Offload Lightroom Classic Batch Processes to Second Computer

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A user has the following computing resources and wishes to use each for what it does best:
 - Surface Book laptop: excellent for interactivity and lightweight processing given its GPU, SSD, digitizer, touch screen, and ability to run full desktop software. Calibrated display. Unresponsive when doing batch tasks in Lightroom.
 - Workstation: 8-core CPU, 32 GB RAM, and Windows 10 or Windows Server 2016. Ability to handle processor and memory intense workloads. Not portable. Cheap displays.
 - Network file server
 - Wired gigabit network
 - DSLR camera with SD storage card

The user would like to be able to offload processor and memory heavy tasks from the laptop (COMPUTER1) to a second Lightroom instance (COMPUTER2).

The workflow would look like this:
1) User captures images with DSLR camera
2) User imports files from camera SD card into Lightroom Classic on COMPUTER1
3) Images are copied directly to the network file server
4) Lightroom Classic server instance creates smart previews
5) Smart previews appear in the client Lightroom instance as they are generated.
6) User accomplishes cull and edit process as normal
7) When edits are complete, user triggers export. Export process takes place on COMPUTER2 and user is notified on COMPUTER1 when they are complete.
8) User uses exported images on the file server as desired.


It would be super cool if this could be extended to Lightroom Mobile. Imagine an iPhone being assisted by the processing power of a workstation!
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Jordan Nash

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Posted 3 weeks ago

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David Converse

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I doubt that you'll see client-server versions of Lightroom. Ever.
Having said that, do the work on the powerful machine and open that catalog on the Surface. You could probably use Remote Desktop for remote control.
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Jordan Nash

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An RDP and Work Folders (similar to roaming profiles) workflow might look like this:

On the laptop:
1) Copy SD card contents into network file server structure
2) Connect to second workstation using RDP

Within the RDP session:
3) Start Lightroom Classic
4) Open event catalog
5) Do Lightroom Classic Add import process and smart preview generation
6) Close Lightroom
7) Allow Work Folders to synchronize

Back on the laptop:
8) Allow Work Folders to syncronize
9) Start Lightroom Classic; open event catalog
10) Cull, select, and process as usual using the smart previews
11) Close Lightroom
12) Work Folders sync

Within the RDP session:
13) Open Lightroom and the event catalog
14) Do the export
15) Close Lightroom

The time required to open/close/synchronize might reduce the benefit and take almost as much time as just doing the processing on the laptop.

This workflow might be able to use exported catalogs or the backup function, but I'm not sure it would be faster or simpler.

I'm not sure that Adobe allows for two simultaneous Lightroom instances (though it's never running simultaneously in the above workflow) or if Lightroom would install on Windows Server 2016 (virtualized under a Server 2016 Datacenter instance via a student license). I'd probably have to create a Windows 10 ESXi virtual machine.

(Edited)
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Larry Fasnacht

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YES!  Not "network" necessarily, but I have two desktop computers and an iPad, surely there could be a way to use all that horsepower to speed things up.