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Catalogs Cloud Catalogue Backup/Sync

JB1970

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Hi

Apologies as I know this has been probably been covered here before. Using Microsoft OneDrive I've recently synchronised my pictures and catalogue between my iMac and my MacBook Pro. To do this I first ensured that the file paths were identical on both computers Macintosh HD/users/username/onedrive/pictures and then within Lightroom moved my folder structure into the OneDrive pictures folder. Finally I also moved the Catalog and Preview files across to the OneDrive folder also. After a long wait everything has successfully uploaded and is working (nearly) the way I'd like it. I pause OneDrive sync, edit files as required on the MacBook before re-enabling sync to upload the changes. On the iMac I wait for the changes to download before opening Lightroom and continuing.

The only slight annoyance is that OneDrive does not not seem to dissect the catalogue file in order to sync only the changes. Each time I make a change then sync, OneDrive overwrites the entire catalog file - around 100MB. I have a 220 Mb download/12 Mb upload connection so it's not unusable but the upload does take a while longer than ideal.

Does anyone know how the other cloud sync apps work with regard to the catalog file IE Google Drive, Amazon Photos, Dropbox? I've used OneDrive as I have an Office 365 subscription and get 1TB free storage. Many thanks.
 
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The catalog file is a single binary file as far as the file system in concerned and unfortunately these sync services work at the file system level and are not able to understand changes made within a single binary file. The same is true of any backup software.

This is the same reason why making a single change to metadata and then saving that to the image file triggers the backup or sync software to backup the whole file.

The same is not true for your previews.lrdata. On a Mac this is in fact a special folder(called a Package) that hides all the sub-folders and files that it contains. A backup and sync can look inside this folder and find only those files and folders that have been changed. You can right-click or CTL-click on a package and select "Show Package Contents" to browse the contents of a package.

In short you have to wait for the entire catalog file (.lrcat) up to the cloud and back to the second computer before you can safely open it.

-louie
 
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Thats interesting. I wonder how well that works with the catalog file? Binary diff has been around for a long time but has typically been not used because of the high system overhead. I wonder exactly how they accomplish that because the before and after versions have to be compared bit by bit. They must some how keep a reference on the source computer.

-louie
 
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Thats interesting. I wonder how well that works with the catalog file? Binary diff has been around for a long time but has typically been not used because of the high system overhead. I wonder exactly how they accomplish that because the before and after versions have to be compared bit by bit. They must some how keep a reference on the source computer.

-louie
There is a large hidden dropbox folder on your computer as well, so I think that is probably what they do indeed.
 

JB1970

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The catalog file is a single binary file as far as the file system in concerned and unfortunately these sync services work at the file system level and are not able to understand changes made within a single binary file. The same is true of any backup software.
-louie
Thanks for confirming this. For some reason I thought that the catalog file was a "package" like the previews file. As stated I've used OneDrive due to the free 1TB storage. Following what Johan has said regarding Dropbox I may leave the referenced files in the OneDrive synced folder and move the catalogue file to my Dropbox synced folder and see whether that updates any faster.
 
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I suspect that the savings will be only for the upload of the modified catalog to DropBox. I think it is likely that the download to second computer will still be the complete catalog.

I am wary of using this methodology as there are just too many moving parts and too many opportunities to corrupt the catalog. Call cautious.

FWIW: Another method to share a single catalog is to put it on an external hard drive. It is also probably faster to switch between computers.

-louie
 

mlondon

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(My question is different from the OP as I am only using LR on a single computer, but as this thread is current, I thought best not to start a new one.)

I currently keep all my LR files (Catalog, Previews, Masters, etc) on my local drive. However I am on the road for an extended period of time and need to A) Backup to the cloud, and B) Free up some drive space (amazing how quickly we can fill a 2TB these days!). I have been using other online-backup tools (CrashPlan), but have found that wherever I am in the world, Dropbox uploads are always the fastest.

I would like to move my entire LR folder (again, Catalog, Previews & Master) to Dropbox. Once everything has synced, I was planning on using Dropbox's Selective Sync to uncheck the Masters folders I do not need while traveling. This way the previews are in my catalog, while the masters are backed up, but still available if needed.

I have read various reports in the past of problems using Dropbox with various applications. Wanted to check on the current status and make sure that this is a safe workflow. (Of course Dropbox itself could always crash and loose my data, but their distributed servers are far more reliable than my single computer. I do have a robust multiple backup systems at home, and back up to an external flash drive while traveling for safety.)

Thank you!
 
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mlondon - did you ever get an answer to this elsewhere? I've been watching this thread because I have the same question/concern. I use basic Dropbox now but just for personal documents/spreadsheets and Lightroom presets but haven't moved my catalog yet since I haven't purchased the extra space. I was going to but I also have OneDrive which comes with 1TB if you bought Office 365. So I'm not sure which is a better home for my catalog and previews.
 
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