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Running Lr in the cloud....

tspear

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Over the weekend I was playing around with both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services for another company I and few others are starting.
I then had the idea, would running Lr in a virtual terminal work? You could provision a super fast workstation and only pay when you turn it on/off. For the occasional user this may get you access to incredible performance at a marginal cost.
Has anyone tried this? Is this idea just a little to crazy?
 

Ad Astra

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Interesting idea, LR as a service (LRaaS). Not sure how quick you would be able to upload RAW photos and download the finished files. When you turn it off in AWS is the user data lost?
 

tspear

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Interesting idea, LR as a service (LRaaS). Not sure how quick you would be able to upload RAW photos and download the finished files. When you turn it off in AWS is the user data lost?
Depends on how you set it up. If you use the standard Windows OS installs, everything is persisted across sessions.
 
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I guess it also depends how thin the client is. If every slider movement had to round trip to the server I'm pretty sure performance would be a problem.

Dave
 
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I've used RDP a lot remotely, as well as tools like TeamViewer. Latency and bandwidth make a huge difference, and even with high bandwidth circuits you have fairly high latency even to near-connected sites like AWS. I have never tried what you describe, but I would be skeptical that the use of controls (for example sliding a white balance temperature and observing the effect) will be smooth and in real time. But it would be interesting to try, and I hope you will and report back.

There's also the issue that lightroom performance has mostly been limited by single core CPU speed, not how many cores you have, or disk speed, which are two things you can buy easily on EC2. What you can't get are much faster individual cores than you can get on desktops. So again, I would be skeptical it would help (especially help enough to offset the latency).

Now... as a "edit anywhere, any time" solution, that is really an attractive idea, if it is just "almost as good" as a local PC (subject to bandwidth of course). So ... let us know if it works!
 

Gnits

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I have found (using remote apps) that the screen refresh for images seems to be lowest priority, so subtle changes may not appear until well after you have moved onto another slider, or that the subtle colour differences just do not appear in time. Performance will obviously depend on architecture and infrastructure all the way up and down the pipeline.

I was doing a remote session yesterday using Teamviewer. This is ok for training or support, but was not at all acceptable for judging colours or edits to an image in near real time. But .... who knows how architecture will evolve.
 

tspear

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Well I finished setting it up last night. It worked, sort of. :)
Lr performance was fine, the RDP speed and latency was enough to be annoying. Next problem was I could not read the SD card. (Mac client might have been the issue).
Oh well, worth keeping an eye on this. But at this point, I will just get a new laptop and desktop solution when my current ones ages off.
 
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It is a decent solution on a LAN, to use a laptop to edit if the LR catalog and images are on your desktop (for example). Though the USB (SD) issue is going to be the same.
 

Woodbutcher

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Well I finished setting it up last night. It worked, sort of. :)
Lr performance was fine, the RDP speed and latency was enough to be annoying. Next problem was I could not read the SD card. (Mac client might have been the issue).
Oh well, worth keeping an eye on this. But at this point, I will just get a new laptop and desktop solution when my current ones ages off.
Glad you tried it. I was getting tempted by the idea/challenge. What you saw was kind of what I expected. Close, but not good enough.
 

