Aug 012012

The following problem can be reproduced on all Mac OS X Lion clients:

When you set your Adobe After Effects CS5.5 render output path to a folder on an NFS volume shared by an Windows 2008 R2 server the render process stalls. After that the machine has to be hard reset!

While doing some server and network protocol performance tests we discovered the described problem. We also set up a dedicated Windows NFS test server and a Mac OS Lion client to verify it. Other NFS servers are working as expected.

It looks like that After Effect tries to set a lock on the render destination file. During that something (??) goes wrong and the process stalls. After that the NFS kernel extension is still dead locked (??) and you need to hard reset your Mac.

To work around this issue the “sync” mount command line option can be used! This causes a big performance loss but at least it allows you to render to the NFS volume.

mkdir mountpoint
mount -t nfs -o sync server:/sharepoint mountpoint

Further details about the sync/async operation can be found in the exports man page.

  9 Responses to “OS X: System hang after rendering from Adobe After Effects CS5.5 to Windows 2008 R2 NFS Server”

  1. Did you happen to test this with the “nolocks” option? We’re on an isilon as well and experiencing these issues. I just tried the “sync” option and read speeds are about the same. Write speeds are 20% of what they were. Haven’t tested ae renders yet.

    • Hi Mark,

      It’s been a long time since I did these tests however as far as I can remember the only thing that helped was to use the sync option. As you already noticed this option causes quite a big write performance loss as it disabled caching on the server side.

      I’m wondering what AE and OS X version you are using. As far as I know the only AE version affected was CS5.5. The underlying bug has been fixed with CS6.

      • Thanks for your response. We are running AE CC and still on Mac OS 10.8.5. I tried the “nolock” and “locallock” options and neither of those showed up as options that were actually used in the mount.

        • What is your exact problem? Does the machine freeze? Is there any message logged? Why do you use NFS? Can you try it with SMB? Do you use 1Gb or 10Gb Ethernet?

          • The machine appears to freeze, get locked up during an AE render to the server. I have not checked yet for a logged message. I will do that. We use NFS because it is so much faster than SMB, at least in 10.8. I assume the SMB would work fine, but I can try. We use 1Gb, mostly, but we do have some 10Gb.

          • Ah yeah… you are right! Lion was the last OS X with flaky SMB support! However, as far as I can remember we were not able to resolve this issue with Lion… Would it be possible to upgrade to Mavericks?

          • Yeah, that’s probably our only option. Thanks! We’ll do some testing.

  2. Been having the same issues here, but with an isilon cluster with NFS exports instead of windows server. Glad I found this post!

    I’m wondering though, would the “nolocks,locallocks” mount options prevent the client from locking the render destination file?

    I was experiencing the exact same issue you described with just the “nolocks” mount option, trying out adding “locallocks” to see if this would fix the issue. That way, there would be no loss in performance. Let me know if you’ve tried that.

    Thanks for your post!!

    • Hello Ross,

      I’m currently unable to redo the tests as your NAS system is currently in use.
      But I will get it back in a few weeks and check it again!

      As far as I can still remember the issue was only resolved by using the sync option.

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