Aperture - Multiple Libraries & NAS

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by hifimac, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. hifimac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    #1
    I have a Mac Mini with a 120 SSD for OS and Apps, and the 500 GB that it came with as a Scratch disk. My Aperture Library consisting of mostly family snapshots and video has ballooned beyond 500 GB. I use a managed library approach to take advantage of the vault backup. In an effort to minimize the attached storage I had decided to create a separate Aperture Library for 2014 and I'm considering transitioning the old library to a Synology NAS, possibly retroactively breaking it up into separate year libraries with a running "Best Of" library containing selects from all collective years. I have a few reservations about this set up.

    • NAS storage may not be fast enough. I figured this would be good enough for the occasional review of older libraries, as editing would occur mostly on current images on scratch disk.

    • Multiple libraries could be a headache and result in duplicates. My wife takes photos and imports them as well. Depending on which library is selected at start up, she may import images into the wrong library. I also ran into a problem when I needed to unload photos from her iPhone to clear space. My new library did not recognize all the old photos as duplicates, making importing and managing the iOS devices more difficult.

    I'd be curious to here how others are managing their libraries as we become more mobile and SSD's have shrunk storage sizes. How do preview images play into this scenario? That's something I haven't really looked into. Now that I have other backup solutions, referenced images may be an option. Not to get into a Aperture vs. Lightroom debate, but would cataloging in LR be any different on network storage? Is anyone using the Synology Picture Station?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    Don't use multiple libraries. As soon as you have two then you always have to remember which photo is in which library.

    Aperture allows you to have some of the images "off line" but keep all the index the thumbnails in the library. That is what to do if you can't get everything in. Keep the referenced files on the big slow disk and the library itself on the faster storage.
     
  3. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #3
    As ChrisA said above, it sounds like your best bet is to use a single referenced library rather than a managed one. This will reduce the size of your aperture library dramatically meaning you can still keep it on your SSD while keeping your image files on an external disc. Unfortunately, the vault will no longer backup your images, just the library, so you’ll need to work out a way to incrementally backup your photos (either SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner will do this easily).

    If you use large previews, this is what will eat up the most storage space in a referenced library. In most instances large previews are overkill, because you’re retaining large jpegs of thousands of files that you very rarely look at. Be realistic about how often you look at some of your older photos. If you haven’t looked at certain shots / folders in over 6 months then does it really matter that it’ll take 2-3 seconds to generate a new preview when you open it?
    Personally, I unchecked the preference box that says "automatically create new previews" so you specifically have to tell aperture when to create one. If you are going to use previews, I’d suggest using a sensible size – 1024px on the long side should be enough for most work and will save you LOADS of space. Remember, you can always create a high quality preview on an image by image basis if you really need it.

    As for cataloguing in Lightroom – it works exactly the same way as a referenced library in aperture so would not be any different on NAS or any other storage.

    Hope that helps.
     
  4. hifimac thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 28, 2013
    #4
    Initially the thought of multiple libraries was speed, but the last few versions of Aperture have really speed things up. I'm sure lower quality previews would help too. I think moving to referenced images and another back up is the way to go.

    This is what I'm planning on doing:
    • Move all archive images to NAS using Relocate Originals command in Aperture using Date/Time file structure. Use NAS tools to back up this folder to external drive attached to NAS and Back Blaze.

    • Rebuild smaller previews for entire library.

    • New images imported into Aperture Library as Managed files. Editing is performed and files are either moved to NAS immediately after editing or move them once a month. I keep a Year/Month/Project structure, so moving them once a month won't be bad. Maybe a script could help?

    • Mac is backed up to NAS via Time Machine. Maybe look at Carbon Copy Cloner for Aperture Library to external drive connected to NAS as well. (Incase of NAS Failure.)

    Is there anyway to sift out video files into separate folders from images? I like the fact that images and videos are managed in the Aperture Library, but I may want to keep videos in a separate folder structure.
     
  5. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I've never tried this for video, but I'd imagine smart albums are the quickest & easiest way.

    Not at my mac right now so can't check, but if you make a smart album & choose to only show a certain file type then you should be able to display all your videos in one place. From there, you can relocate originals.

