Educational Digital Photography Darkroom Workgroup

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by termina3, May 26, 2008.

  1. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Hey guys,

    Sooner or later (i.e. next 2 years) my school is going to set-up a digital arts lab with ~20 seats. Me and a few others are pushing for 20 seats of Mac Pros, 23" ACDs, etc. for our Yearbook, newspaper, digital video classes (DigiApps), and potentially a digital photography course.

    But that isn't the problem I'm thinking of… my problem is how is a workgroup of 25+ (yearbook), 6 (newspaper photogs), or 20 (per DigiApps class) going to access a bunch of files, especially photos, simultaneously?

    I figure it'll be necessary to have a server (perhaps a server/instructor machine?), but the IT department will want to avoid Apple. While I'd like to keep the door open to a Mac Pro with OS X Server or an XServe (another important distinction), please also offer Linux or Windows Server solutions.

    What's the best software for said server? VersionCue, by Adobe?

    Thanks! I hope I've preemptively answered a lot of questions… but if not, ask!

    PS I found this thread while searching, but didn't get enough info out of it.
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Well, while I'm not sure what your budget is (from the sounds of it you have the money to burn), I can tell you about our current setup (it's in a science department for the university). Right now we have an XServe head pushing a pair of XRAID boxes (yes, I know they are discontinued). From it, each user has access to an individual folder for their own things, as well as a universal password, which gives them access to all files that are stored with that password. The system runs through a gigabit switch, and users on both Macs (6 or 7 of them), and PCs (about 10 of them) can access the server simultaneously. That last word is a bit tricky, in that you will need the Xsan software, but that can be had fairly cheaply. The RAID array is a RAID 5, meaning striped disk array with parity, which came useful when two of the disks Apple sent us decided to fry at the same time.

    The array we have may be a bit of an overkill given your needs, but do remember that while most of the photography students won't need the space, the digital video class certainly will.
  3. termina3 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    The school is rich, but they tend to be stingy. Our Yearbook has a 6-figure annual budget, but they're hardly ever allowed to spend any of it.

    The main purpose of this lab would be to serve Yearbook and Newspaper photogs. There'll probably be only a total of three digiapps/digiphotog courses per semester (meeting once daily).

    I'd also suspect that Yearbook and newspaper layout editors would stick to what they have now, which involves a bank of XP computers connected to a central server (one lab per publication). This server would either need to be replaced by the new one, or have an easy connection allowing rapid transfer of photos.

    A complicating factor is that the newspaper is independent of the school, in that they don't accept any funding (all money comes from ads and subscriptions; the idea is that nothing needs to be okay'ed by the administration before it's published). But don't worry about that; that's internal politics.

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