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Host samples on NAS with 10gbe

wuubb

New Member
So this is part question, part personal anecdote from my own setup.

I currently have a Linux server that I use as a NAS with 3x1TB SSDs with all of my samples on them. Back when I built this SSD's were really $$$ so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

The server has a Mellanox Infiniband NIC (mine are older than the one in the link, but as you can see you can also get newer ones for cheap on ebay) that connects directly to another in my workstation and mapped it as a drive letter in Windows. Tweaking the Samba settings in Linux I've been able to get almost 10gbps when copying/moving stuff in Windows, so far so good.

This has worked fine for every project that I've done so far, although I have not done any huge orchestral mockups yet. I've been running the DAWbench VI project in Cubase, and despite all sorts of tweaking with Kontakt, Samba, and others, I have not been able to make heads or tails of anything and determine whether or not this setup with streaming over the network is the weak link, or something else.

Does anyone else have any experience with a setup like this? As I look at overhauling my setup to include computers like the 2018 Mac Mini to be more portable, I'm trying to debate whether designing around having 10gbe is going to make a difference.

Please chime in with any thoughts or comments.
 

Jdiggity1

Stroking The Frog
Moderator
My immediate thought is that the CPU in the NAS is likely going to be the weak link, and will struggle with intensive libraries and be unable to stream a high number of voices, regardless of your disk and network capabilities.
However, I really don't know what configuration you're working with here.
 
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wuubb

wuubb

New Member
My immediate thought is that the CPU in the NAS is likely going to be the weak link, and will struggle with intensive libraries and be unable to stream a high number of voices, regardless of your disk and network capabilities.
However, I really don't know what configuration you're working with here.
The relevant server hardware is as follows:
Xeon E3-1231v3 (4c/8t, 3.4ghz)
32gb DDR3 RAM
3xSamsung 840 EVO 1TB

CPU usage is about 25% when streaming. According to Linux almost all of the RAM is being used to cache stuff (hopefully some of the samples), though I have no way of knowing.
 

Damarus

Active Member
So essentially a slave computer. What are your main concerns if everything is working? I don't see much benefit to upgrading the PC/sever if you're not hitting a bottleneck yet.
 
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wuubb

wuubb

New Member
So essentially a slave computer. What are your main concerns if everything is working? I don't see much benefit to upgrading the PC/sever if you're not hitting a bottleneck yet.
Mostly when running any kind of benchmark or test, such as the DAWbench one, the disk spikes happen early and often, which I'm concerned will translate into problems when doing larger mockups. Trying to determine whether the setup I currently have is good for the long run or if I need to change some things, in this case, whether I need to move the sample drives locally onto my main PC.
 

Damarus

Active Member
Mostly when running any kind of benchmark or test, such as the DAWbench one, the disk spikes happen early and often, which I'm concerned will translate into problems when doing larger mockups. Trying to determine whether the setup I currently have is good for the long run or if I need to change some things, in this case, whether I need to move the sample drives locally onto my main PC.
Honestly I would worry more about real world performance rather than benchmarks. Best option would be to use the Server machine as a slave with VEPro over 10gbe imo. Mapped drives through windows are meh.
 
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wuubb

wuubb

New Member
Best option would be to use the Server machine as a slave with VEPro over 10gbe imo. Mapped drives through windows are meh.
I take it that mapped drives in Windows adds latency, are there any alternatives?

Or maybe flip them and make my workstation the VEP machine since it has a 7820x with 64gb RAM. Put the samples on that perhaps?
 

Damarus

Active Member
I take it that mapped drives in Windows adds latency, are there any alternatives?

Or maybe flip them and make my workstation the VEP machine since it has a 7820x with 64gb RAM. Put the samples on that perhaps?
Yeah mapped drives work well for convenience but for real-time performance, I dont think its better than directly connected to machine.

We can see if some VEPro experts chime in here, but I would much rather have the 7820x as my main. You can either add another slave to the mix if that server is not powerful enough or upgrade the server down the line.
 
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wuubb

wuubb

New Member
You can either add another slave to the mix if that server is not powerful enough or upgrade the server down the line.
Indeed, that was my reasoning for originally hosting on the server, so that I could add computers for VEP in the future without needing to buy more SSDs. That's why I'm wondering if anyone else has experimented with a similar setup and could chime in on whether or not it makes sense to do that vs just suck it up and buy more SSDs for each machine lol
 

Olivier1024

Member
"I take it that ...."
"I dont think its better than ...."

You could try with a kontakt library that you play from your File server and from your Daw PC. Set the buffer size to the minimum and compare the disk/Cpu consumption.
Then install VEP on your file server and compare the result.

We all have different configurations, nobody has your configuration, try by yourself.
 
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wuubb

wuubb

New Member
I have been testing, but have not found anything conclusive, hence why I'm asking if anyone has a similar setup. I realize that no one has my exact configuration, but the idea of streaming samples over network seems to be a relatively unexplored territory and am curious who else besides me has taken the plunge.
 

babylonwaves

Senior Member
but the idea of streaming samples over network seems to be a relatively unexplored territory and am curious who else besides me has taken the plunge.
the network will add latency which you will need to compensate with (larger) pre-loading larger. if you stream longer files (e.g. vocals) over a network, that works well. short samples, IMO not so much. it will work but not as well as a directly connected drive.
 
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