    Everything else you've described sounds like a good solution. But if you're already backing up your mini to the NAS with time machine, and backing up your NAS regularly as well then you probably don't need CCC. The only real benefit would be to create a bootable backup of your mini.

    Cheers
     
  6. rebby macrumors 6502

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    Nov 19, 2008
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    MN
    #6
    Here is how I do it -> https://rebby.com/blog.php?detail=69

    I wrote that some time ago but it's still relevant. Like others have mentioned, multiple libraries can be a pain to manage. I've done that in the past and my above "article" links to another on how I tried to keep it all organized. Multiple libraries did work for me for quite a while, may new way of doing things though (mainly referenced) works quite a better though. It's far easier to manage.
     
  7. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    This is more about asking rather than to be interpreted as challenge -

    How does Aperture behave when your NAS is off line and you have libraries on the NAS?

    Why do people consider using NAS for a single computer system rather than say external drive/DAS? It seems external drive/DAS offers several benefits over NAS for most people working with good size libraries but want fast retrieval of files/images.

    I use both NAS and external drives. For catalogue/library, I found direct connect (external drives) was a great way to deal with files and also I can also put a copy on the NAS for some redundancy. The external drive is also portable so it can be taken to another location and again, accessed by various software if needed.

    Since I am not am Aperture user, I am would be very happy to hear anyone's point of view with respect to the above.

    cheers
    Phrehdd
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #8
    If the Library you used was on the NAS and that's offline, it will throw an error.

    I have a NAS and a DAS and here's my thoughts on them.

    I initially bought a NAS that offered no AFP support so Aperture would not work, I then returned that and got a qnap. It works well and is quite powerful for a NAS (lots of features). I decided to go the DAS route because of bandwidth, I found the NAS very slow in working with my Aperture Libraries over ethernet. My Drobo Mini (using Thunderbolt) performs much better then a NAS in holding my Aperture Libraries.

    If you don't need to have multiple computers accessing a disk storage array, then a DAS is a better and faster solution.

    One major difference between the DAS and NAS is the services/features that come with it, like iTunes streaming, web server, email server. Those are typically included in NAS but not DAS AFAIK
     
  9. rebby macrumors 6502

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    Nov 19, 2008
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    MN
    #9
    You don't have FULL control over images (like being able to do edits and such) so that is a negative. That is why I don't move my images out of Library (referenced vs managed) until AFTER I completed my workflow. Generally images stick around as managed for a month or so.

    I use NAS over DAS for a few reasons...
    • Redundancy - My NAS actually has DAS, I have an external FW800 RAID5 disk array connected to my NAS that houses my referenced images. This gives me some level of resiliency. This volume is then backed up to another location via Time Machine AND backed up (via rsync) to another NAS (every 20 minutes, as needed). The other NAS is then replicated to 3 other locations, each 100+ miles from my home and 50+ miles from one another. When my images are moved to the NAS, they are very well protected (managed images have similar protection but it's more manageable outside of the library).
    • Convenience - Getting the aforementioned level(s) of protection from DAS is much more difficult than using a central NAS with the protection, and monitoring, built in. Additionally a multi-disk DAS is larger than you'd really want to stick in a backpack.
    • Noise - Alright, so I admit, I'm getting a little anal-retentive here but my office space is very quiet. Unless the fan in my MBP is running, it's nearly silent. I even noticed a drop in "noise" when I switched from a spindle disk to an SSD. Having a local (multi-disk, in my case) DAS would not be an acceptable solution for me. Not only would I have to listen to the disks chatter, but I'd have fan noise as well. I do not HAVE to deal with that so I don't. Instead, my disk is connected via Gig-E (or 802.11n/ac) and the noise stays where it belongs, my basement.
    • Options - I can still bring images with me if I so chose. It's as simple as "File -> Consolidate Original" or I could even do "File -> Relocate Original". Ideally it may require a little pre-planning but, with a VPN tunnel back to my house, I always have a connection back to my NAS (and, if not, I have a connection back to at least one of my 3 geographically separate locations).
    • Growth - Several years ago my NAS was just a few GB's, 20 IIRC. Now, my NAS is 22 TB. Upgrades are simple, expansion is simple, and (if done right) they are quite safe. Upgrading DAS is another story altogether.
    • Etc... - I'm sure that if I gave it a little more thought I'd come up with even more reasons why a NAS > DAS.