mkoziura

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Hi, Guys :)
I'm new to this forum but I wanted to share with you what I just discovered yesterday :)
I was looking for posts\videos\tips etc. regarding Lightroom in the cloud, especially in Azure (Microsoft cloud) and found just only this group... Anyway, once 2 of my computers were down (PC and MacBook Pro) and sent them for repair and I didn't have much opportunity to process photos, I started to play around Azure to run Lightroom.
Yesterday I used a strong machine in Azure and installed Adobe Creative Cloud package with LR Classic on it. It turns out that everything works, and the ergonomics of work is only slightly inferior to that on an ordinary PC!
I also was checking this possibility for last several years and in fact - it worked, but the comfort of work was barely mediocre, not to say unusable due to lags between (very precise) mouse movements, moving with small preset controllers, playing colors, refreshing the screen, smoothness of moving dozens of megabyte photos to the screen , especially in high resolution...
So my Azure machine is quite strong comparing to an average desktop: 16 core processor, 112 GB RAM, Premium SSD drive :) I was surprised, not so much by efficiency, because it's a obvious: importing RAWs and generating prevs takes less time than on a high-end PC or Mac. Not too much less but noticeably. I was surprised by the smoothness, ergonomics and comfort of work that gives Remote Desktop Application to connect to my Virtual Machine in Azure and precisely "knitting" in Lightroom! :) Really outstanding! :)
Interestingly, the service by TeamViewer didn't give me such fun using the desktop.
Up the step, I imported my presets and other settings - everything works. I retouched some pics, I especially use local correction tools, which always use a lot of trouble to machines (like local brush, gradients etc)... And what? Nothing, everything works fast! You can feel very slightly, barely perceptible lag, but it is sensitive to advanced people (like me ) and only sensitive to the point that everything goes perfectly (like me ).
So work on it a little bit, see how it is in the long run with the comfort of work. I know for a long time that file transfer is a problem - uploading 50 GB of RAWs is tough... but still I'm excited and just want to share with you that, Folks :)
 

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mkoziura

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Have you done any math to see what it costs to use, say per hour of editing and per hour of sitting storing while idle?
Sure, this machine's cost is about $1,5 per hour. Assuming you are working 4 hours a day (average) for 30 days a month is 120 hours means ~$180. Of course you can decrease a machine size to $0,5-1 per hour to pay less. This is to check yet if it's a difference between my machine and smaller one (like 8 cores, 32-64GB of RAM with Standard SSD). The price calculator is here: Pricing Calculator | Microsoft Azure
Click Virtual Machine and pick one you need.
 
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Yeah, but their calculators are like S3 calculators, it presumes you know how many operations you do. CPU hours are easy, but I have no clue if my OS disk transactions are a million or a trillion over a month. I was wondering how it actually would work out for someone who (say) decided to move 2TB of photos to this environment and edit in it for a year. How does it compare to (say) a high end workstation replaced every 4 years. You'd also need to roll in making regular cloud backups of the cloud primary storage.
 

mkoziura

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Yeah, but their calculators are like S3 calculators, it presumes you know how many operations you do. CPU hours are easy, but I have no clue if my OS disk transactions are a million or a trillion over a month.
Well, yes... I don't know that I\O operations either, let them be as it was.

I was wondering how it actually would work out for someone who (say) decided to move 2TB of photos to this environment and edit in it for a year. How does it compare to (say) a high end workstation replaced every 4 years. You'd also need to roll in making regular cloud backups of the cloud primary storage.
If you mean regarding costs, you (me) have to calculate this. I wouldn'y put 2TB of pics for a year to edit. I prefer to upload a catalog from a session I shoot and edit, then download exported TIFF\JPG and XMP to my (local) storage (I'm using 2x4TB Synology NAS) and delete from the cloud.
Regarding backups - to have in mind the flow I'm describing you rather don't need to have a backup because you have just a operating system with maybe settings of LR (which is not a big effort to backup, I'm using OneDrive from Microsot, it integrates with Windows (MacOS too) very well.
I don't backup my LR catalog, I'm not using it for archiving etc., maybe I don't understand an idea, but I don't need to roll back to my previous (old) photos after I finish a project (a session with editing). Of course sometimes I do and then it's easy to import to LR those pics I just need :)
 
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Ah, I guess I had a different paradigm in mind, if I was going to edit in the cloud I would use it instead of a local computer, essentially turning my laptop and local computers into dumb terminals just for access.

I just can't see upload time being practical to use it for purely a working space, then pull it back down, the... what, if I needed to touch one up for a different purpose upload again?

