DVR Server on Mac vs NAS?

I currently run my main Channels DVR server on a 2015 iMac 5K (Quad-core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz w 32GB RAM and Radeon M395X). The recordings are written to a QNAP TS-679 via 10G connections (10G PCIe card in the QNAP, and 10G Thunderbolt 2 adapter on the iMac, connected via 10G Ubiquiti switch). Performance is generally good and the service is mostly reliable.

I say mostly, because in the past 6 months or so, I have seen occasional crashes of being able to access the NAS while watching recordings on one of my nVidia Shields. These crashes were much more prevalent when I ran the server in Catalina – about once every two weeks or so it felt like. (I previously used this same setup to run Plex DVR, and never had any such issues – though, of course, the Plex DVR service comparatively sucked.) Since I upgraded to Big Sur, I've only experienced one such crash. But when the crash happens, the iMac must be rebooted, as no amount of soft-restarts to the Channels Server will allow it to recognize the NAS properly until a system reboot. I think I isolated most of the issue to having to do with having Jumbo frames enabled; disabling jumbo frames on the QNAP, iMac, switch, and router has been much more stable, but as mentioned, I have experienced this one time since then.

So my thought was to try running the Channels DVR Server directly on my QNAP (dual-core Celeron G1620 @ 2.70GHz w 8GB RAM). I installed that a few months ago and have been running it just to ensure its overall stability – and the results have been good. I haven't setup any recordings on the server running on the QNAP, but I haven't seen any random crashes either, so that is a positive. Therefore, I am thinking to move my 'main' Channels DVR server from the iMac to the QNAP. This would eliminate an external connection to the DVR storage, plus reduce overall power draw somewhat slightly.

Can anyone think of an immediate reason why this may be a bad idea? I imagine that the QNAP won't be able to transcode live content as well as the iMac can, but I likely won't use that feature too much – or, if I do, I will access the iMac server remotely instead. I currently have three HDHomeruns on my network, plus use TVE and a custom IP-camera channel.

Thanks for any suggestions / thoughts.

Are there errors in the dvr log when this happens? Is the software actually crashing or is it loading but unable to access the disk mount?

How is your NAS share mounted to the Mac? AFP, SMB, or NFS? Also, which version of the protocol? You may find that is where the unreliability comes from.

When these crashes happened, the sw client appeared to be fine, it just would not be able to continue or start playing any recorded content. Streaming direct from a HDHomerun I don't believe was an issue either. And macOS itself appeared to be operating fine (minus having to manually reconnect to the NAS).

I did review the logs the last time this happened, but there was nothing obvious as to what caused the failure. Essentially, I was just watching a recorded program, and then everything stopped. The first few times this happened, it was quite confusing, but now I know how to address it (however, one of these times happened while I was out of town, and so wasn't able to address before some future recordings were missed). This issue probably hasn't happened in a month or so, so finding the log for when it last happened would be difficult, but if I do happen to run across this again, I will be sure to make a better archive of it.

I am using the automount service in macOS and the protocol is smb. In terms of version, it should be whatever is the default version that ships with macOS 11.3.1. This is actually one of the two key reasons why I would like to move the server from the Mac to the QNAP – Apple has apparently decided that automounting shares needs to be extremely difficult in Big Sur. Thus, any major OS updates will wipe the automount share functionality, so it needs to be reconfigured each time after an update. If I forget to do this immediately after such an upgrade, Channels has no where to write recordings to until I realize I have missed a few recordings.

If it happens again I am happy to review logs. It seems strange that a hard-reboot would be required.

To answer your question: running the DVR on your QNAP directly would work just fine, and would certainly be more reliable without the extra moving parts.

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Thanks. I guess my main concern would be in terms of longevity on the QNAP. I have 4 different models of QNAP NAS, but none of them can run the current QNAP OS. For instance, this QNAP is forever limited to version 4.3.6.xxxx. I have seen other developers drop support for apps on QNAP on these older OS versions.