Portable NAS for portable 4K editing studio

We have been involved with motion graphics and video editing for a number of years, but this year the challenge is to build something that is somewhat portable, that is, more portable than a rack-mounted solution. Historically we have been lucky with budgets and just filled out reasonable spec QNAP/Synology system with SSD’s and have not really had to think too hard about storage pools. The difference this year is the storage requirement. Previous jobs were lucky to top out at 10TB of storage, so a single SSD pool was achievable. This year, we have a healthy budget but we need to build at least two of these NAS solutions (redundancy reasons) and the storage and portability requirement means we need to factor in traditional HDD.

The scenario:
At capacity, we will have 6 people accessing the file server (NAS) at any one time with varying workflows. Each will be connected via 10GB ethernet. Further to this, there will be between 16 and 24 CPU rendering nodes reading and writing back at random times, as well as RedShift workstations running local GPU renders, also writing back. Artitsts/Operators will be working between Cinema 4D and After Effects, then at some point the video editors will be on board.

My thoughts were headed more towards QNAP TS-1685 or TS-1677 models and creating two storage pools (4 x 16TB HDD and 12 x 2TB SSD) or some variation of this. I have not looked into the QNAP expansion units, but if you think this is an option then I am all ears. The idea will be to have one box as production and the other will function as a backup that will be replicating on regular intervals. The units will physically travel (air) via different paths to where they are needed for programme delivery. We will need to set up the studio again at the client site, hence the portability requirement.


A few months ago we worked with guys who were shooting an amazing project in Dakar. They also needed light, very large capacity and portable storage solution. But they chose to do editing on separate DAS units. So had fast Thunderbolt3 Akitio Thunder3 and Areca ARC-8050T3-6M boxes willed with Seagate Nytro 3330 SSD 15.36TB and Samsung  860 Pro 4TB SSD arrays.  So they had several 90TB SSD boxes. Ligh, extremely fast and portable.

But if you need portable storage for a portable editing studio then you are looking in the right direction. You need something with quite few PCIe slots and Xeon, Ryzen or Core i7 processor. This will allow you to add 10GbE cards as well as SSD caching cards. Rackmount solution would be stackable, but there are also expansion units available for desktop models (just slightly slower unless you for Thunderbolt NAS options ).

TS-1685 or TVS-1282T3 would be my choices. You can even upgrade it with 25/40GbE cards. Also, M.2 SSD slots can be used not only for the cache but also as a separate volume. The same applies to PCIe NVMe cache cards.

So, yes you need to focus on fast CPU, fast Ethernet, many bays and fast cache. And these NASes are good options.


I hope this helps.



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