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24 Messages

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4.4K Points

Sun, May 1, 2011 9:55 PM

411

Lightroom Classic and CC: Allow Catalog to be stored on a networked drive.

I'd love to make LR more multi-computer friendly. I have no doubt that there's probably database architecture issues and a host of other barriers... But I have to believe that the need for either multi-user or at at lease multi-computer use is widely desired. And yes, I know you can do the catalog import export thing but I find this less than ideal.

Responses

Champion

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5.5K Messages

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97.2K Points

9 years ago

A lock file wouldn't address the underlying issue of feared database corruption that might result when accessing a SQLite database from a network drive. See the discussion earlier in this thread for details -- there's a reasonable belief, not backed up by recent testing, that networked LR SQLite databases can get corrupted with at least some combinations of clients and servers.

If you want to live dangerously, you can trick LR into thinking a networked catalog is on a direct-attached disk by using symbolic links.

8 Messages

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150 Points

9 years ago

I've been trying to figure out how to do this with symbolic links.
Can you provide any more detail on how to set that up.
I'm assuming this solution is for a Mac as Windows doesn't have symbolic links.
(which is perfect for me)

I don't see how the database could become corrupted unless the network drive becomes disconnected while the database is being accessed.

Our whole workflow runs across a network without a hitch. I can't see how this could be an issue for a single user database.

FYI I have a computer engineering degree and have quite a bit of experience with databases and network applications.

Going through the SQlite readme & FAQs seems to indicate that the locking problems all relate to multiple processes (concurrently) accessing the database. This shouldn't be an issue if a lock file is used as a gate to prevent another process from gaining access to the database until the lock is deleted. I'll admit that I haven't read everything written but this is what I have found so far.

The issues of the OS not flushing buffers to disk or disks reporting that the data has been written when it actually hasn't are common to a local disk as well as on the server. Of course there could be corruption if a network goes down, the server crashes, etc just as the database is being written. That problem exists with any application

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Mark, I think you've nailed it - in theory, accessing a Lightroom catalog on the network is just like accessing it on a local drive, except you have a network instead of a sata cable, and a server computer instead of a disk controller (assuming non-concurrent access).

Quoting Dan Tull of Adobe (from above):

"If I recall correctly, my experiment was a Mac file SMB share with a single Windows XP client. I pulled the cable in the middle of an import and the next time I tried to open the catalog, it was corrupted such that I was unable to fix it in the usual way (doing a SQLite .dump into a new catalog). It wasn't great for performance either, but I didn't investigate that in detail as I was primarily concerned with validating or dispelling concerns about robustness against network failure. Our use of SQLite has changed significantly since then, so it's possible the results of repeating that experiment may be a bit less dire than previously. It's also possible that the (relatively new) WAL mode might be more resilient against this condition. My experiment is more than a little dated at this point. It's probably over 4 years old now."

I suspect you'd have the same problem if your sata cable became disconnected in mid-import - dunno...

Note: (also from above) - kada jawi tried it for a while over wi-fi, but network latency degraded the performance. I don't know how performance is over a wired network, or if that would be an option for you.

Summary:
-------------
Most people don't access catalog from network as a long-term solution, due to performance hit, and potentially reduced reliability, but its doable...

Champion

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5.5K Messages

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97.2K Points

Here's an article about using symbolic links in Windows to locate your catalog folder on a network drive:

http://www.davedaniel.com/index.php/2...

The principles are the same on Mac but with different details of course.

8 Messages

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150 Points

Unfortunately that's a windows only solution. It requires the "subst" DOS command. There is no OSX / linux equivalent. I've been unsuccessful in tricking Lightroom to access a network drive using symbolic links on OSX.

1.3K Messages

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22.5K Points

Google symbolic links Lightroom - I know Sean McCormack wrote something on the topic.

946 Messages

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13.8K Points

Champion

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5.5K Messages

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97.2K Points

Mark wrote, "Unfortunately that's a windows only solution. It requires the 'subst' DOS command."

The second half of the article shows how to use "mklink" to make a symbolic link to a network drive so that the entire catalog folder is stored on the server.

8 Messages

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150 Points

The suggestion in the second half of the article for linking directly to a folder on the server does not work on Mac OSX....

8 Messages

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150 Points

9 years ago

I've seen his posts on moving the preview folder and using sym links so that lightroom will find it. Nothing about moving the entire catalog to a network drive (at least that I could find).

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

This might work for you: http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...

