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SMB3

QNAP has released QTS version 4.1 of its NAS OS, which you should download and update to maximize 10GbE performance.  Here’s where things get a little technical.  SMB (server message block) is a protocol operating “under the hood”, but responsible for many client/server functions over your network.

SMB has been around since 1985 in the Windows world, and has seen extensive updates in SMB2, and now SMB3.  Apple is phasing out its proprietary AFP, and migrating to SMB as of MacOS 10.9 (Mavericks).  If you don’t see the options in the screenshot below, just re-apply version 4.1 QTS firmware. 

On the TS-470 Pro, this latest firmware reveals an update to SMB3, as well as an option for asynchronous performance.  You may wish to enable “Enable Asynchronous I/0” as part of your network tuning.

Enabling Asynchronous I/0 on ths TS-470 Pro

Enabling Asynchronous I/0 on ths TS-470 Pro

Adobe Benchmarks

The last part of my tests on the TS-470 Pro have to do with a test series developed by Bill Gehrke and Harm Millaard.  The Premiere Pro Benchmark for CS5 (PPBM5) and Premiere Pro Benchmark for CS6 (PPBM6) are interesting tests that allow us to compare performance over the network, vs the usual local disk tests. 

The version of Premiere Pro used was the latest CC (as of January 2014) on an i7 Windows 8.1 workstation with two NVIDIA GTX-650 Tii Boost cards, and 32 GB of RAM.

You can download the older test series at http://ppbm5.com/Instructions.html or the newer (takes longer to run) version at http://ppbm7.com/index.php/homepage/instructions

Adobe Premiere Pro Benchmark

Adobe Premiere Pro Benchmark

I used the PPBM5.5 tests, with results summarized in Table 1 below because the test is quicker to run and results are tabulated online with over 1300 results from other users.  Later in the series, I’ll also post results using the PPBM6 tests. 

For these tests, the project, source files, cache files and preview files were all in the same directory on the NAS to reflect a completely shared network solution.  Although Adobe does not support simultaneous access, the fact that all cache files etc. are stored with the project would be much more efficient as multiple users accessed the project.

Test Condition Disk I/0 Test (seconds) Mpeg2-DVD encode (seconds) H.264 Encode (seconds) MPE (mercury engine enabled, seconds)
Local 500GB SSD Samsung Evo with RAPID enabled 29 41 49 4
Local WD Black 2TB 7200 HD 84 40 49 5
TS-470 Pro (SSD RAID 0, 10GbE connection) 35 42 52 4
TS-470 Pro (Hitachi Deskstar 4TB x 4, RAID 0, 10GbE connection) 54 43 51 5
5 year old TS-509 Pro (over Gigabit, RAID 5) 263 (Yikes!) 80 53 7
Average Top 10 of 1351 results posted: http://ppbm5.com/DB-PPBM5-2.php 55 31 40 4.5
Table 1: Performance comparison

These are some interesting results, which require a bit of interpretation.  First of all, you can assume based on the results from my testing, that MPEG and H.264 encoding speeds are much more a function of how fast your NVIDIA graphics card is (and its core count), than disk speed.  The one exception is running over an older Gigabit network running from a five year old NAS.  Hopefully you’re not running like this!

(In terms of Cinevate’s typical work flow, we never encode to DVD, and almost all encoding is H.264 for web hosting on http://www.vimeo.com/cinevate or http://www.youtube.com/cinevate.)

I ran a test using a brand new 500 GB Samsung EVO SSD with RAPID (RAM caching) enabled. As you can see, the EVO is the king of the hill in terms of disk speed.  With plenty of free RAM in your workstation and Samsung’s RAPID enabled, not even a larger local hard disk array could keep up. The lesson here is that your workstation build for a 10GbE workstation might include just one SSD in the 120 GB range.  The Samsung Evo with RAPID enabled would my number one choice as of right now (Feb 2014). 

If you compare the TS-470 Pro tests with four 4 TB Hitachi Deskstar drives installed, you will see the results are right up there with an average of the top 10 results compiled by Bill and Harm at http://ppbm5.com/DB-PPBM5-2.php.  To put these results into some perspective, just the RAID card used in at least 2 of the Top 10 result workstations retails at similar pricing to the TS-470 Pro.

Conclusion

Based on the performance tests above,  any reservations I might have had running from a Gigabit network five years ago, are now resolved with 10GbE and NASes like the TS-470 Pro.  After running tests for nearly four weeks with a completely 10GbE network based workflow, Cinevate is moving ahead on implementing a full 10GbE solution for video, photo, and engineering.  We’ll discuss this in some detail, later in the series.


Dennis Wood - CinevateDennis Wood is Cinevate’s CEO, CTO, as well as Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.  When not designing products, he’s likely napping quietly in the LAN closet.

 

 

 

 

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