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NAS Storage Working Again ... and a possible feature request

After recently upping my camera license from 4 to 8 and moving 4 of 5 cameras from SightHound to SecuritySpy I started getting some errors. First it was reporting the dropping of frames and then the slow storage speed. My configuration is a 2018 Mac Mini with Intel i5 Core processor and 16Gb of RAM. For storage I am writing to my Synology NAS (DS920+), which I know is not recommended in other posts. With these errors I was getting ready to admit that my system needed a real boost (and that new Mac Mini M2 Pro was looking uber sweet). Some simple changes though really appears to have corrected these issues.

First I tackled the storage errors. My NAS is in the garage and was going through a PoE switch that 4 cameras were connected to, and that switch then connected to the main router for my system. I wired to the switch because it was right there and so I was lazy. First step then was to wire straight to the router and bypass the switch. That in itself I think was a huge step as it reduced the potential for packet loss and jitter. Next I did a similar move with my Mac Mini to give it a more direct ethernet connection by not using the desktop switch. Finally, I made two upgrades to the Synology NAS. The first was to bump the RAM to a total of 20Gb (very likely way more than needed but it really wasn't much more in cost) which gave the NAS a significant performance boost at least at the web interface. The second one was to add 2 NVMe M.2 SSD drives that I then created a cache for the RAID array. There is some debate online if there is real value in this but I opted to try it. Since making those NAS upgrades I have had zero errors related to storage.

Back at the Mac Mini there was a new security patch that happened come out and I applied it. Not sure if that played a role in the Mini now not complaining about frame rates, but since doing it and the NAS upgrade I haven't seen a single complaint by the system. Prior, I was getting a complaint every other hour-ish.


Now for the feature request/idea

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I saw the request about separate storage for continuous recording and such, and that was interesting. My idea is about enabling local storage for the current day and then moving the files to another location such as a NAS for longer term storage (but keeping the ability for the system to cleanup older recordings on the NAS).

This would allow for use of smaller storage capacity locally but then the benefit of mass storage that a NAS provides.

Comments

  • Again, symlinking would solve this problem for you but would require some shell scripting to get it to work correctly. Copy all the files to the NAS-mounted filesystems, delete the original files on the local storage, then symlink all the NAS-housed files to their old names under the local storage area that SS expects to see them in. Run this job daily at some off-time.

  • @jtodd I don’t think you get what I am saying. A symlink is not what I need or want. I don’t need to have SS be fooled into working with the NAS. For me the NAS is currently working. For those where live cameras are failing because their network can’t take the load, or they have to many cameras, or their NAS is not fast enough your symlink is not going to fix their performance issues either.


    What I am suggesting is to write the real-time activity locally, then when the day passes (or some other marker) use a background move function to transfer the older files to the NAS. This has the heavy read writes that are critical to the system happen on the more direct storage.

  • I do understand the idea of writing to a faster, smaller drive, and then having the footage backed up to a larger, slower drive. We have looked at this, and although we haven't implemented this particular functionality yet in SecuritySpy, we are considering it for a future update. This could potentially have some benefits, but it doesn't come without potential problems either, since it adds a lot of network and disk activity. In a situation where the large drive isn't fast enough to capture to directly, it won't be fast enough to use for a backup either (I'm not saying that this is the case with your drive @schneideris, it sounds like the improvements you have made have given the drive a great speed boost). So this kind of backup system could potentially reduce performance and reliability due to the extra load on the network and disks, and has to be planned and implemented carefully.

    Our general advice, at least for the time being, is to use one or more drives that SecuritySpy can capture directly to, that are fast and large enough for your specific needs. Fortunately, storage is relatively cheap these days, and only getting cheaper, so this is usually easily implemented even for larger systems.

  • Thanks @Ben, totally get the extra resource load, specifically at time of writing current camera activity and then trying to grab from the same drive at the same time to move to the NAS. Then there are the complexities of every network being different with all sorts of factors. My not as performant of a switch provides a perfect example (reminds me to go write a review of it and warn others).

    Everyone has their own requirements, and personal desires. My move to use the NAS came in part from wanting access to the much larger space of the NAS, and that I had been having challenges with USB 3.x based external drives not remaining connected (more like have short burst disconnects that were long enough to cause write failures). The lesson I learned from there though was to buy Thunderbolt certified externals where these disconnects did not happen. That extra security/quality did come at a price though, so I put it into a NAS that had broader application. Just my requirements and desires though.

  • Thanks for describing your process and reasons, this is all understandable. It does sound like you've had bad luck with your external USB drives - I've mostly found such drives to be reliable provided they are from reputable manufacturers. As you say though, Thunderbolt is always going to be better, if budget allows.

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