iTunes + NAS

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Paul Chown, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. Paul Chown macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    I'm very very new to iMac..... just so you know!

    Okay, I'm wanting to move my iTunes media to my new Synology NAS drive. I understand that i can just change in iTunes the Preferences_iTunes media location. Then consolidate files, which will move the media files to the new location and leaving the iTunes databases in the orignal location locally.

    but... i am wondering if i should move the whole iTunes folder (databases + Media) to the NAS and then point iTunes to upon launch?
    This is what i've done before when i had multiple drives in my previous Windows machine (it allowed me to reinstall OS without having to worry about iTunes databases etc + these databases were included in my backup strategy)

    I think i would rather have it setup this way as if you need too you can just move the whole folder and point a new iTunes OSX or Windows installation to it without having to have the same files paths etc.

    But I have read that there maybe some performance issues having the all of the iTunes database files on the NAS with the iTunes media.

    My iMac is connected to a gigabit ethernet network and my NAS is connected to my switch with 2x gigabit ethernet.

    Has anybody here set there's up this way?
    Do you have any performance issues?

    What else do i have to consider?

    Thanks in advance
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've not incurred any performance issues when I have my iTunes library on my NAS. I think the bandwidth that wifi and of course gigabit ethernet provides is sufficient enough to avoid any playback issues on music or video.
  3. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Keep the database local. You can always back it up.
    One of the challenges to NAS storage is making sure of instant availability to an app. In short if all is stored on the NAS, when you open up iTunes and if the NAS is not at that moment "connected" then iTunes (at least in the past) would create a new one locally. This was an annoying facet of all on the network schema. If your db is local and the NAS is not at the moment available, you just get a message saying it can't find the song/file and should it search for it.
  4. Paul Chown, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013

    Paul Chown thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Thanks for your reply, i'm just a little concerned that when i need to move itunes in the future i will have broken links. Drives and path names need to be exactly the same right?

    Importing my library again woud be a huge pain as my music + music videos needed a lot of work to get it right. And as iTunes does not change the files themselves (god only knows why?) when tweaking the album properties etc i'd have to go back to the beginning.

    Having the DB files in the same folder and Media folder prevents this broken link problems. Just fire up a new installation of iTunes and point to the DB.

    I get what your saying about the creation of a new Library if iTunes cant find the NAS one. This is stupid, it should ask you to located the missing DB, not just create a new one.

    Its about time fully Apple supported iTunes + NAS. It seams which ever way the only option is a workaround which comes with its own set of problems


    Do you run the iTunes Databases from your NAS or just the media?
  5. phrehdd, Mar 30, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2013

    phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    There is a logic to creating a new db if none is found. This is akin to starting up iTunes for the first time where it creates the default set up.

    What is more of interest is the problem you are having with setting up your iTunes media files on the NAS and not having the info or whatever working for you. Local db files etc. can be backed up and are not much different when properly used elsewhere. My db files are ALWAYS local. Then again, I also always try to make sure the media files are properly tagged and artwork incorporated.

    My set up (fyi) - I deliberately set up my structure differently than what iTunes would do.

    I prefer to use directories that show what is purchased and what I have converted and what came from other sources.

    iTunes Purchases\(title of album\songs)
    Lossless ACC CDs\
    Flac Purchases\
    Flac CDs\

    The reason I prefer this set up is easier to track items and to handle clean up and additions. When (which is rare) I download from iTunes store, the files first end up locally. I remove the reference from iTunes then move the files up to my NAS and re-add them. While this may seem too much work it takes but a moment and again, I know exactly where everything is instantly.
  6. arnabdas macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    I have encountered problems with "NAS". by NAS i mean a seagate usb 1 tb external hard drive connected via usb to the router. now, this isnt an ideal setup and as u might expect, the connection does drop at times. as a rule i usually open finder and make sure that the drive is discoverable before launching iTunes/iphoto.

    the fact is as people get more and more interested in owning large amounts of music and storing raw images, storage on a NAS will be the only option available to users. i guess one has to start living with nas sooner or later. its more of a question of how soon you switch to a nas than if you do.
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    It is wise of you to make sure the drive is recognizable by your system before opening up iTunes. - Especially if you have all of the iTunes files on that storage including the db files.

    Most routers that have the ability to add storage via USB do a fair job and can be flaky. A "real" NAS is always a better solution as it does the heavy lifting as opposed to a router which are rather limited.

