Applied Technology: Maximizing Standard IT Storage for Video Operations

Today’s video production and editing operations need reliable, low-latency, concurrent access to the media. Until recently, the media storage had to be Fibre Channel, but now it is possible to manage the media infrastructure as an extension of the scale-out NAS storage systems already in place.

Often that storage system is NetApp FAS storage running the company’s Data ONTAP storage operating system. The good news is that with the latest generation of FAS controllers, hybrid flash architectures, and 10 gigabit Ethernet network interface cards, there is plenty of video throughput for these video workgroups using enterprise scale-out NAS.

You can deploy NetApp’s FAS 8000 series into existing video production and streaming workflows using standard file-sharing protocols over existing 1 gigabit and 10 gigabit network infrastructures. From there, a 10 gigabit Ethernet network adapter, in conjunction with the NAS storage system, can provide high-performance, low-latency network connectivity for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux clients using standard file-sharing protocols such as SMB and NFS.

Tips for Optimizing Your Network

Following are some tips for achieving the best network connectivity for Mac OS X and Windows clients. These server and workstation configuration parameters can prove useful when configuring 10 gigabit Ethernet network adapters for streaming workflows that contain both a 10 gigabit-enabled NetApp FAS 8000 Series cluster and a 10 gigabit Ethernet switch.

Client configuration:

When installing an external Thunderbolt-to-10-gigabit Ethernet adapter, ensure that the device is the only device on a dedicated Thunderbolt 2 bus for best performance. Install the 10 gigabit Ethernet network adapter in a PCIe 2.0 or 3.0 slot that is electrically wired for an 8x lane width or greater.

For optimal 10 gigabit Ethernet performance when the “Use optimized network settings” check box is selected upon driver installation, add entries to the file /etc/sysctl.conf on clients running Linux or Mac OS 10.9 and greater.

Storage configuration:

Configure the FAS 8000-series with 40-disk aggregates that contain two 20-disk RAID-DP Groups. From the cluster, Storage Virtual Machine (SVM) should be set up to allow NFS and CIFS protocols.

Mac OS X tuning:

In Mac OS X, the default read/write size for an NFS volume is 32K. To increase performance, mount the NFS volume with a 64K read/write size. To do this, you must mount the volume manually through the command line interface by using the following syntax:

sudo mount –t nfs –o resvport, rw, rsize=65536, wsize=65536, [IP Address]:/[volume name] /mnt

For Mac OS X, the option “resvport” must be present when mounting, or else you will get an “Operation not permitted” message.

Windows tuning:

The Windows TCP stack is largely self-tuning and requires few changes when the ATTO Technology FastFrame NS 10 gigabit Ethernet network adapter is installed. A 64-bit operating system such as Windows 7 x64 or Windows Server 2012 R2 is recommended. In the “Advanced” tab of the network adapter properties, ensure that the “Receive Side Scaling (RSS) Queues” value matches the number of available CPU cores in the host computer. Larger Transmit and Receive Buffers improve the reliability of certain media playback and ingest applications by caching data in the host computer system memory during periods of network latency. Ensure that “Large Send Offloads” and “RSS” are not only enabled in the “Advanced” tab of the network adapter properties, but also enabled in Windows via the command “netsh int tcp show global” in the Windows command prompt.


Modern file-based video-production workflows create significant challenges for data centers that use traditional storage technologies. NetApp FAS enclosures provide a flexible, easy-to-manage storage platform. A workflow based on open network file-sharing protocols and the effortless scalability of this storage solution allows video professionals to adapt rapidly to changing production requirements, ever-increasing content storage requirements, and increasingly complicated workflows.

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