Author Topic: Data/assets network management-storage & backups.  (Read 2967 times)

2019-06-06, 01:53:53

orion

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Hello,
We are a team of 2 designers we built a new 2990wx workstation (msi meg x399),we are now looking to setup a network and get all our data centralized ( 3d assets,archives & projects) and get automated backup, i ve read in forum about setting up a Nas and planning backups in external or local hdd and also found some stuff about creating a VM hosting a freenas and setting it as a Nas server that boots once or main workstation starts. And also about building a files server and backing up everything to a NAS

I m a newbie in all that stuff of network, i would like to know what do you think best for an evolvong design studio and sure without breaking our pockets

Thank you in advance for help

2019-06-07, 10:20:38
Reply #1

nkilar

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Hmm, if you'd need something purely for backup needs I'd recommend something like Backblaze perhaps. These services offer like unlimited backup storage (mirroring your local storage) for about ~5$ per user. At least the last time I checked.

Backblaze specifically is only for backup though. Whatever is on your drives will be on your backup online. Delete it locally and its deleted online :)

2019-06-07, 18:30:00
Reply #2

Juraj Talcik

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Just word of warning against Backblaze and similiar services, they are more of "hard backup" than practical backup. Uploading terabytes of data can take up to two weeks (the bandwidth allocated to end-users is tiny) and if you need the files back, it's easier for them to ship you physical drive for  which you of course have to pay and wait in post service.

My fileserver is regular PC with regular Windows (I used to run Windows Server, but then swapped motherboard and realized there are no drivers for Server version...so I sadly had to go back to regular Windows).
I don't see need for for FreeNas or other simplified distributions, for me Windows is already super easy and friendly with remote desktop connection, VPN and 3rd party apps like SyncBreeze.

It's also cheaper to just dedicate whatever computer you have left spare (no longer powerful enough Node,etc..) and install 10gbit ethernet card to it. Few mainstream NAS models have such extendability.
I used to run Synology, state of art brand for this and I didn't like their (arguably absolutely the best on market) system and apps. I still felt limited by it and annoyed. It's good enough for back-up, but for actual file-server that's used for direct file access you have to go for pretty expensive models and by that time, why not just build regular workstation for this task with much better support for PCIe drives and much higher performance when accessed by multiple users. And you can run licence servers on it, Backburner/Deadline/etc...

I back-up the most important files to cloud (right now Google Sync&Backup 2TB) and all files to internal (syncs by night but can be set to real-time as well for absolute protection) and external physical drives (I sync manually weekly, I have two copies at separate places). I personally don't use any RAID fields in fileserver given how expensive the PCIe SSDs were in the capacity when I bought them (I have almost everything on 10TB of SSD drives, there is no way I am paying for another to put them into RAID given there is no need to speed up SSDs (Raid 0) and when the drives are literally immortal. I would also always loose extremely little work given that auto-save (PSDs and 3dsMax) are also on local workstations. But real-time syncing would also fix this, I use nightly instead because that's longer discussion :- ).

That said, RAID1 itself is very useful in the back-up device populated by HDDs (NAS,etc..), esp. if said device is your primary backup. If I ran studio with more than 5 people in single office, I would back-up also to additional NAS device with Raid1.

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2019-06-08, 00:03:45
Reply #3

Njen

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I'm not a studio, but I do make my own animated short films which generate a lot of data, and I've been very happy with my QNap NAS with 16TB of space in RAID 5 (12TB usable space). I use Western Digital Red drives, which have slower speeds, but are more reliable as they are specifically designed to be used in NAS devices. The upside of a NAS, is that if a drive fails or needs to be swapped, you don't have to turn anything off, just swap the drive and wait for the rebuild. What I also like about my NAS, is that is is small and quiet.

I am running out of space though, and will likely upgrade my drives to the 10TB ones, giving me 30TB of usable space, and all I have to do to upgrade them is to pull out the drives, replace them and wait for the rebuild.

