Roon Storage: NAS or DAS

I’m trying to figure out what the best and most robust way to have storage for Roon would be. I want to use a fast RAID 1 array. My first instinct was just to get a NAS (I was leaning toward a Synology until I read about the SMB problems here) so I might get a QNAP. I’m not interested in running Roon Core on the NAS. I will either keep the MacMini I’m currently using or switch to a NUC. But it occurs to me that I’d get much more bang for the buck if I got a RAID array (DAS) that directly attaches to the machine running the Roon Core via USB 30. or Thunderbolt. I can then share the drive on the network and I’d think I get all the benefits of a NAS with better performance for Roon. Am I missing something?

I’m looking to upgrade my storage situation soon too. I have RAID DAS now but it is very slow so looking to go with a Thunderbolt connection. I can’t see any major advantage of a NAS myself given the Mac mini outperforms on processor and RAM against most NAS units available and it always on anyway.

Trying to find a reasonable Thunderbolt RAID enclosure is the next hurdle. The PROMISE Pegasus2 looks like the best pick from what I can tell. Any ideas on this yourself?

I was thinking of this one if I go Thunderbolt:

But this USB 3.0 one is a possibility too:

The NAS experience has never been as good as the local disk experience. I think your general plan is a good idea. For a long time, I’ve been using my NAS as backup, and keeping the “live” copy of my music library on a big local drive.

QNAP and Synology (and Drobo, and some others I’m sure) have the same issues…and the issues affect all apps that attempt real-time watching (not just Roon). Both NAS’s silently fail to deliver filesystem change notifications.

This seems to be solely a decision on the part of NAS manufacturers–a linux machine with a bank of hard drives and SAMBA running on it doesn’t seem to have the same limitations.

Anyways, on these NAS’s:

If you are watching one folder at a time (like an Explorer/Finder window) all is good.

If you are watching a multi-level directory hierarchy like Roon does, change notifications for subdirectories are silently dropped.

We considered watching every folder one by one, but in a typical music collection that’s thousands to tens of thousands of watches, and the performance characteristics aren’t good.

We have a plan for how to make these NAS’s do real-time filesystem watching reliably, and @jeremiah is working on proving out the approach and implementing. Once we are confident that this idea will actually work well, we’ll share more details.

In the mean time, I’m forcing myself to live with a NAS until the experience is on par :anguished:, so I installed a QNAP here last week.


I use a Synology NAS and haven’t had any particular issues in this regard as far as I can tell - what does it mean that the NAS will “fail to deliver filesystem change notifications”?

Likewise with my QNAP, I haven’t seen any of this pain.

I wonder if there are some other network specifics that are causing this behaviour.

Take an album that you have in your library that is not ID’d by Roon.

e.g. you need to add disc numbers or tidy up the info somehow.

Now, make the metatag changes to the files on your NAS using a tag editor. This is a quick thing to do and will mean that the edits are still there should you ever do a re-install of Roon (for whatever reason).

These changes are not passed to Roon’s real-time watching. You have to Force rescan of folder.

Perform exactly these types of edits to tags, files or folders on a local drive (internal or USB tethered) and the changes are real-time.

If you don’t recognise what I describe above then @Brian will probably want to know why not.

i think you should go with a good DAS.

i would go now with thunderbolt 2.

something like this:
this can be run as a raid (with the software raid softraid), for example to increase speed and (or) have protection.

if you can wait, thunderbolt 3 (within usb-c) is coming.

I am running a Netgear ReadNAS Ultra 6+. So far roon has seen every edit I have done, including examples like you just posted. After I make the changes to the ID3 tags, roon makes the changes to it’s database faster than I can pull my iPad out and look up the album. Running roon core on a standalone server.

I have come to this conclusion:

RAID protects you from a complete disk failure. But this is incomplete protection. Disk don’t necessarily fail in such a clear and robust way, you may get quiet corruption, random errors, software bugs, cosmic rays, “bit rot” – and typical RAID neither detects nor repairs such errors. (Both Windows and Linux have systems that correct for bit rot, but most do not.) Plus there is the possibility of fat-finger errors. Or burglary or fire. Whatever, you need a backup, preferably offsite. RAID is not backup.

And if you have a backup, why use a RAID for playback? Errors are possible but rare. RAID adds unnecessary complexity and activity in the playback system. We are all talking about simplifying the computing environment to reduce noise, and then we add four spinning disks and a lot of control software? You want to get spinning disks out of there.

So I use an SSD for playing. Biggest today is 2 TB for about $700, holds my library. Plus backup to a NAS, plus backup to the cloud. Feel safe, but the safety doesn’t involve my playback.