    For me, the flexibility of NAS greatly outweighs the (minimal) advantages of DAS.
     
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #10
    Thanks much for your response. Sometimes these exchanges weigh in on good logic far more than typical fanboy discussions. Again thanks!
     
  11. maflynn, Jan 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014

    maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #11
    While I'll not dispute the well thought out post, i will say many of the newer DAS units exhibit all of the features you highlighted with the NAS.

    I have a Drobo Mini and that gives me
    Data Redundancy via RAID
    Convenience - monitoring via the DAS software, though not as comprehensive as the OS of a NAS, it gives you the health checks you mentioned.
    Noise - my DAS is a bit noisy
    Growth, I can pop in larger drives to grow the DAS, though I have tested this out, it seems to be a feature that is available.

    My point is with DAS units out on the market can get much of the features of a NAS but also the increased bandwidth of a USB3 or TB connection. If you only need to access the disk array via one computer, either product will work. If you have multiple computers, then a NAS works better.

    If you have other needs like iTunes streaming, web server, or email server needs, then again the NAS is a better choice. If you just want an external drive with RAID redundancy growth potential, then either will suffice
     
  12. rebby macrumors 6502

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    MN
    #12
    Absolutely! No argument here. Newer DAS solutions do have most of the feature sets that are important to me. In some cases however, they do not integrate as tightly into my existing solutions (where a UNIX based NAS would). I do feel a bit tied down with the DAS solution. With NAS, it doesn't matter where I take my devices, I always have connectivity back to my data.
     
  13. schalliol macrumors regular

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    May 7, 2002
    Location:
    Carmel, IN
    #13
    Two Questions:
    1. If you use a NAS and want to access the library on two+ machines, how do you deal with that? I've kept my library local on my Mac Pro for responsiveness with reference to files on my NAS, but I wish I could use my library on my MBP.
    2. Now that Aperture is being retired, what are you guys going to do? Even though my Mac Pro is pretty fast (upgraded specs in sig), it can't run the latest OS that I'm sure will be required for Photos.

    Thanks!
     
  14. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #14
    Aperture is not meant to be a shared database. If you share it... you risk database corruption. People do it (at least for a while)... many seem to have problems. I would not advise it.

    Photos is unknown... but I suspect that it will finally allow multiple computers to access a shared database via the cloud. Details are still TBD.

    /Jim
     
  15. schalliol macrumors regular

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    Carmel, IN
    #15
    Thanks! I'm sure Photos will leverage Apple's new cloud Drive, and I hope other platforms like Dropbox too. I'm sure that most of us hope there will be a good way to bring over our aperture libraries and leverage the original and modified files we have all created.

    It's too bad that aperture didn't imagine that multiple computers might be desired in a professional workflow environment. Forever I am both a pro tower and the laptop at a minimum.
     
  16. MCAsan, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #16
    One think to consider in iPhoto and Aperture, that may be also applicable to Photos, do you want a managed library, multiple managed libraries (because a single one is too large for laptops and some smaller drivers), a single referenced library where the originals are in file system folders, or even multiple referenced libraries sorted by client, topic, year...etc.

    I use a Macbook and have over 10,000 raw files. There is not way to carry that around in a Macbook.....even if I wanted to do so. I use a referenced library where all my raw originals are on an external drive (along with my music, videos,..etc.) The vault backups go to the external library drive. Naturally the library drive is backed up by Time Machine to about a separate drive.

    The good news is....there are lots of different ways to store and organize you images in iPhoto and Aperture. The bad news is....there are lots of different ways........... ;)
     
  17. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #17
    No one knows much about what's coming. Apple seems to be having some PR probs, at least, with their current cloud photo storage. They seem to be very focused on sharing with mobile devices, but have gone the other direction with computers. The last iPhoto, for example, let you share a library over a LAN. That function was axed in the most recent versions.

    Remember that many libraries can reference the same photo. Without changing it; all the adjustments are kept in whatever Aperture library you're using. So you could think of it as this: the NAS has all the negatives and each library accesses those negatives to make "prints," or exported tiffs, etc. If you need even more control, make one library (usually one's desktop) and the photos that are referenced as the main library. Your laptop then gets a subset of that; you export a library and put it on the laptop, use it, and then return it to the main library so it can synch all the changes. Works OK as long as it's one person, and you remember not to alter the same photo in different places.