The main disadvantage of a NAS, is what Juraj has already mentioned, in that I have to run my global systems (like license managers) on my workstation instead of a dedicated PC that can be easy to access, as sometimes I need to reboot my main workstation, and then the render nodes temporarily have to wait until the license managers are back up and running after the reboot. But it's no big deal, as it doesn't happen very often.
Please support my Kickstarter for my animated film, Cyan Eyed (rendered in Corona)!

2019-06-12, 20:39:16
Reply #4

Vuk

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Haven't had the time to sit and reply to this thread since I am always in some crazy deadlines lately...
It is good you declared yourself a newbie I was a newbie myself and kind of a still are a big noob regarding networking but I wasted a lot of time and in the meantime even learned a lot of things.
But hey you know how they say time is money :).

Since you did say you have no experience with networking my advice to you would be to go the NAS route. Pick any mid-range 4 to 8 (preferably 8) BAY NAS and with an AMD or Intel CPU.
Try to avoid the ones with ARM cpu's since they are really weak and will be your main bottleneck in case you decide to go the 10Gbe route. Which on a side note is more or less useless for our work, and a waste of money. Probably gonna get a lot of heat for saying this right now. But, believe me, I tried it I am still on it and I see no difference between scene loading times, render node loading times, any kind of loading times between my old 1gbe server with 4x3tb WD RED drives in raid 5 and my current setup which is 3x970 PRO's in raid 0.  Yes, my copy/paste from server to computer and vice-versa is great I saturate 10gbe no problems but hey who needs that? Probably someone who does video or photo editing directly from the server and has benefited from Sequential read and write speeds. Now that my disappointment in 10gbe is out from me we can continue with your questions :) lol.

1/ Pick a good mid-range NAS from Qnap or Synology I own a Qnap and I am satisfied with it, my friend who has a big 3d viz studio with over 18 people has a Synology and he is also very very satisfied with it. So you won't make a mistake by going with either of those. Heck Synology even offers 5 year warranty on some models. Yes for cheaper money you can make a windows machine but keep in mind that you will have to pay for Windows or Windows Server then you will have to pay for a file sync service like Syncbreeze so it all adds up. If you want a hassle-free system that is quiet and small just go with a NAS especially if you are not a hardware kind of a guy. Also, a mid-range NAS is around 500-800 euros max that is nothing compared to the money you will spend on HDD's. Just to populate 8 bays with 8x10TB HDD drives of any brand today costs you around 2400+ euros. So picking between a NAS or a Win machine will hardly save you any money. The main cost lies in the hdd's, switches, land cards, fiber cabling, etc...

2/ When picking a NAS to try to go with at least 4 bays that way you can make RAID 5 or RAID 6 and still be in a position to swap the drives tomorrow with larger drives. Also if you can try going with bigger drives or plan ahead so you know when you will switch.
I actually bought smaller drives the biggest that were available back then were 6tb. When I hit the rock bottom of my storage I didn't even have the time to wait for Raid resync with new drives I just went and bought a new NAS with new drives, copied all over
and started working on it right away. Still using the old NAS back at my house as an additional backup.

3/ Raid is no data protection so if you want additional protection go and buy an external hard drive plug it to your NAS and use the provided software for backing up on daily, weekly or monthly basis. Also, you can pay a cloud service for additional protection.
I have several raid partitions on my server. Currently using a RAID 0 of 3xnvmes just for current projects we are doing. A 6x10TB RAID 6 for backup. A single enterprise ssd just for textures and proxies we call it the junk folder we pretty much load 80% of our textures from there and a dual m.2 sata ssd RAID 1 for the NAS operating system. I wouldn't advise raid 0 in any case but hey I got a daily backup over the other raid 6 plus an external hdd backup and an additional off-site NAS backup so I don't really care about it.

