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03-23-2016, 09:57 AM   #1
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Switching to Mac and Rethinking Cloud Storage

Making some changes to my workflow and hardware and looking for thoughts from folks who have a similar situation:

I'm finally switching to a MacBook Pro from many years with PC. I'll be going with a 512 GB SSD and plan to move my nearly-full HDD 1TB of photo storage to a 2+TB "portable working storage drive" (as in, keeping all my work in an accessible, portable drive - with appropriate backups, of course). I'm going with the concept of relying on cheaper (and replaceable) external drives, rather than loading up an expensive laptop drive. This will be a first for me). Currently using Lightroom perpetual license, but will move to a monthly creative cloud plan as part of my overhaul. Lightroom is essential to my workflow and I will be sticking with it for any foreseeable future.

My question is this: Because I edit via Lightroom in more than one geographic location, is there a cloud storage option that will provide the same level of file access I now enjoy on my hard drive, or potentially would enjoy carrying files around on a new portable drive
?

I have accounts set up in several clouds that currently function as my last-resort backups, but they seem useless or clumsy for ready-access editing:

Amazon Prime - pros= free, unlimited, accepts RAW, can be set up exactly like my hard drive file organization, so I can find things easily. Cons = slow uploading, not direct from Lightroom, and (guessing here) won't easily accommodate LR catalogs.

Flickr - pros = free, had auto-upload until this week (now a paid feature), good viewing platform. Cons = no RAW upload, can't mirror my file organization tree, no LR catalog info. Good for extra backup of processed JPEGs, but useless for RAW editing purposes.

Icloud - it seems Apple has its own way of organizing photos and we take it or leave it? Also, no RAW? Am I missing something in the Adobe mobile/Apple interface? Adobe markets the portability of their editing apps but, try as I might, I couldn't see how this would work for RAW editing in LR and PS.

Dropbox, Smugmug - just started with free/minimal versions of these. Not expecting I'll get what I'm looking for, though Smugmug takes unlimited RAW.

Are there others I'm overlooking that will function as a virtual hard drive the way I need it to? I keep thinking surely my situation is common enough that someone has figured it out. Or maybe I'm being too optimistic?

If I can't push and pull from a cloud and have go with the "sneakernet" option, then this question: If I use LR on two different laptops in different locations, how do I set up my portable hard drive to function on both? Do I just change my import/export settings in LR to default to the portable hard drive, bypassing the laptop drive completely?

And lastly, I'm looking at LaCie portable drives. Trying to find something small, quiet, and not break the bank. I looked at the GTech RAID options, but people complain about the fan noise. Others you have had success with? Are external SSD's as reliable?

I've always relied on sturdy, dependable hardware - desktop or laptop - to get the work done. Though I'm computer literate since the days of 512 hard drives, I'm no techno nerd, so I need things to be pretty much plug and play these days.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me on this.

03-23-2016, 10:20 AM   #2
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There are two ways of storing photos on iCloud. iCloud Photos is meant to sync all your photos between various iOS, tvOS, and OS X devices. It's really meant for people who use an iPhone as a primary camera...

iCloud Drive is traditional cloud storage. You can store any type of file and access it from any device.
03-23-2016, 10:30 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
There are two ways of storing photos on iCloud. iCloud Photos is meant to sync all your photos between various iOS, tvOS, and OS X devices. It's really meant for people who use an iPhone as a primary camera...

iCloud Drive is traditional cloud storage. You can store any type of file and access it from any device.
@boriscleto - Can it function as I need it, then, with regard to organizing as a mirror of lightroom?
03-23-2016, 10:38 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
is there a cloud storage option that will provide the same level of file access I now enjoy on my hard drive
Your cloud storage access and utility are only as good as your Internet connection. One of the reasons I don't use my available accounts is that my DSL upload is throttled to a fairly low bandwidth.

I use an external USB-3, non-SSD, hard drive for my backup strategy and leave the drive disconnected when not actively doing backup. For sharing of multiple files or zips, I use a free Dropbox account.


