Mac and windows partition on a NAS

Ian1000

Novice Member
I'd like to set up a NAS system connected to a Mac also running windows via bootcamp. Ideally I'd like the files to be accessible to both Mac and windows though I've heard that formatting with exfat will be less efficient than each operating systems own native format. The other option would be to partition the NAS with a Mac and Windows partition and access each partition depending on which operating system I'm running. Is this feasible on a NAS system? Also, is exfat really a less efficient format? Thanks
 

cjed

Well-known Member
Normally you would allow the NAS to format the storage how it wants, then just create SMB shares (which both Windows and Mac can see over the network) and put your files there. If the storage is a network resource, then the client (Windows, Mac or Linux) doesn't need to know what the actual underlying file system format is.
 

Ian1000

Novice Member
Thanks for that. I'm new to NAS storage and don't know these details. I'm thinking of connecting via 10gbe to a Mac for maximum speed for video editing. If I connect directly via the 10gbe port I take it I'd need to format the drives in a Mac friendly format though if go via a switch it would be in whatever format the NAS wants (and also windows compatible)? Would the second option be less fast?
Thanks
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
It won't make difference whether you use as switch or not, the NAS "Shares" will be presented to the network connection the same way in either case. Indeed the NAS or anything else won't have any knowledge of what networking equipment they as connected to - it doesn't need to know (by design.)

Network attached storage, whether it's on a NAS, file server, computer workstation or anything else, all work more or less the same way: The storage device advertises named "Shares" onto the network using network sharing protocols such as CIFS/SMB (often erroneously called the "Microsoft" protocol, but in fact IBM invented it,) or NFS. At one time Apple had their own called AFP, but I think that's been quietly dropped. Your workstation devices (your Mac or anything else) then "mount" any of the share points you are interested in and exposes them on you workstation looking like local storage devices. On a Mac they probably pop up on the desktop looking like discs, but I haven't used a Mac for years.

Thusly, the file system the storage device uses "behind" the Shares is hidden from the workstation OS and said workstations only needs to be able to "understand" the network sharing protocol (CIFS/SMB/NFS) and not the underlying file system on the remote storage.

The storage device can thence format the actual disc volumes any way it likes. Most NAS's are Linux under the skin, so they tend to favour "Linuxy" type file systems such ext4, zfs and so on (there are many to choose from in the Linux world.) But to repeat, what format the NAS uses doesn't matter because your networked workstations are not exposed to it, they only see the share points.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
No worries. Post back if you have any more questions. It may look a bit daunting to start with, but it's all pretty simply once you've wrapped you head around the concepts. The learning curve is generally pretty small unless you want to get your nerd on and dig right down into the details.

It's a slight tangent to this conversation, but personally I'd prefer not to "live edit" across any network link unless there was no choice. I'd prefer to "pull" the files from the server at the start of each session, edit them on the workstation as required, then "push" them back to the server once done.

Thusly, performance of the network is only a factor when you do the pull/push operations as the actual editing is happening on local workstation storage, which could be well quick if you've got SSD's.

The downside of my approach is A) has the workstation got enough disk to accommodate all the media you want to work on at any time and B) what happens if the workstation crashes part way through..?

For A I guess it depends on the format, length and so on of the content which informs the amount of data to be copied and accommodated on the local discs.

For B I'd want some kind of process that can periodically "auto save" the work every XX minutes (up to the NAS) so that if the worst happens I've not lost whole a days work. The ability to do that might depend on the software you are using. Indeed, I'd want some kind of periodic auto-save even if I was live editing over the network.

If any of this is for commercial purposes (like your livelihood depends on it) it would be a very good idea to also consider creating some form of backup regime (which is a whole other can of worms.)
 

cjed

Well-known Member
Further to mickevh's posts, if you are doing this for any sort of commercial work, you should be looking at getting a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) to connect to (at least) the NAS, the workstation and any networking infrastructure connecting them. You should look at a UPS which will power the equipment for around 30 minutes in the case of Power failure to allow you to safely save any work in progress.

Oh, and don't forgot some sort of backup (and backup strategy/schedule) for your work. do NOT rely on any redundancy in the NAS - it is NOT a backup.
 

Ian1000

Novice Member
Thanks cjed for the UPS tip. That would be a good idea for me. I'd also be interested in hearing about backup strategies. I was thinking of a raid 5 setup for the NAS and an external backup to a USB 3 drive(s). 12TB seems to be the largest USB 3 drive, don't know if you can link them together in a raid.
 

Ian1000

Novice Member
mickev, I'd be curious to hear why you edit locally and just use the NAS for backup? Is it significantly faster that way? One of the attractions for me is the ability to have all of my main projects in one place that I can live edit from and easily switch between projects when necessary. If live editing is a must for me would you suggest going for a thunderbolt 3 NAS rather that 10gbe?
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Principally it's about speed. Over a LAN and then into a NAS, you've got latency for the network (and competition with any other network traffic) and the disc subsystem in the NAS (not to mention competition for those resourse with any other users - though for SOHO that's unnlikely to be a major problem.) It may be less of a consideration for video editing, but when I was mixing music tracks, being able to pull in multiple tracks from multiple sources and keep them all in sync was a "big deal."

Hard disc drives are fundamentally mechanical devices and are achingly slow compared to solid state electronics. Worse still, HDD's often take longer to write than read and worse than that if you go for some form of redundant HDD configuration such as RAID, then the write times are even worse as you are having to write to multiple platters each time.

Of course, there's no reason why you cannot "suck it and see;" try it over the network and see how well it works, if it's all good then job done. If not you can thence investigate alternate approaches.
 

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