4/ You can buy a switch but since there are 2 of you for starters you can plug both of your computers directly to the NAS since most of the mid-range ones come with 4 LAN ports, I think you could even link aggregate them through the virtual switch on the NAS and both have 110mb/s each during simultaneous use. So no need for a switch you can buy that later when you introduce more computers to your network like additional workstations for employees/colleagues and additional render nodes.

5/ Finally regarding license servers for programs like Forest Pack, etc... You can set that up easily with a Virtual machine on the server or if that is a hassle you can always keep that on one of the workstations. All these NAS boxes are really easy to use and you got
loads of videos and tutorials on youtube for the 2 "most famous" brands like Synology and Qnap.

Hope this helped if I missed something shoot with a question!


2019-06-12, 21:30:29
Reply #5

Juraj Talcik

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Which on a side note is more or less useless for our work, and a waste of money. Probably gonna get a lot of heat for saying this right now. But, believe me, I tried it I am still on it and I see no difference between scene loading times, render node loading times,

OK. 8-port Switch = 500 Euro now off eBay, 100 Euro per card. Waste of money indeed.

Did you measure it or just going "by the feel" ? Because it's night & day difference since I implemented it like 5 years ago. 3dsMax or Photoshop will load scenes forever regardless if the files are located directly on fastest drive in universe, but before applications will even open those scene, they still have to transfer them over the network, with our scenes being 1-2GB on average, that's 10-20 seconds vs 1 second before the scene even starts loading, makes a lot of difference already there. Not even talking multiple user-access at same time or loading multiple files.

But the biggest bottleneck is transferring high-resolution files (bigger the more passes are added) during distributed rendering, those Corona EXRs being sent can be in Gigabytes. To get quick and usable feedback, even 5-10Megapixels being sent every minute from multiple nodes can completely saturate 10GBit. Corona's DR is simply not usable on 1Gbit for higher resolutions.

(Unless maybe you have another friend with 50 employees who says otherwise, so then I cease this argument, 10Gbit is useless).

Quote
you will have to pay for Windows or Windows Server then you will have to pay for a file sync service like Syncbreeze

Both versions are 5-15 Euros from bulk OEMs, fully legal. SyncBreeze Pro 3 year 50 Euro. Adds up to hell of a lot.
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2019-06-12, 23:18:30
Reply #6

Vuk

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Actually Juraj I did quiet a few tests and not just copy paste 20-50gb single file tests since you would agree that doesn’t represent our workload? I actually measured the time it takes for a scene to load. Tried several scenes from smaller ones to files that are 2-3gb heavy. Difference in time loading was pretty much the same. What I found out in the meanwhile was that the first bottleneck is the cpu. If you want faster file loading you are better of with an overclocked i7/i9 then a dual xeon workstation, difference is huge (some files that took over 10 min to load on a dual xeon workstation opened in 5min on an overclocked i9).
With the removed bottleneck just using the i9 to load the same scene over 1gbe and over 10gbe difference is max 5%. Sequential reads and writes work great no doubt about that and difference is 10x. But random read and write not so much especially since 3ds max seems completely un-optimized for 10gbe. Same goes for Photoshop load multiple passes via script for postproduction - no difference. Pretty much tested all the scenarios that are my daily routine, no point in testing stuff that is not applicable for me right?:) In the end I just left it as is right now. I know its working if it wasn’t I wouldn’t get fast file transfers right?
Got so much work to do that I didn’t have the time to test render passes saving that you mentioned since I was already disappointed with the previous conducted tests.

The I have a friend quote was meant to explain to people that you don’t need “Nasa” level equipment in order to run a business, smaller business. People are still getting work done over 1gbe without problems. But yes motherboard vendors on the other side are already introducing 2.5gbe/5gbe and so on so it will catch up. I didn’t mean to offend no-one with my opinion I am just still in the belief that it is better to invest in a stronger workstation/cpu then on 10gbe right now. If you are a video editor on the other hand by all means invest in 10gbe you will benefit fully from the sequential reads and writes you get.

