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NAS - catalogue and storage questions

Jerry H

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Jul 21, 2017
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Can anyone advise please:
I am about to set up a Network Attached Storage probably using a Synology box but still deciding on the format (number of discs, RAID or SAH (Synology Hybrid RAID)
Some questions:
1. Where do I store the catalogue? I suppose it has to be on the NAS but where do I back it up to?
2. At the moment I have 2 TB of images all in one catalogue (2004 to present) is it a good idea to have one catalogue or is it time to split them?
3. I have nearly 3TB of data/images/files on my desktop, I suspect I will go for at least double that maybe more.
4. I use both Mac and Windows, are there formatting requirements to enable both?
I am sure there is more I want to ask but if anyone who has set up a NAS, I'd really appreciate comments - or links to good sites
Thanks
Jerry
 
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1. Unfortunately the plan fails here.....catalogs cannot be on network drives, they must be on a locally attached drive.
2. How many images in the catalog? 100k? No need to split a catalog of that size, Lightroom Classic can handle much more than that.
4. I assume you intended to put everything on the NAS and run Classic on either system at your convenience? Yes, there would be issues to deal with, but first you have to figure out a plan for the catalog.
 
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1. Where do I store the catalogue? I suppose it has to be on the NAS but where do I back it up to?
2. At the moment I have 2 TB of images all in one catalogue (2004 to present) is it a good idea to have one catalogue or is it time to split them?
The Lightroom Classic catalogue file itself is probably just a few GB (along with an expendable previews file that's probably somewhat larger). The catalogue tracks your 2TB of images, and those files are not inside the catalogue, they are stored in folders elsewhere. Because of this separation, the catalogue and previews files should be small enough to keep on your computer, and the images can be stored on a NAS where there is enough room for them. Lightroom Classic can easily track images across multiple volumes, so storing the images apart from your computer is fine, Lightroom Classic will see them.

Because your catalogue is probably small enough to keep on your computer, that answers your backup question too. If you regularly maintain a backup of your entire computer, the catalog will be backed up with it. Of course, because your images are not actually stored inside the catalog, you have to back up your images on the NAS too. Switching to a NAS doesn't change any of that. I might switch to a NAS in the future too; if I budget for 4TB of storage on the NAS, my budget must also include at least 4TB of additional separate storage to back up that NAS. It doesn't matter if the images are on a computer, a hard drive, an NAS, or a RAID: If that device stores the only existing copy of the photos, you need to have at least one more storage device around to back it up.
 

Jerry H

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Thank you Jim & Conrad.
Ha yes once I put the catalogue on DropBox and it caused mayhem!
I now have to decide on the size of the NAS....
Just one more thing, is it possible to work on an image from - say a laptop on the network, if that laptop does not have access to the catalogue.
 
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Just one more thing, is it possible to work on an image from - say a laptop on the network, if that laptop does not have access to the catalogue.
The solution to remote Lightroom Access is to have Lightroom Classic as a master catalog with the catalog file on the Primary desktop computer. Install the Cloud version of Lightroom on all other computers. Sync Lightroom Classic collections to the cloud for any images that you want to access by other computers.
Use the cloud version of Lightroom to access the images that have been sync's to the cloud or imported via a mobile device.
Lightroom sync's any work from the cloud back to the Classic catalog on the primary Desktop.

Note that none of this requires a NAS. And with the basic Subscription, you are limited to 20GB for files added via the mobile versions of Lightroom. Files Sync's up from the Classic catalog use Smart Previews and do not count against the 20GB limit A 1TB subscription is plenty large to hold all of your local catalog images. Windows and Mac can access the Lightroom Cloud data via the network connection

RAID, especially proprietary RAID file systems are not needed or recommended.\ unless you can manage a completely redundant RAID environment with two identical RAID controllers. RAID is only of value in a commercial environment requiring 7X24 data access. RAID is not backup.
The NAS uses its own OS and filesystem (probably some version of LINUX), so both MacOS and Windows can access the data via a mounted network drive.

I've abandoned all NAS processes on my network in favor of Locally attached Thunderbolt3 Drives. Network connections are limited to Gigabit speed for Wired Connection and much less for WiFi.

Instead of a NAS, I have shared volumes (14 TB) on my main desktop and these are available from any other computer on my local network. I backup my system locally via TimeMachine and Acronis (redundant multiple backups(
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
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The solution to remote Lightroom Access is to have Lightroom Classic as a master catalog with the catalog file on the Primary desktop computer. Install the Cloud version of Lightroom on all other computers. Sync Lightroom Classic collections to the cloud for any images that you want to access by other computers.
Use the cloud version of Lightroom to access the images that have been sync's to the cloud or imported via a mobile device.
Lightroom sync's any work from the cloud back to the Classic catalog on the primary Desktop.