    The alternative is DAS - direct attached storage where you simply add storage externally to a computer and in turn, you can share that drive in your network. The plus is easy control over that storage via the computer it is attached to and the drawback is that your computer must be on and awake for other devices to access that DAS drive.

    Just a thought.
  8. shalliday macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2011
    I am also using a Synology NAS for iTunes. When I originally migrated iTunes to the NAS I set it up with the database files stored locally and the iTunes preferences media location pointing to the NAS drive. While this did work, it was problematic in that iTunes would revert the preferences media location back to the local drive whenever the NAS drive appeared unavailable. I then had to go into preferences and reset the iTunes media location back to the NAS drive. Since iTunes does not notify you when it resets the media location I found myself having to always check and verify the media location was indeed pointing to my NAS drive.

    I later migrated the database files to the NAS and changed my default iTunes library to point to the iTunes library on my NAS (option key on iTunes launch). This has proven to be a much more reliable, better integrated and easier to use setup, at least for me.

    Other advantages, as you pointed out, with having your entire iTunes library (database and media) now stored on your NAS, is easier less complicated backups, reduced dependency on local computer OS and file paths which simplifies OS upgrades and new installs.

    I am using a Synology 1511+ NAS with 5 2TB drives in hybrid raid which leaves me with 7.2TB of useable disk space. My NAS is connected to my switch using link aggregation (2x gigabit ethernet). My iTunes library is around 6TB and I am having no performance issues accessing and streaming my NAS iTunes library from my MacMini which I am using as my media server for my Apple TVs, iPads and iPhones. I originally considered purchasing a thunderbolt DAS drive for even faster performance but decided that would have been overkill since I was using it primarily to stream media (iTunes) and not looking to use it for transcoding or editing. For this the Synology NAS works great!

    Hope this is some help and best of luck with with whichever setup you decide.


    Scott Halliday
  9. Paul Chown thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Hi Scott
    Thanks... My Synology is a DS1512+ and like you I have opted for holding the whole iTunes folder including the database on the NAS. So far so good its working without any performance issues. I have setup in login options for the NAS volume to open at login to help with the location of the DB files. seams to work every time :)

    i'm now a litte worried about back up, even tho i'm using 2 x 4TB drives in Synology Hybrid SHR. The Synology has its own file system, so if it falls over in the future i can't simply plug the drives into my iMac or windows machine to access the files!
    Any advise/solutions on this would be appreciated.

  10. shalliday macrumors member


    Dec 27, 2011
    Hi Paul,

    It has been working great for me as well. Not a problem since I moved all of the iTunes database files to the NAS.

    I am running SHR with five 2tb drives. From what I understand, the nice thing about running SHR is that if one drive fails, the failed drive can be replaced without any loss of data. However if two of your NAS drives fail at the same time, the data stored on your NAS is definitely toast.

    Most of my iTunes content was purchased from iTunes so in the event that two drives fail, I can redownload most of my content from iTunes. A long and painful process for sure, but doable. I use an external drive to backup all of my critical data stored on the NAS. Mostly documents, pictures and iTunes database files so its not that large. Been using this strategy for years now and it's worked for me. Prior to the Synology I had a Netgear Duo and never had a drive fail much less than two so have never had to do a "full" recovery and hopefully, never will :).

    Ideally you should have a complete backup of all of your NAS data on at least one secondary device, however depending on your situation, perhaps backing up just your critical data to one or more external drives would work for you as well, or until you need a fully redundant backup solution.

    What backup solution you need is really dependent on the type and size of your NAS database and how much of it you really need to recover.

    Hope this is of some help!


  11. arnabdas macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2013
    I've done a pretty extensive setup with NAS drives. My base station is a 128GB 2012 MBA. The media files (photos, songs etc.) are stored on a Seagate 2TB GoFlex NAS. I have another 2TB WD My Book Live for Time Machine backups. Both are gigabit compatible and connected to Airport Extreme.

    Now, the problem which I had previously was that since my iTunes library resided on the NAS, I had to mount the NAS on OSX prior to running iTunes since its something OSX doesnt do on its own. Now this got irritating pretty soon. So added the location of the NAS in the Login Items list in User preferences. Now Mountain Lion loads with the NAS already mounted.

    If you have a NAS, this is a MUST-DO step.

    I later created an AppleScript which allowed me to load the NAS invisibly without the loading process showing up in the dock. But thats another story.

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