@JBNY, good to know…thanks. That is how it should be.
Maybe Netgear implemented SMB differently or properly on that unit (maybe others).
It would be useful to get a fuller picture of other brands/units.

[~] # smb2status

smbd (samba daemon) Version 4.0.25
smbd (samba daemon) is running.
max protocol SMB 3.0 enabled.

QNAP TS-451 on 4.2.0 firmware.

Mark, what result does this give you ?

In a properly implemented RAID solution, you should get compete protection not just from a full failure but from a failing disk. The RAID system should alert you to bad sectors or anytime there is a corrupt section of the disk/file, some of this is just normal ware and tear but many times it give you more than enough time to just buy a new disk and hot swap the drive. Backup of course is separate from RAID.

I agree if you are using RAID on an attached storage that you will also play music on you might not want to do that for the reasons you mentioned, but putting it on a NAS really does give you the best of both worlds. I have had a NAS in my system for 14+ years. During that period I have had three drives go on me but never has it been an issue. The storage is available for music anywhere in the home or over the internet, the same as my video files, photos and documents.

Trying any new music player over the years has been just plug it in and point it to the NAS and you are done.

hi andersvinberg,

i have to disagree a bit here:

1) backup and raid
sure a raid does not replace a backup.
its clear you need a backup for the critical data.
but for the not critical data, you dont need that.

2) reason of a protective raid
the main reason for a raid with protectection (raid 5 / 6 etc) is to avoid downtime.
a disk can crash and you still can continue using the raid (while replacing in the meantime the failed disk).

3) complexity of a raid
i partially agree here. the complexity has to be hidden from the user. you need a reliable solution here.
there are hardware and software raid systems. i prefer software raids, since you have much more flexibility and can avoid certain hardware raid issues.
on the mac side, the software softraid has an excellent reputation.

4) ssd usage in non raid system
hdd are still much cheaper.
if somebody chooses to use raid, you can achieve higher speeds with a striped hdd raid (raid 0, 5 /6 etc) at much lower costs.
but if somebody only needs something like your 2tb, then sure an ssd (no raid) is ok too.


Personally, I’ve never been convinced that going RAID is worth the hassle or expense. As has been said, RAID is not the same as Backup, and the latter is more important to me.

My media is stored on simple HDDs on my server (was a WHS 2011 system, now changing to W10, partly because WHS 2011 reaches EoS this April, and partly in order to accommodate Roonserver - assuming I pull the trigger at the end of the trial). All media is backed up one-for-one on HDDs (off site), and the majority of my media has the original CD as well - I’ve only recently started purchasing downloads.

Yes, I will have downtime if a HDD in my server fails, but I can live with that, I’m not offering a commercial service to paying customers… Plus the simple approach is also cheaper than RAID.

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Nick, As per this post further up the page. I did as you suggested and made edits using mp3tag. I had no problems with instant updates.

In fact I’d done this a few days ago in a ‘live fire’ situation as using Roon finally prompted me to update some missing artwork from a lot of CDs I had got from magazine covers (like NME and Q). I tracked them down with Google image search and as soon as I embedded the artwork into the tag, Roon updated the image instantly.

I must have done 50-60 CDs with no problem.

Another really nice thing about NAS is that they are generally very low power devices, as such you leave them on 24/7. So with that you have access to everything always, if I am not home and someone wants to listen to music using sonos for example, no one has to turn on a PC for the music to be available it is always available. If I am stuck someplace and have an internet connection I can just turn on my phone and listen to music from my home collection. For me having the files available always is the biggest plus.

To everyone who says “things are working fine”.

In order for this problem to be a problem, you first need to be in a situation where change notifications are flowing through the NAS in the first place.

This means, you must have at least the devices involved:

  • the NAS
  • the computer running your Roon core
  • the other computer, where you are organizing files or making metadata edits.

If you are editing and running Roon on the same machine, then the change notifications flow through the operating system on that machine, and there is no issue.

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A proper raid should take care of all errors but they typically don’t. Disk errors that trigger a notification are ok, but bit rot can happen anyway. People I know who build cloud systems expect 1 - 10 undetected bit errors per TB. There are systems that do it right: I use ReFS on Storage Spaces on my WIndows machine, and Linux has btfrs and zfs, but they are not commonly used. And if you ever bring your disk on an airplane, the error rate goes up dramatically, cosmic rays…

Does it matter for us? A single bit error may pass undetected, may cause an audible blip, may make the whole file unreadable, or a whole directory – depends on where it lands. If you have a mirrored RAID, you can’t easily request reading the other copy…

For anybody wants to geek out, Ars Technica discusses it here.