But of course your mileage may be different. :)
 
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I'd be concerned about the monitor drivers and GPU since you are using an emulator. I would think the colours would not be as good as they could be. In other words, can you load a colour profile while running a VM.
 

tspear

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I'd be concerned about the monitor drivers and GPU since you are using an emulator. I would think the colours would not be as good as they could be. In other words, can you load a colour profile while running a VM.
I found the Workspace client effectively is sRGB space. So if only web based; it would work.
 

mkoziura

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I'd be concerned about the monitor drivers and GPU since you are using an emulator. I would think the colours would not be as good as they could be. In other words, can you load a colour profile while running a VM.
No, I can't, I was not looking for this. The colors on my monitor look good, I put on my desktop Surface 4 Pro which is my company PC and has a great color reproduction, not worse than my MacBook Pro (calibrated) and the colors looked similar so I decided it's fine for me.
 

mkoziura

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Ah, I guess I had a different paradigm in mind, if I was going to edit in the cloud I would use it instead of a local computer, essentially turning my laptop and local computers into dumb terminals just for access.
Yes, this is it. I'm not saying you have to get rid all the stuff you have bought for years (regarding computers etc.). I'm just saying that it's possible and convenient to use and I can imagine some situations when I don't have access to my "graphics related" computers but have some time to edit pics and then I can use a cloud :) It's quite cheap, especially when using occasionally so thiscould just help me sometimes.

I just can't see upload time being practical to use it for purely a working space, then pull it back down, the... what, if I needed to touch one up for a different purpose upload again?
But of course your mileage may be different. :)
Yes you are right. There will be always some pros and cons, pick pros you are fine with them and try to live with cons you don't like :) Or just stop thinking of using cloud yet :)
 
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Yeah, I just don't use the cloud, and I stopped trying to take a laptop to events and post process there. I get that it's a need if not a necessity for many, but it is SOOOO much nicer to have a couple huge screens, dark room with consistent light and colors, calibrated monitors and fast processor and local storage. The whole mobile paradigm will win, no doubt, but I'm staying in my post processing cave for a long time yet.
 
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You could provision a super fast workstation and only pay when you turn it on/off. For the occasional user this may get you access to incredible performance at a marginal cost.
Back to TSPEARS original supposition. I just retired from a cloud company (not Microsoft) and I know you have to be careful in determining pricing. For example, not only do you need the OS VM but you need permanent file storage to hold the catalog. There is also a cost per IO and you have to determine how you are doing backup. Cloud companies also offer discounts of monthly charges over pay-as-you-go. I've attached a rough price estimate I ran from Azure. Again, rough, lots of assumptions plus you have to watch for hidden costs and accelerators.

The idea of LR-as-a-service can be compelling BUT it was never designed to work as a shared interactive service. You still need an OS for each instance which increases costs. Adobe would have to rewrite LR and other products into a shared environment much the same way other SaaS apps like Salesforce are deployed IMHO.
 

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tspear

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@Paul_DS256

The Adobe solution is Lr CC. The new "cloud" version.

Also, you assume the VM is running constantly. When I was considering this solution; I probably spent 20 hours a month on photography. Now, due to work, I am spending about 5 hours a month.

If Adobe could solve the video resolution and color gamit; I would seriously consider it.
 

mkoziura

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Yeah, I just don't use the cloud, and I stopped trying to take a laptop to events and post process there. I get that it's a need if not a necessity for many, but it is SOOOO much nicer to have a couple huge screens, dark room with consistent light and colors, calibrated monitors and fast processor and local storage. The whole mobile paradigm will win, no doubt, but I'm staying in my post processing cave for a long time yet.
Sure, thumbs up! :)
 

mkoziura

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Back to TSPEARS original supposition. I just retired from a cloud company (not Microsoft) and I know you have to be careful in determining pricing. For example, not only do you need the OS VM but you need permanent file storage to hold the catalog. There is also a cost per IO and you have to determine how you are doing backup. Cloud companies also offer discounts of monthly charges over pay-as-you-go. I've attached a rough price estimate I ran from Azure. Again, rough, lots of assumptions plus you have to watch for hidden costs and accelerators.
You assumed 24-hour a day, 365 days a year of VM to be turned on, which is wrong assumption from my point of view. @tspear - good point :) Additionally you are assuming 1TB of storage. I think it's not necessary and I prefer just upload files for my current project, i.e. last session or vacation which is max 64GB. Edit them, download TIFF\JPG\XMP to my local disks and delete the files from the cloud to free up space for next project. I only need max 128GB of space which is included in OS disk once starting a VM.