    I've also found another way to make life easier with photos and libraries (or LR catalogs) on different devices is to store as much immutable info in the photos as possible. Keywords, ratings, all that IPTC and exif data may not change that often, hence when it's stored in the photos or sidecars it's portable, even from application to application. The adjustments are more problematic, but I tend to publish mine as tiffs as a final product. Those that make adjustments and then have to redo them lots of times have more issues. I'm not real up on how Aperture handles RAWs these days, and sidecars, but you can get an awful lot of info into the photo itself.
     
  18. schalliol macrumors regular

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    Carmel, IN
    #18
    It's going to be interesting to say the least! It sounds like I may be able to hack my Mac Pro to Yosemite, so if I can do that, I expect I'll be able to have my main machine manage the library.

    I wholeheartedly enjoy having the files incorporated by reference. Now that Dropbox offers 1TB in basic pro, I'm syncing my files up there for security.
     
  19. flynz4, Sep 3, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    #19
    Actually,

    Aperture is exceptional in a multi-user workflow... assuming that you use the discipline to check projects out of the primary library... and then back in after being worked on. You can even have the same project being checked into several different computers and simultaneously worked on by different users concurrently (ex: editing, key wording, rating etc)... and when the individual projects are checked back into the master library, all of the changes can be merged perfectly.

    I routinely share projects between my main library on my iMac... and my auxiliary library on my MBA. I often create new projects on my MBA during travel, and then migrate them to my iMac when I return home. Sometimes, I take certain projects with me on my MBA when I am spending a weekend at the coast... or whatever... so that I can advance my work while I am away from home. When I return home, my updated projects are transferred back to my iMac.

    What Aperture and almost every other DAM does not do is allow a single database to be shared by multiple computers.

    Despite this... it is all a moot point now... as Aperture will see EOL in the next few years. It also appears that Apple will finally solve the general sharing problem with Photos... at least for most users.

    /Jim
     
  20. schalliol macrumors regular

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    #20
    Great post. Thanks! I guess I haven't noticed the check in and out feature.

    I may stick with Aperrture if I can't make Photos work on my Mac Pro 1,1 anyway.
     
  21. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #21
    To run Photos there be a dependency that you have to be on Yosemite or maybe Mavericks.

    According to the Mavericks systems requirements (the same for Yosemite), a Mac Pro needs to be early 2008 or later:

    To install Mavericks, you need one of these Macs:

    iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
    MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later),
    MacBook Pro (15-inch or 17-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
    Mac mini (Early 2009 or later)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
    Xserve (Early 2009)

    By Mac Pro early 2008, I would bet they mean Mac Pro 3,1 which came out in January 2008. If that is the case, your Pro may not be able to run Mavericks or Yosemite. I don't know if Photos can be made to run on older releases. I would not bet on that either way.
     
  22. schalliol macrumors regular

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    #22
  23. Ray2 macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    I'll just weigh in on the "Multiple libraries could be a headache and result in duplicates." part. I use multiple referenced libraries. Have for a long time to keep work separate from personal from a test library. Now I've split the large personal library into current and past.

    I now/finally have a large enough ssd that I can keep an easy 300 gb open for image processing. After a while, they get exported to the "past" library and the originals moved from the ssd to my externals. All libraries are maintained on the ssd, previews in the "past" library are at display size, 600 gb of referenced images.

    My wife and I both shoot, use different computers, I work off two different computers, no issues, never have been any. Its sort of a free for all until its time to move work into the "past" library. By them, they are pretty static.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #24
    The trick as I see it, is not to use referenced images but rather managed images. The real advantage, at least in my opinion, of multiple libraries is the ability to move them to different drives as the need arises. With referenced images you're not moving the library and images, just the library.

    With a managed library, you cannot get duplicate images, since a given image will only reside in one library.
     
  25. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #25
    Another advantage of a referenced vs managed library.....I have both Aperture and LR accessing the same referenced library of master/original raw files.....that all sit on a library drive.
     

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