Steve

03-23-2016, 10:38 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
@boriscleto - Can it function as I need it, then, with regard to organizing as a mirror of lightroom?
Adobe has there own cloud storage that is part of Creative Cloud. But it is limited to 2 GB.

If you are dealing with RAW editing an external hard drive is the way to go.
03-23-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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I'm actually going to be setting up Amazon Prime tonight with an automatic sync between my folders and the cloud. I have about 35GB to upload initially, and it'll probably be running overnight. Also using LightRoom perpetual license. While there's no sync directly between the two, the Amazon Prime app monitors the folders I believe and syncs the two when changes are made.


Another option is OneDrive from Microsoft. I know their app monitors the file system and uploads changes (adds/deletes/modifications) so the external app (in this case Lightroom) doesn't need to know anything about it.
03-23-2016, 11:38 AM   #7
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I use a free drop box account for my YNAB database file and 1Password database, that works great to keep info synced between my wife's laptop and mine as well as our iPhones. You would probably want the paid professional version of drop box, but I don't see why you could not set up Lightroom to use the shared drop box folder from your Mac instead of a local folder.
03-23-2016, 11:45 AM   #8
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There are alternatives to Flickr's Uploadr which just went PRO only... Flickr Schedulr - Home

It can be used to upload normally, (i.e. you don't have to schedule), but I don't think it has a feature that watches a folder and automagically uploads when you add photos to it.

03-23-2016, 11:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
Making some changes to my workflow and hardware and looking for thoughts from folks who have a similar situation:

I'm finally switching to a MacBook Pro from many years with PC. I'll be going with a 512 GB SSD and plan to move my nearly-full HDD 1TB of photo storage to a 2+TB "portable working storage drive" (as in, keeping all my work in an accessible, portable drive - with appropriate backups, of course). I'm going with the concept of relying on cheaper (and replaceable) external drives, rather than loading up an expensive laptop drive. This will be a first for me). Currently using Lightroom perpetual license, but will move to a monthly creative cloud plan as part of my overhaul. Lightroom is essential to my workflow and I will be sticking with it for any foreseeable future.

My question is this: Because I edit via Lightroom in more than one geographic location, is there a cloud storage option that will provide the same level of file access I now enjoy on my hard drive, or potentially would enjoy carrying files around on a new portable drive
?

I have accounts set up in several clouds that currently function as my last-resort backups, but they seem useless or clumsy for ready-access editing:

Amazon Prime - pros= free, unlimited, accepts RAW, can be set up exactly like my hard drive file organization, so I can find things easily. Cons = slow uploading, not direct from Lightroom, and (guessing here) won't easily accommodate LR catalogs.

Flickr - pros = free, had auto-upload until this week (now a paid feature), good viewing platform. Cons = no RAW upload, can't mirror my file organization tree, no LR catalog info. Good for extra backup of processed JPEGs, but useless for RAW editing purposes.

Icloud - it seems Apple has its own way of organizing photos and we take it or leave it? Also, no RAW? Am I missing something in the Adobe mobile/Apple interface? Adobe markets the portability of their editing apps but, try as I might, I couldn't see how this would work for RAW editing in LR and PS.

Dropbox, Smugmug - just started with free/minimal versions of these. Not expecting I'll get what I'm looking for, though Smugmug takes unlimited RAW.

Are there others I'm overlooking that will function as a virtual hard drive the way I need it to? I keep thinking surely my situation is common enough that someone has figured it out. Or maybe I'm being too optimistic?

If I can't push and pull from a cloud and have go with the "sneakernet" option, then this question: If I use LR on two different laptops in different locations, how do I set up my portable hard drive to function on both? Do I just change my import/export settings in LR to default to the portable hard drive, bypassing the laptop drive completely?

And lastly, I'm looking at LaCie portable drives. Trying to find something small, quiet, and not break the bank. I looked at the GTech RAID options, but people complain about the fan noise. Others you have had success with? Are external SSD's as reliable?