(copies shared catalog from net to local host, if free (and reserves it for exclusive access)... when done for now, copies it back and frees it so others can use...).

Good for infrequent hand-offs, and/or small catalogs.

8 Messages

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150 Points

9 years ago

Thanks- I'll take a look at your script.
I don't think the network performance is too big of an issue for our situation.
We have a wired Gigabit network, no wireless, so that helps.

We are a portrait studio, and use a separate catalog for each client/session.
This helps keep the catalogs small.

We do the ingestation of photos into lightroom on the server.

We typically export a lower resolution image for proofing. They are good up to an 8x10 print.

What we really like network access for the following tasks.
--Image selection/rating (picking of favorites), while another client is being imported into lightroom at the server.
--If a client orders a larger print it would be nice to be able to export it from the retouching workstation and not have to go back to the server.

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

The scripted solution may or may not be useable for your situation.

I doubt I'll be robustening it enough for prime time (any time soon), since I presently have no need for it, but if you like to dabble in Python - you could do it yourself.

Given kada jawi's experience:

"I have had a few corrupted catalogs due to having the thing on a network drive. It works... most of the time, in snail mode. But it can go wrong. Terribly wrong. Are you sure you want that?"

I don't think I'd risk using it directly on the network. Plus, as John Ellis pointed out, its not just the network communication speed but the incessant overhead for constant random accesses that may be the network performance killer.

Note: A small catalog can be transferred over a fast net within a few seconds.

Also, if the catalog is the only file you need (that would NOT be the case for me, but may be for you), and if you can keep things straight without a script, then you can set Lightroom to backup the catalog to the net and fore-go the script. PS - The script requires you to exit Lightroom before the catalog can be copied (as does a Lightroom catalog backup) - this may be the deal breaker (?)

PS - The script can be modified to auto-start Lightroom after releasing a catalog, which may help in your situation.

I would love if Adobe would permit the catalog to be temporarily unlocked for reading, so a plugin could do SQL queries, or catalog backup... - doubt it will happen though. Maybe even the ability to simply close a catalog without exiting - again, don't hold your breath...

Merry ho-ho,
Rob

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

Whoops - kinda left your post out of context there - sorry 'bout that ;-}

4.5K Messages

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76.3K Points

9 years ago

This might work for you: http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...

(copies shared catalog from net to local host, if free (and reserves it for exclusive access)... when done for now, copies it back and frees it so others can use...).

Good for infrequent hand-offs, and/or small catalogs.

7 Messages

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230 Points

9 years ago

I put a post up on how to get network access to a Lightroom catalogue via read/write dmg with OS X using gigabit. It's a one-user-at-a-time thing but is very useful still. I've actually been doing this for 4 years now. Sorry for not spilling the beans until now.

http://theagnosticprint.org/how-to-ne...

All the best,
Walker

68 Messages

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1.4K Points

Does it work on Windows or only for Mac?

17 Messages

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276 Points

9 years ago

Please could you let me know if the new version of Lightroom (4) will enable the sharing of a catalog. In other words I have two machines, and would like to know if the second machine can utilise the catalog on the first machine via icloud or a network.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom - Sharing Catalogs.

Adobe Administrator

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15.8K Messages

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295K Points

Not currently possible or supported. Some folks have workarounds that aren't officially supported/recommended.

Sr. Product Manager, Adobe Digital Imaging

68 Messages

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1.4K Points

9 years ago

I'd love to have a multi user LR! I still install Media Pro (aka Iview and Expression Media) for my professionnal clients who need a DAM software.

This could be useful in so many enterprises, NGO, non-profit organisations, local authority where more than one person deals with pictures!

Iview / Media Pro is doing it since a long time, but features speaking LR is way better.

14 Messages

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570 Points

9 years ago

I was extremely disappointed to note that the beta of LR4 does NOT contain any ability for multi-user, network hosted operations. Do we have to wait until the 22nd century?

