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Old Jun 16, 2013, 03:26 PM   #1
arhtmac
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Join Date: Jul 2011
MBA photography workflow and stoage

Hey everyone,

I wasn't really very sure of where to put this thread as it covers quite a few bases but I guess this is the closest fit!

I was hoping for some suggestions on products I could get for my new setup. I currently have a desktop PC, iPad Mini and a Galaxy Note II and I'm finding that they don't really work very well for me.

I would like to use my PC mainly for photo management (Lightroom) and managing my iTunes collection (this includes all my music, TV and films. I don't rip DVDs or keep home movies). The trouble is I have just moved into a fairly small flat in the middle of the city and my PC has to be tucked away in the corner which is an uncomfortable workspace, I can't use my catalogues out and about at the moment and the Galaxy Note is far too big in retrospect, despite it having a certain geeky allure when I first bought it!

My plan for my new setup is to try and get the best of all worlds. I'm thinking of getting one of the new Haswell MBAs (or perhaps a Haswell Surface Pro if such a thing comes to be) to use as my main computer, hooked up to my TV via Apple TV if I need a bigger screen thanks to Mavericks, but it could still be portable enough to put in my camera bag and take with me on location or even just to use on the sofa. The trouble is I don't know what to do about the small amount of internal memory. I have never used or set-up a NAS before. Any tips?

The kind of workflow I would like to have is to be able to dump photos from my camera onto the MBA/Surface in the field then move them to some sort of central network storage when I get home so that they're accessible with Lightroom but without me being tethered to an external HDD (it sounds like LR 5's smart previews feature is going to be great for this if I want to edit or export when I'm out and about too and the masters aren't local). I would like to be able to use iTunes on the MBA/Surface too but have the files themselves saved to the central storage.

Can anyone recommend a good NAS for a total beginner to home networking? Can I plug an external hard drive into a NAS and have it back up the NAS to it without my MBA/Surface being turned on? I was thinking I could rotate two hard drives for this purpose to keep one off-site and swap it once a week to make sure my photos and media are backed up nicely. All I would want on the NAS is the master lightroom images, iTunes and Time Machine/File History as all my work documents are stored in Dropbox.

The iPad Mini might stick around for use as a commuting ebook reader and I'll probably swap my Note for an iPhone to keep contacts, calendars and mail in sync with iCloud.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 05:48 PM   #2
ChrisA
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Redondo Beach, California
First question, how much data do you have?

How fast is the data growing, how much more will you have in three years.

Can you add disks the NAS and to a backup without turnong on a computer? Some can be programmed to do scheduled automatic backups. But when you added or remove a drive you'd need some kind of screen and keyboard to access the user interface.

Which is "best". Depends first on the amount of data you will have in three or five years (the life of the system) and your budget.

Also NASes are s-l-o-w unless you have a big budget. For editing photos I'd think you'd want the fastest directly attached storage you can afford.
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Old Jun 16, 2013, 06:10 PM   #3
arhtmac
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Thanks for the reply ChrisA.

I currently have 302GB of data consisting of 5 years of images and iTunes purchases. I would say the data is growing at a rate of about 3-4GB per month not including backups.

You mention that some NAS devices can be programmed to do auto backups but I'd need a keyboard and screen to change the drives. Could I access the NAS through the MBA or Surface to do this and use their screen/keyboard to do this?

My budget is about 400 (GBP). I'm not too concerned about the speed of it for photo editing as I do all of this through Lightroom and I would want to keep the catalogue file and previews on the computer itself. Am I right in saying that the only time I'll be actually accessing the asters on the NAS in this setup is when I import the photos and then if I need to export them? The edit workflow wouldn't touch them?

I would quite like to be able to make use of Lightroom's make a 2nd copy during import feature to import the masters to the NAS and make a second copy to an external hard drive which I would keep in my camera bag and work as my off-site backup as it goes everywhere with me.
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