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Jody SappingtonJan 31, 2024 8:00:00 AM2 min read

Is SAN or NAS better for video editing?

Discover the key differences between SAN and NAS for video editing. Network Attached Storage Devices


Video editing is a demanding task that requires a shared storage solution capable of handling large files, high data transfer rates, and collaboration among multiple users. When it comes to shared storage architectures, Storage Area Network (SAN) and a Network Attached Storage device (NAS) are two prominent options. In this blog, we'll delve into the considerations of SAN and NAS to help you determine which is better suited for video editing workflows.

Understanding SAN and NAS

  1. Storage Area Network (SAN):

    • SAN is a dedicated high-speed network that connects storage devices (usually shared storage arrays) directly to servers.
    • It operates at the block level, presenting storage volumes as block devices to connected servers.
    • Typically used for applications requiring high-performance and low-latency access, such as databases and virtualization.
  2. Network Attached Storage Devices (NAS):

    • NAS, on the other hand, is a file-level storage system connected to a network, providing storage volumes accessible by multiple devices.
    • It operates at the file level, using protocols like NFS (Network File System) or SMB (Server Message Block) to enable file sharing.
    • NAS is known for its simplicity, ease of use, and scalability, making it suitable for various applications, including file sharing and backups.

Considerations for Video Editing

  1. Performance:

    • SAN: SAN is designed for high-performance applications, making it a strong contender for video editing. Its block-level access allows for faster data transfer rates and lower latency, crucial for real-time video editing and rendering.
    • NAS: Modern NAS solutions have improved performance with features like 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) and SSD caching. While NAS may be suitable for smaller video editing projects, SAN often outperforms larger, more complex workflows.
  2. Collaboration:

    • SAN: SAN excels in collaborative environments where multiple users need simultaneous access to shared storage. It allows for direct block-level access, enabling multiple editors to work on the same project simultaneously without performance degradation.
    • NAS: NAS also supports collaboration but may experience performance limitations, especially in scenarios involving high data transfer rates and multiple concurrent users.
  3. Simplicity and Scalability:

    • SAN: SAN setups can be complex to configure and manage. While they offer high performance, they may require specialized knowledge and dedicated IT resources for maintenance.
    • NAS: NAS is known for its simplicity and ease of use. Setting up and managing is often more straightforward, making it an attractive option for users with varying technical expertise. NAS solutions are also highly scalable, allowing for easy expansion as storage needs grow.
  4. Cost:

    • SAN: SAN solutions tend to be more expensive upfront, requiring specialized hardware and infrastructure. However, they may offer better performance in certain scenarios.
    • NAS: NAS solutions are generally more cost-effective, both in terms of initial investment and ongoing maintenance. This makes NAS a preferred choice for smaller businesses or individual users with budget constraints.


The choice between SAN and NAS for video editing depends on your workflow's specific needs and priorities. SAN is ideal for high-performance, collaborative environments with larger budgets, while NAS offers a more cost-effective and user-friendly solution for smaller projects. Consider the size of your video editing projects, the level of collaboration required, and your budget constraints when making the decision between SAN and NAS. Ultimately, both storage architectures have their strengths, and the right choice will depend on finding the balance that aligns with your unique requirements.

To learn more about the best network attached storage options out there, check out our blog Top 5 NAS Servers: Best Network Attached Storage of 2024.