Lightroom: allow storage of previews in a different location from the catalog

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  • Idea
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • (Edited)
Lightroom catalogs need the option of stopring 1:1 preview folders in a different location than their catalogs. Otherwise catalogs (even without images) referncing >100000 images cannot be usefully stored on current SSDs for performance gains without giving up 1:1 previews.

The problem: a typical 18MP image creates typically a 4MB 1:1 preview if so configured for faster performance. If I want to use 1:1 previews and keep them forever, eg. a 200K picture catalog like my own requires about 2 GB of space for the catalog (fine), but also 800GB space for 1:1 previews (fine on a HD, but not SSD), which can currently only reside in a subdirectory of the catalog, as I just confirmed with Adobe support. Hence, a catalog of that size cannot be stored on an SSD (limited to 480GB currently, and $1000 or more), even though it would be tremendously useful for speeding up that catalog. Even with a super-expensive RAID-array of 480GB SSDs you hit a limit at about 400K pictures that way.

If though the product allows to store both components in different locations (or, better, even the small thumbnails with the catalog, and the 1:1 previews in a different loaction), then even Million-picture catalogs can go to an SSD, making use of the up to 100x as fast small-block read/writes of SSDs that certainly benefit access to the LR database.
People put their catalogs on SSDs all the time, but currently they either have to limit catalog size (not an option usually) or give up on 1:1 previews partly or all together. That's a pity, since those previews are a performance cache definitely needed.

I really hope that the next LR sub release has that capability; it just requires another field in the catalog configuration UI where to store the previews, and a bit of logic behind it in the product. should be doable (at least I believe that, and I've been software developer in the valley for over 20 years and am now consultant for performance optimization of large enterprise websites).
Hope to see that soon, adobe!

PS. I'm aware that I could build a raid-5 array of conventional HDs for the catalog, but the performance for small block reads/writes will not be even near that of eg. a Patriot Wildfire SSD. So while RAIDs are great for storing your actual photos (and previews), they are NOT the best choice for catalogs).
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Felix Preisler

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Posted 7 years ago

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