dealing with more bandwith and/or users respective files. You have for sure more administration work with the file server, the cost of licences and perhaps CALs also on top eventually, but you are able to go for a longer time with many more abillities the the NAS and you are more open.
Let us talk about the mostly forgetten, because not so hot liked or wishes "backup process" and abillity. For sure with a real file server, either what kind of OS is in use you will be able to act with more or many devices and programs that gives you the chance to solf out an "issue" in 30 til 60 minutes and than you are able to go on with your work easily and fast. A real file server is for me more for the professional range of working class and the NAS can be it.
Network attached storage:
This devices are often comes devided in two different classes, for home usage and for professional usage. So I really thing, either it is for in desktop or rack form factor, it should for you being placed and pointed in the professional range of NAS devices! A good NAS can be a really benefit to a small company or working group but, it should be reight sized to serve them with out any bottlenecks and even comming back issues also in my eyes.
So from the price segment it plays in the same range as the file server, let us having a closer look to the QNAP TS-1079, it brings also the capabillities to upgrade the RAM and the network adapter up to 8 GB RAM and 2 x 1 GB LAN ports + 2 x 10 GB LAN ports so it can be used to build a LAG (LACP) what is often the best choice for groups or divisions to get their files fast and propper, but you are talking about that peoples are mounting the network drive and then they are wanting to work on this files with 20 peoples, so I personally think about it should be not a NAS in your case, more then a real file server, that is powerfull enough to give all your 20 peoples the right power and speed, only in my opinion.
But for sure it can be also a benefit to have the NAS with a looking eye on the administration, this is often less then a real server and also without any kind of licencing after buying one.
For sure also here should an external RDX drive and a couple of huge RDX medias are in the game in my eyes on of the best practice to make a backup today. The DropBox option is a way "on top" of a local backup, but not the only way top safe the entire work.
If the line is damaged or not working and this is one day before the deadline of your contract you will now why I am thinking so. But this is often also fast to answer by your self in two small steps: 1. What is the total cost of a still standing in your company per an hour or working day? 2. What is the contract penalty you all have to pay for every day your work will be finished later and send in?
So now you can easily amagine what is really needed not only for a fast and stable workflow and to be on the right site or better that you all will right served and fine sorted.
All in all:
- Layer3 Switch Cisco SG300-28 is for me also imprtand because it is a layer3 swict that is speeding up the eintire networkprocess and it is also routing by his self!!!!!!!
- A NAS what is great enough and powerfull enough to serve you all and upgrade able
- LAG (LACP) 2 x 1 GB LAN ports aggregated = 2 GBit/s This is for working on the machines and only taking the files from the NAS.
- Layer3 Switch Cisco SG300-52
- A real file server with much RAM, Intel Xeon CPU
- LAG (LACP) with 4 til 8 GB LAN ports aggregated 4 til 8 GBit/s This should be powerfull enough to work on the mounted netwerokdrive directly and base on the number of CPUs and RAM in the system.
What you are doing and buying is often also pointed to the class you are playing in and what time loss you can live with. But a NAS or a file server with only ein GB LAN port is in my eyes personally not sufficent enough to serve all 20 peoples, this is a so called bottleneck and should bringing you all 20 only in pain, only in my eyes.
One thing at least please, if you are decided to go with a NAS regarding the less administration and price please be informed that a new HDDs and also many new NAS from any vendor (QNAP, EMC, Synologs, Thecus,...) are sorted with an feature the is called "RVS", that ist pointet to the circumstance, tha RAIDs with over 5 drives are often becomes a by site effect, vibrations! And RAID levels and HDDs are not really friends of vibrations, so the industrie (e.g. HGST) where producing HDDs with mall sensors and Raid controllers or NAS systems with also thoose understanding this new RVS standard and then both together will be correcting the entire process and bringing the vibrations to be eleminated or near the point 0, that is for the speed of the entire NAS or RAID verry urgent and also then for the speed.
At last, either what you are going to buy, please use a LAG (LACP) that is hundret procent optimal for "many clients are getting or sending to one point ind the network" or plain working on them, not the throughput i gaining, but more then the latencies are away and all 20 peoples are goint to fetch and send their files much faster than onl by a single GB LAN port.
Wow! This is way more than I expected. I really appreciate your thorough response on this!
We're leaning on getting a NAS (Thecus N8850 - great hardware for the cost). We will be using LAG/LACP without a doubt. The only thing that stopped me from ordering it was that others recommended on getting a file server. They argue that a NAS don't have a proper file system management like a file server. However, I believe it has the basics and it's good enough for our purposes. I just wanted second opinion on this. As you pointed out, it'll make more sense to get a file server if we plan on growing. Right now, we don't plan on it.
Thanks again for your response on this. It's super useful. I feel a bit better about my decision on this.