Note that none of this requires a NAS. And with the basic Subscription, you are limited to 20GB for files added via the mobile versions of Lightroom. Files Sync's up from the Classic catalog use Smart Previews and do not count against the 20GB limit A 1TB subscription is plenty large to hold all of your local catalog images. Windows and Mac can access the Lightroom Cloud data via the network connection

RAID, especially proprietary RAID file systems are not needed or recommended.\ unless you can manage a completely redundant RAID environment with two identical RAID controllers. RAID is only of value in a commercial environment requiring 7X24 data access. RAID is not backup.
The NAS uses its own OS and filesystem (probably some version of LINUX), so both MacOS and Windows can access the data via a mounted network drive.

I've abandoned all NAS processes on my network in favor of Locally attached Thunderbolt3 Drives. Network connections are limited to Gigabit speed for Wired Connection and much less for WiFi.

Instead of a NAS, I have shared volumes (14 TB) on my main desktop and these are available from any other computer on my local network. I backup my system locally via TimeMachine and Acronis (redundant multiple backups(
I take a somewhat different approach that you might want to consider. First +1 to Cletus' point that you don't need a NAS. Second, anothere +1 to his point about a shared volume on his main desktop. I do something similar between my desktop and laptop. For your situation, think "Windows PC" and "MacOS PC."

I use my laptop only when I'm traveling or otherwise away from home for an extended period. My actual photo files are "only" 1.54 TB at this point, but once I scan all my slides and negatives, I will probably exceed 4 TB. Fortunately I can now buy a 4 or 5 TB internal laptop drive and put it into an external drive case. Or I can buy a similar portable HDD already in a case.

On both laptop and desktop I keep a complete copy of all my user settings and catalog files and previews, on an SSD in each system. For the laptop, I need to use an external 2 TB HDD for all my image files. The key to my approach is that I treat this process the same as "moving Lightroom to a new computer." Victoria has an excellent blog post for this process: Moving Lightroom to a New Computer - New FREE eBook | The Lightroom Queen

To make the process pretty much Phil-proof (because I don't always catch all the details), I use this utility, which is absolutely worth the money for me:

Phil Burton
 

TRCPhoto

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Jul 13, 2020
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Howdy all, I thought I might piggyback on this post with a slightly different scenario and get your opinions on what I'm thinking of doing.

I had been using Lr 6.14 on a late 2012 iMac and recently decided to migrate to a new MacBook Pro, and instead of the tethered external HD I bought a NAS (WD MycloudEX2Ultra).

My hope is to import via Lr and keep the catalog and smart previews on the laptop's SSD and have the RAWs on the NAS, with everything backed up to Backblaze B2. I was not intending on using multiple computers but rather making the MacBook the workhorse and occasionally using the old iMac as a secondary display... or a "TV" for my office. :)

That's the crux of it, am I nutty for doing it this way? I know a benefit of working with Smart Previews is that one could edit when away from their network and everything syncs up when reconnected, does this mean that I should disconnect the NAS while editing at home to prevent some sort of communication lag then reconnecting once done or am I over thinking this?

Also, now that I'm on Catalina I've discovered the bitter truth about Lr 6.14 and having to move to the subscription. Any pitfalls with my plan and this new subscription based way of life? Cletus' solution seems quite elegant and I wish I had found this thread months ago, but I feel committed to give this a try (read: I don't think I can return the NAS at this point and don't want a $600 external HD/paperweight!)
 
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4. I use both Mac and Windows, are there formatting requirements to enable both?
There are probably some issues there, notably that Mac is case sensitive and Windows is (mostly) not. Be careful with file names, be consistent.

As @TRCPhoto mentions though, the catalog is the killer issue. Lightroom Classic's architecture is simply not designed for multiple users or multiple computers. If you do some searches you can find all sorts of workarounds, with various syncing tools. You can, for example, Edit on windows, sync from windows to the NAS (exact copy); later before editing on MAC sync from NAS to Mac. All this works perfectly if you execute it perfectly, but get confused, forget a sync, do a sync in the wrong direction -- you will lose data. People do it, but it is really easy to screw it up. You really need to think that aspect through.
 

gwwinaz

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Jul 18, 2020
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Hi, I'm using Windows 10 with Lightroom Classic on a desktop. I may want to use it on a laptop in the future so my plan is to sync the catalog and previews between the systems.. I keep all my images on a NAS configured as RAID 1 (mirrored hard drives). I have over 2 TB of images and it is growing fast with the higher megapixel cameras. I also take Raw and JPEG. I take the JPEG to be consistent with cameras, past and present, that can not take Raw images and other software that requires JPEGs.

I'm using a Western Digital NAS with two 6 TB drives. The theory with RAID 1 mirrored drives is if one fails, you are given a warning and can replace it, hopefully before the other one fails. Once the failed drive is replaced, it is automatically rebuilt. However, I'm paranoid about losing my images and other files, so I keep additional hard drive backups as well as portable hard drive backups, including off site backups.

Once the NAS is configured (just follow the manufacturers instructions) and it is mapped as a Network Drive, it is always available on the network (LAN) just like any other drive. Many NAS drives can also be accessed remotely if you choose to allow Internet access. I prefer to travel with a portable hard drive I sync with my NAS. I use Syncback SE by 2BrightSparks.
 
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