I've always relied on sturdy, dependable hardware - desktop or laptop - to get the work done. Though I'm computer literate since the days of 512 hard drives, I'm no techno nerd, so I need things to be pretty much plug and play these days.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me on this.
I switched from a custom built PC (32GB RAM, RAID 10, high end graphic card, 6 Core i7) to a Macbook Pro with 512SSD and 16GB RAM. I mainly did it for the portability of the Mac. The Mac is slower but not by much. I have hooked up the Mac to a BenQ 32" monitor and the combo is fantastic.

I am looking at storage solutions too. The most bang for the buck I have found is the OWC RAID solutions. There are two versions. One with 3.5" drives and the other with 2.5" laptop drives. I saw them at WPPI in Vegas a few weeks ago. I had a chance to talk to them at the show. The 2.5" solution is only up to 8TB capacity. Whereas the 3.5: is up to 40TB! Both of them are Raid 5 or other RAID configurable. They recommend RAID 5.

I did look at the others (Lacie, Promise, CalDigit, etc.) OWC seems to offer the most for the money. They have a good reputations too. So, I am trying to make the finances work. Otherwise, I am pretty sure my storage going forward will be the OWC solution.

Let me know what you decide. I will also look for other's comments on the subject.

As far as cloud storage, I have only used Dropbox (the free version) to transfer files to clients. I have not explored the cloud option for back up or storage.
03-23-2016, 12:40 PM   #10
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I can second OWC as a reliable source.

Apple Mac Upgrades - RAM, SSD Flash, External Drives and More
03-23-2016, 01:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote

If I can't push and pull from a cloud and have go with the "sneakernet" option, then this question: If I use LR on two different laptops in different locations, how do I set up my portable hard drive to function on both? Do I just change my import/export settings in LR to default to the portable hard drive, bypassing the laptop drive completely?
Keep the LR catalog on the portable hard drive. Install LR on both laptops, then all you would need to do is connect the hd to either laptop and double click on LRs catalog in the portable hard drive.
03-23-2016, 03:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
rather than loading up an expensive laptop drive
Remember also that you can use the Lightroom feature of smart previews.
03-23-2016, 05:20 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Your cloud storage access and utility are only as good as your Internet connection. One of the reasons I don't use my available accounts is that my DSL upload is throttled to a fairly low bandwidth.

I use an external USB-3, non-SSD, hard drive for my backup strategy and leave the drive disconnected when not actively doing backup. For sharing of multiple files or zips, I use a free Dropbox account.

Steve
For sure on the internet connection. I'm fortunate to have fast broadband access, but it does bring up the question of being in other places where that might not be the case.

@stevebrot - Why did you choose the USB-3 over an SSD - Cost?

---------- Post added 03-23-16 at 05:22 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Adobe has there own cloud storage that is part of Creative Cloud. But it is limited to 2 GB.
Yes, I read that too. I was wondering if the ICloud Drive was more useful. I'll have to check into that.

---------- Post added 03-23-16 at 05:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by julianbenjamin Quote
I'm actually going to be setting up Amazon Prime tonight with an automatic sync between my folders and the cloud. I have about 35GB to upload initially, and it'll probably be running overnight. Also using LightRoom perpetual license. While there's no sync directly between the two, the Amazon Prime app monitors the folders I believe and syncs the two when changes are made.


Another option is OneDrive from Microsoft. I know their app monitors the file system and uploads changes (adds/deletes/modifications) so the external app (in this case Lightroom) doesn't need to know anything about it.
Good luck with the upload. I sent two years' worth and it took all night. But I wasn't using the App but looked at it last night and realized it might be faster than the way I did it, because you can actually move whole folders over. With the one set I did last night, it seemed a lot quicker. I didn't know the App monitors changes... That would be VERY useful!

Re: Microsoft's One Drive, I actually just signed up for that two days ago. It showed up on my laptop with Windows 10. Looks like it might have potential.