As said before - I treat this solution as a backup. My both machines I'm using for editing pics are down (that's a bad luck :( I know) and until they are alive again I use cloud. You can see my pics from NYC when I visited recently here: Marcin Koziura (@koziur.ex) • Instagram photos and videos
All pics from NYC have been edited on VM with LR in Azure :)
 

ghaing

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Hi, Guys :)
I'm new to this forum but I wanted to share with you what I just discovered yesterday :)
I was looking for posts\videos\tips etc. regarding Lightroom in the cloud, especially in Azure (Microsoft cloud) and found just only this group...
Hi, I have signed up specifically for this thread. This is something I have considered and pondered about a lot recently and found myself here searching for others who have tried.

Ah, I guess I had a different paradigm in mind, if I was going to edit in the cloud I would use it instead of a local computer, essentially turning my laptop and local computers into dumb terminals just for access.
My point is the sae as yours @Ferguson I am a photographer and world cycle tourer so for my photo editing I have been backed into using a laptop. My budget isn't the biggest and with all that in mind I have bought the Dell XPS 15 2 years ago. It works alright, does the job. It often get's hot to touch and many steps are slow enough to go beyond frustration and actually slow down my workflow more than just the amount of time lost due to slower performance, because it can often cause me to lose "my flow."

So my thinking is a cloud VM could possibly be quicker than a mid-range priced laptop. Of course bandwidth is a problem when on the road, good quality internet speeds is not something I can pretend to have at any sort of regular intervals, but I guess I was hoping that screen refresh over mediocre internet is less of a bottle neck than pushing my local CPU to the max whilst simultaneously keeping my lap warm.

So work on it a little bit, see how it is in the long run with the comfort of work. I know for a long time that file transfer is a problem - uploading 50 GB of RAWs is tough...
As for storage and file transfer, something I have been extremely happy with is my Google Drive private domain account. The second tier now provides unlimited storage and their Google Drive File Streamer allows all content to be visible as a locally mounted drive, but using the "always available" vs. "online only" functionality seen in modern cloud storage clients. This would allow me to keep my storage capacity costs low, although constantly switching different photo sets could rack up plenty of read/writes. Although this doesn't fix your initial upload issue once it's uplaoded from your local device, it's visible instantly from all cloud locations, including your cloud VM which is mapped to show those files instantly, at least as "online only." if you were to want to edit that batch in bulk and make lots of changes, set it to "Available Offline" for the duration of that edit. This, by the way, is how I already work on my laptop. I only have 512GB so no room for my ~900GB raw files, so I upload to the cloud, remain offline while I edit and once done set to online only and they're safe online, not consuming my local storage, but instantly accesible on-demand for the occasional update, edit, export and so on. I'm fortunate to have spankingly good internet at home, but this is something else that becomes a problem on the bike. Storing a second off-laptop backup until I find good wifi where I probably have an entire days worth of uploading to catch up on.

Another perspective only really relevant in my "living on a bike" scenario, is that some larger compute operations can be left to run while I remain offline, out of any internet range and using no power. These are great benefits.

But all-in-all, are the tradeoffs really worth it. And, what is the cost implication. For me, the cost benefit doesn't stack up specifically because I don't have a large budget so only have a mid-priced device. Stacked up against. Frustratingly, as it is still really an unpaid hobby, the cost is all my own, and so such a cloud solution (or even editing cave, which is obviously making me weak at the knees) is out of my own pocket, so running my Dell and rebooting every few hours to full clear the memory and give it 15 minutes cooldown time, is probably my only real solution. If I were to invest in more money, it would probably just be on a £4k laptop. All that being said, I'm a bit of tech geek, and I like the idea of the cloud solution, because I can jump on my LRaaS from any computer, technically tablets, if I lose a computer, and it's always there.

Sorry it's so long.. :)
 
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