2019-06-13, 00:54:47
Reply #7

Juraj Talcik

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Now I see I come across as snarky, it's the work burnout. I am damn near close break down, I need rest. I guess I get annoyed by argument "I have this important friend...".

In our studio, it was network bottlenecking everything, esp. because our work load is so small in terms of images done we do 70perc. distributed rendering and only 30perc. one image per node method.
And recently, I almost reported it as issue because DR froze my workstation, until I realized my traffic came to absolute halt because those 10 Megapixels I used to transfer just fine became absurdly big files with 12+ LightSelect passes and denoise information (the CRX was like 10GB being sent from 4 nodes).
So for me, to make even 10gbit network crawl, is no issue at all.

There is nothing I can do with software bottleneck (and we already run highly overclocked i9 7980XE and 2990WX as our workstations), but my scenes happily open under 20 seconds (I run very little plugins, almost none). So additional 20 seconds that would take through traffic, would highly annoy me.

Last, it's absolute must to even get full random access speeds from any network SSD, I never care about sequential outside of our photographic work.


Regarding actual true fileserver vs NAS cost. It's not few hundreds we're talking that become insignificant. By the time we're talking 10 Sata inputs, and enough PCI-e lanes to feed multiple NVMe drives at same time, plus 1-2 10GBit nics extendability, the price difference becomes very high, and the NAS will still be utterly inferior in performance.
I am not against them, I had two Synology models but the price premium is for comfort, minimalism and hassle-free setup. But any semi-literate hardware enthusiast can setup all on regular PC and reap so many benefits.

For me, every single second of latency I can feel anywhere, is something I can't stand. And I am not alone this, you mentioned this point of single-core performance being very important in task-to-task haptics and people who migrate even from top-grade high-turbo Xeon models back to HEDT systems because they can't stand even the smallest perceivable latency, I see and feel the same difference between files flowing through 10gbe network from powerful fileserver.


Few years ago, you couldn't even get 10GBe NAS at <1k pricepoint. QNAP was the only one, Synology has 1.5k model. And they didn't even support retail parts. Now the situation is much better but for me the majority of NAS devices are not enough powerful for intensive access until we get to pricepoint where they don't longer make sense to me for non-corporate clients.
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2019-06-13, 11:09:26
Reply #8

orion

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Thank you all for sharing this knowledge and really this is very rich and helpfull to me, to make the most economic choice possible, for now  i will use my old node as a server using just windows, and backup manually to external HDD, i will search for more info about what you said to fully understand and to implement it as good as possible.I will let you know about the resultat as soon as i setup the network.
I will look further about this software (Syncbreeze) never heard about it.

2019-06-20, 09:48:30
Reply #9

JohnNinos

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Hey guys,

I'm facing the same problem as orion mentioned and I would be super happy if you could enlight me with the right choice.
We have a small studio where we work two on lan and the other one remote. As I am a network newbie we have used to work on a Lan with a switch 1Gb/s (that means that my network slows down my Hard drives 7200rpm speed) so would like to search for a solution. We recently bought SSDs to have all our Libraries but If we don't fix the network are useless. My concers are the following:

- Is it going to be better if we buy a NAS or it would be very expensive to have 10Gb/s lan?
- If we set up a kind of software that is mirroring the SSDs of these two pc via LAN so nothing is transfered via lan and everything loads localy, is something that going to work?
- I just bought the following cards, is there any way if we set them properly to work?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10G-Network-Kit-2x-Chelsio-N320E-10Gbit-10GBe-1x3m-SFP-Cisco-cable/253996695240?hash=item3b2361fec8%3Ag%3AAoEAAOSwx8pa2iRQ%3Ark%3A3%3Apf%3A0&fbclid=IwAR2phY21idXVuLDCCxkojtTJwyuIAdFnBpGcTGkP4SU3UJ1fRzLbkAdjHsQ

Thank you very much, I'm looking forward for your reply!
« Last Edit: 2019-06-20, 14:43:23 by JohnNinos »