Synology upgrade for video editing (multiple users)

Hi everyone,

About 2 years ago I provided a solution for a company that shoots and edits video. Back then they had a DS918+ and mostly a lot of external SSD an HDD’s. Obviously there’s a lot wrong with that, so I provided them with a bigger NAS (the DS1821+) with a 10Gig network card and a Mikrotik 10Gig switch. The DS918+ was moved to the owners house for offsite backups.

Back then the setup was designed for quick transfers to/from the NAS, but it was intended for working from local storage on the editing machines. As it turns out it was very possible to edit 4K footage from the NAS itself. But as the number of editors grew, so did the situation change from ocassional multiple users hitting the NAS to it being the norm. They usually have 3 or more editors working, and even though we expanded the RAID5 array from 4 to 8 disks, they are really noticing the delays caused by spinning up all that rust.

Back then the decission to go for the intended workflow was because of reducing costs. Obviously it would’ve been way more expensive to get a system that would be able to handle multiple editors, actually editing live from the network storage itself.

Long story short, this is the current situation:
DS1821+ with 8 Exos X16 drives (12TB or more each) in a RAID5 setup.
(Upgraded with a 1 port 10Gbit network card and a 1TB read cache SSD)
Mikrotik 12 port 10Gig switch

Offsite: DS918+ with 4 Ironwolf 12TB drives and an expansion unit with 4 12TB Exos drives (RAID5 over the e-sata, I know not recommended but it’s backup and would run into space issues with 2 separate volumes).

I’ve done a lot of research, and I’m aware a Truenas server would probably be a better fit for an upgrade. There’s actually 3 reasons that made me more or less rule that out:

  • No really easy and solid way to back it up to the Synology’s in place (nothing like snapshot replication)
  • Good hardware for Truenas would either be enterprise gear, so very expensive (or I’d have to build myself, I see a lot of people not recommending this for production and it ties well into the last reason:)
  • I have 0 experience running Truenas, and I’m not really comfortable with running such experimental setups in production.

Now I’ve come up with a different strategy: adding a second NAS, with only SSD’s. So less, but faster storage to work on current projects. And keep the current NAS for storing older projects. All while backing them both up offsite to another Synology box (may be replaced by a rackstation and moved to a datacenter). Maybe even 3-2-1, with a local and remote backup for the SSD equiped server.

To wrap it up, this i what I’m considering:
DS1821+ (because of price and drive compatibility)
3 or more 2.5 inch Ironwolf SSD’s (2 or 4TB each), to have room for expanding.
Dual 10Gig ethernet or SFP (using link agreggation)
RAM upgrade to 32GB.

Would this be sufficient for, let’s say 5 or 6 editors? Any tips, comments or recommendations?

Are the user machines running 10GB network cards, if not no need to go 10GB

Only go 10GB if devices have 10GB cards

Yes, all editing stations run 10Gig.

Do not be afraid on Truenas, lots of youtube videos on setting up Truenas and smb shares

Tom, does sell high end IXsystem to video production companies and these units use the same operating system which you can download from their website and use your own hardware (server based)


Well, the biggest issue I have is to decide on what kind of a system I run it on.
From what I’ve found I have 3 options:

  • Enterprise level server hardware, which is too expensive and I lack quitte a bit experience to really pick a good one.
  • Self-built NAS with consumer components, which is not recommended by many people (because consumer hardware)
  • Truenas system from their website

I think the last options is indeed provided by IX Systems. But I have trouble finding a dealer in The Netherlands, or the EU at all. Buying from the American continent is quitte a hassle, with high shipping costs (I’ve seen quotes with about 500 dollars for just shipping), is a really big pain ITA with taxes and customs. And most importantly I’d really like to have a good way of RMA and support. Having 2 to 3 weeks 1-way shipping and customer support in another timezone, isn’t really something I fancy. Especially for a first time with the product.

Not to mention that the devices from Truenas are either also embedded NAS devices (like Synology) or have that enterprise level pricing. I’m sure Truenas as an OS is way better for performance, but if you put it on limited hardware (like Atoms, Celerons, embedded Ryzen etc) there’s just so much you can do. So if this would suffice, wouldn’t a Synology either?

I mean, they are in the Synology ecosystem, I can buy directly from Dutch distributors, with Dutch support and everything. I’m not a big fan of the hostile attitude Synology has shown the last few years towards their users, with the supported drives and everything. But I’m just trying to find the best solution for the customer, that would fit their budget. If I propose systems which cost 5 to 10K without drives they are just going to say no anyway.

What bit rate files are they working with? What editing client are they working with?

Number of users is meaningless without knowing the bit rate on the files, and really also the bit rate on the intermediate codecs that they are using in the projects. It’s a simple problems where you can record at 15mbps and in the process end up with a 440mbps (or higher) intermediate file.

Also how many streams of media are they typically using on a timeline while doing typical work? Getting four streams deep with a 440mbps workflow yields a lot of data moving.

And nothing wrong with spinning rust, people love to put it down. Show me a more economical way to hit 100 TB storage unit. Need faster? Add more small disks. You really shouldn’t be using 10gb clients on anything less than 24 drives (in 8x groups with raid0 to bring them together for Truenas). Our old SNS system was 32 drives to get the speed they required out of the slow stuff we had back then.

If you want to put the storage issue to bed, just contact Avid and buy one of their storage units. They will help you configure the system for the speed you need. I’d suggest contacting Keycode Media, they work with all editing platforms and several storage platforms, but for simplicity I’d suggest Avid storage because it is stupid simple to manage. If you are in the north east USA, I can give you the name of the sales person I work with at Keycode, but they have offices in the middle and west coast along with training and support. They may have global offices too, I’ve never really looked.

Scratch the Keycode suggestion, they are USA only and I see you are in the EU. I’d contact Avid or an Avid partner over there and see what they can do. It will cost more, but it will be guaranteed to work for your needs as long as you spell out those needs correctly.