In either case -- and, if nothing else -- I have valued the redundant backup in the cloud. Free is a very good price and it helps to know that in a household disaster or hard drive/backup crash, my work isn't completely lost.

---------- Post added 03-23-16 at 05:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by swhay Quote
I use a free drop box account for my YNAB database file and 1Password database, that works great to keep info synced between my wife's laptop and mine as well as our iPhones. You would probably want the paid professional version of drop box, but I don't see why you could not set up Lightroom to use the shared drop box folder from your Mac instead of a local folder.
I wondered that, too. I'll look into it, thanks!

---------- Post added 03-23-16 at 05:35 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by 12345 Quote
There are alternatives to Flickr's Uploadr which just went PRO only... Flickr Schedulr - Home

It can be used to upload normally, (i.e. you don't have to schedule), but I don't think it has a feature that watches a folder and automagically uploads when you add photos to it.
That's pretty much what I inferred from their recent change. BTW, did you just make up that word? Automagically? That's fantastic!!

---------- Post added 03-23-16 at 05:47 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
I switched from a custom built PC (32GB RAM, RAID 10, high end graphic card, 6 Core i7) to a Macbook Pro with 512SSD and 16GB RAM. I mainly did it for the portability of the Mac. The Mac is slower but not by much. I have hooked up the Mac to a BenQ 32" monitor and the combo is fantastic.

I am looking at storage solutions too. The most bang for the buck I have found is the OWC RAID solutions. There are two versions. One with 3.5" drives and the other with 2.5" laptop drives. I saw them at WPPI in Vegas a few weeks ago. I had a chance to talk to them at the show. The 2.5" solution is only up to 8TB capacity. Whereas the 3.5: is up to 40TB! Both of them are Raid 5 or other RAID configurable. They recommend RAID 5.

I did look at the others (Lacie, Promise, CalDigit, etc.) OWC seems to offer the most for the money. They have a good reputations too. So, I am trying to make the finances work. Otherwise, I am pretty sure my storage going forward will be the OWC solution.
I'm switching to the dark side because I just couldn't take the constant updating and various baloney Windows stuff anymore. Lost my patience, I guess. Also, I'm pretty tied to Apple mobile gear and really enjoy the integration across devices. Then, I went to the Apple store and the IMAC 5K display blew me away. I'm glad I didn't give in that day, because I realized what I really wanted and needed was the portability of the laptop with a desktop display option. I've been looking at the Dell 24 and 27" 4K displays. I'll look at your BenQ, though I probably can't back up enough to appreciate a 32".

Thanks for the OWC tip. I'll take a look at that. BTW, you might want to look into the Amazon (or other) cloud storage. For redundancy, it's nice insurance.

Last edited by Kath; 03-23-2016 at 05:31 PM.
03-23-2016, 05:50 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kath Quote
Why did you choose the USB-3 over an SSD - Cost?
Cost and available capacity. SSD is very cool for use as a read-only system partition, but for backup is somewhat more limited. I do both file and full-sector backups as part of my strategy and use a 3 TByte* external drive that I picked up at Costco for well under $100 USD as backup for a 2 TByte RAID 1 array. For sector-level backups, USB 3 offers a perfectly acceptable transfer speed. File backup is slower than if the HD were mounted to the SATA controller, but then you lose the option of isolating the backup from the system you are backing up. If a surge hits the box through the power line, you want your backup to be unplugged from both the power and the computer.

Summary:
  • Primary storage is onboard 2 TB RAID 1 (provides data redundancy)
  • Backup is 3 TB external USB3 portable HD
  • If I were to use SSD, it would be for system partition only


Steve

* If I were to do it over, I would get a 4TB or 5TB external drive. Ideally one wants the ability to do multiple incremental backups and that takes space. Alternatively, one can rotate two or even three drives through the backup task in the same manner as magnetic tape systems.
03-23-2016, 05:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
Remember also that you can use the Lightroom feature of smart previews.
I haven't done enough with these, @Kerrowdown. Are you able to elaborate how they might help in my scenario?
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