5 Messages

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160 Points

9 years ago

here are the main person involved in picture workflow in the way they should be =

-Photographer (shooting photo+transmission).
-photo editing desk (editing and light postproduction+captioning+transmission).
-Art director/graphic designer. (heavy-postproduction+final delivery+transmission)
-final customer.

here is how it works in reality =
-photographer (shooting photo/editing/postproduction/transmission)
-photo desk/art director
-final customer.

why this? because photographer have gained the ability to process pictures by themselve with digital era.

back in the day I will shoot 60 rolls of velvia, give it to the lab, have the slide printed with my copyright and the name of the event, do a quick edit to remove the junk, and then give it to the agency. job done. and this was because there was no way to do it another way.

know i spend 5% of my time behind the camera and the rest doing editing/captioning/post-processing/transmission.
that is why I have an assistant to help me to do the annoying part such as importing the cards, scan the junk, organize the files, prepare the catalogues, and do the final export and transmission

I am a photographer and I have to manage a pool of photographers on some of the jobs. that mean that i also have to make sure the guy shooting with me are doing the same thing....

so yes if there was a remote/intranet/internet/sharing option that allows every one to do his job on the same catalogue with a customised restricted access to certain function at the creation/opening of the catalogue that would be so efficient.
and It would allow to have MAJOR saving on plane ticket not having to ship everybody + equipment on location.

I could have a main catalogue accessible thru the network, hosted on a very strong machine and "x" clients who have a restricted access to what they could do on a daughter catalogue hosted on their machine. when they would press the "send the UPDATE" to the mother catalogue, it would prompt a screen off all the user saying " user X have requested to upgrade the catalogue please press OK" when other user would press OK, the main catalogue would do a backup of the current status, and then accept the modification.

like this i could create a catalogue on my workstation at the studio from my laptop at the other end of the world, and start dumping my card in the laptop who would send the low def jpeg to the workstation first to make the picture available for my assistant to start organizing the files, and would then upload the RAW file if I wanted.
A photo editor could start doing is edit remotely on this catalogue, while someone on another computer could do the captioning on each picture he have chosen because he would only see the pictures that the editor have selected .
the graphic designer would only see what is edited/captioned and would work on final images and so on with as much phase of modification/approval.

final customer would only see the final selection on his catalogue and then get back to the photographer and this network to give his feed back.

I would like to be able to focus more on my job = pressing the shutter release button and setting up some lights.

14 Messages

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570 Points

9 years ago

Christian Van Hanja makes excellent sense for professional photographers and it is about time Adobe starts paying attention.

I have several times earlier made the case for the same need but at the advanced personal rather than professional level. I am involved in the photographing of large numbers of aircraft, spacecraft and aerospace artifacts. I need the cataloging available for access from my laptop while travelling, from our home computers when editing, and on locations when travelling.

The multi-user, networked shared catalog makes sense on so many levels. It has now been years since many of us suggested this capability, yet judging from the Lightroom 4 beta, Adobe is making excuses rather than giving their customers what they need.

5 Messages

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160 Points

9 years ago

I think our wishes are important for Adobe and I know how easy it is to say "you guys should do this and that" vs actually make it happen in a foolproof software.

but my 2 cts is nowadays, it's all about mobility. i have a VERY capable laptop, but let's face it =

1) I don't want to lug my Pegasus R6 with me on a trip to be able to satisfy one of my customer while I am abroad by carrying all my latest job with me, and it will never be able to fight against my MacPro on SAS

2) today is all about collaborative work around the planet, and cloud working .

3) this could help very disabled person to work in image production without having to be on the field.

4) internet connection are going faster and faster every year so why not starting to think about being able to work everywhere.

5) After five days of holidays, I start feeling guilty sitting on the side of the pool... what a relief it could be if I could use that time to do a little clean-up of my image bank instead of being grumpy with my family....;-)

6) Yesterday, while working with another photographer, I spent 12h transferring files via fire wire 800 hard drive before figuring out that my new 1Gb network was actually 2 time faster.... network speed is up and ready for the fight now.

7) Doing a very capable "base station" is actually not that expensive = 1 MacMini server with 2 SSD+1 pegasus-R6 12Tb+ a good 1 Gb switch, and you are ready to rock under 3000$ - and it could allow you to make that laptop last a couple of year because you don't really need computing power anymore.

4 Messages

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176 Points

9 years ago

Great examples Christian, Eric, and Rodney, of the need for a multi-user catalog. Let me add my request. Our marketing department is using Lightroom to manage our photo collection but it is a pain sharing the catalog among us. We are an Adobe shop, using InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc. and would be so much more productive if we had a multi-user LR catalog.

Adobe, your customers are telling you the time is now for a shareable, networkable, multi-user Lightroom catalog. It's not a revolutionary idea.

14 Messages

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570 Points

9 years ago

Our home network uses Gigabit Ethernet connections, N wireless, and at the center is Microsoft Home Server...so there are customers out there that have the power to use networking and a centralized, shared catalog.

As others have said, it is time for Adobe to wake up.