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Managing many SMB3 shares on Windows 10

sethgoldin

Junior Member
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
24
I'm trying to figure out a way to manage having many SMB3 shares mounted to Windows 10 workstations. Windows seems to privilege "letter" mappings with some important features that it does not afford to symbolic links on the NTFS boot drive.

I have a handful of Windows 10 1903 workstations running Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. I also have a FreeNAS server to serve up footage and other project data to each workstation. On the FreeNAS server each project [a one-off video or campaign or a season of a show] has:
  • Its own ZFS dataset, with ACLs
  • Its own "group" owner for the dataset--users get permission to the project by being members of the group
  • Its own SMB3 share at the top level of the dataset
We keep track of which projects are mounted to which particular letters in one big shared Google Sheet. This is necessary because the Premiere and Resolve projects refer to those drive letters, and with different workstations hopping into the same projects, we need to make sure that the Resolve databases and the Premiere project files are mapped to same letters for the same projects. If different users were to choose different drive letters per project arbitrarily, they'd constantly be relinking and kicking others' media offline.

Now, this has generally worked great, but we're starting to have so many projects in progress that we're constantly out of drive letters. We've run into this occasionally before, and when it would happen, we might just pick a few projects and pause work on them to free up a letter for a little while. That won't work long-term, though.

I've tried mapping the network shares to local directories on the C: drive by creating symbolic links, by creating C:\mnt and giving each share its own folder in there. Resolve and Premiere are fine with mapping paths to those folders, but it causes other issues. When trying to use Hedge to ingest data from an external drive to these symbolic links inside C:\mnt, Hedge only reads the amount of space available on the 1TB boot drive. So, I might be trying to ingest 2TB of footage from an external drive to the SMB3 share with 200TB of space available, but Hedge reads the disk space from the boot drive, thinks there's only 500GB available, and refuses to transfer. The workaround is to free up a drive letter, let Hedge ingest to the server, remap the borrowed letter back to its actual project, and map the new project to a symbolic link in C:\mnt. What a headache!

I've thought about doubling up which projects might be assigned to which letters, but that would be annoying: to have to constantly be unmounting and remounting projects. It's not terrible to do so with the net use command, but it's still annoying, and it might be hard to anticipate when there might be a collision--needing to simultaneously mount two different projects that might have been assigned to the same letter.

Obviously my Mac and Linux workstations don't suffer this limitation, because their mounts live in /Volumes and /mnt, respectively, but that doesn't help me here on Windows!

So my question for all of you lovely people is: how do you all manage having many different SMB3 shares mounted to your Windows 10 workstations?
 

sethgoldin

Junior Member
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
24
Sort of--I figured out that for both Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, I can use Windows UNC paths. I'm not sure how fragile this is though--I suspect that some functionality is tied to the actual mapping of a drive letter, but for now, so far, so good.
 
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