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Catalogs: Data Management for Active vs. Archive photos

Explorer ,
Feb 03, 2020

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My catalog is 2.5TB and spans several years. I want to migrate to an SSD, but they are limited to 4TB and I'm thinking of long term workflow solutions. I'm considering the following scenarios, which is best?

 

1) Single catalog using a 4TB internal SSD

 

2) Single catalog using an internal SSD for "active working" folders, and a separate large capacity HHD for archiving. The single catalog would still contain all my photos, but the editing would be on the faster drive while the completed edits would live on the separate, slower, larger capacity hard drive.

 

3) Two catalogs. Active working edits on internal SSD. Archive catalog on separate HHD.

 

4) Single catalog. Use a huge RAID or server system like a Synology to keep write/read speeds high and simplify access to all photos.

 

Thoughts?

Correct, I misspoke. The 2.5TB refers to the total size of all my image folders, not the catalog file itself.

 

My new setup moving forward:

 

Internal M.2 SSD: single Lightroom Catalog

Internal Hard Drive: all image folders

Internal SSD: cache

External Hard Drive: backup location for catalog and images

 

Thanks Kenneth!

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Catalogs: Data Management for Active vs. Archive photos

Explorer ,
Feb 03, 2020

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My catalog is 2.5TB and spans several years. I want to migrate to an SSD, but they are limited to 4TB and I'm thinking of long term workflow solutions. I'm considering the following scenarios, which is best?

 

1) Single catalog using a 4TB internal SSD

 

2) Single catalog using an internal SSD for "active working" folders, and a separate large capacity HHD for archiving. The single catalog would still contain all my photos, but the editing would be on the faster drive while the completed edits would live on the separate, slower, larger capacity hard drive.

 

3) Two catalogs. Active working edits on internal SSD. Archive catalog on separate HHD.

 

4) Single catalog. Use a huge RAID or server system like a Synology to keep write/read speeds high and simplify access to all photos.

 

Thoughts?

Correct, I misspoke. The 2.5TB refers to the total size of all my image folders, not the catalog file itself.

 

My new setup moving forward:

 

Internal M.2 SSD: single Lightroom Catalog

Internal Hard Drive: all image folders

Internal SSD: cache

External Hard Drive: backup location for catalog and images

 

Thanks Kenneth!

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LEGEND ,
Feb 03, 2020

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Photos don't go on SSDs, as a general rule. There is no benefit other than a trivial benefit that you will never notice, and this is very expensive disk storage for photos. You can keep your photos on an internal HD or external HD. USe one catalog, all photos on one spinning disk (not an SSD) if there is enough space. If there is not enough space on one disk, use one catalog, and split the photos onto two (or more) disks.

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Explorer ,
Feb 04, 2020

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I was curious about what the true benefits of SSDs for Lightroom were. I'm going to throw the catalog and cache on the internal SSD and keep all raw files on a single large spinning disk. Thanks!

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Advocate ,
Feb 03, 2020

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When you say your catalog is 2.5 TB, you must be including the size of all of your image folders as well.

Your catalog folder containing the catalog file (.lrcat) should be WAY smaller than that. The catalog folder will also contain subfolders containing previews and smart previews if you use them.

 

For example I have 6.5 TB of image files, but my catalog is 69 GB.  I keep my catalog on an SSD and my photos are split between two 4 TB fast hard drives. When you import photos into LR CL, you can designate any drive where you want them located and LR CL will always know where they are. There is little advantage to having the photo image files on an SSD because once the previews are made upon import, LR CL does generally not read the files again until you export those files.

 

My suggestion for your organization is keep the Catalog folder on the SSD and copy the image files over to an 8TB fast hard drive. 

 

Remember to backup the .lrcat file and the image files.

 

For simplicity in backing up my catalog file, I keep the Catalog folder in the root of the drive so I can find it easily.

Kenneth Seals

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Explorer ,
Feb 04, 2020

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Correct, I misspoke. The 2.5TB refers to the total size of all my image folders, not the catalog file itself.

 

My new setup moving forward:

 

Internal M.2 SSD: single Lightroom Catalog

Internal Hard Drive: all image folders

Internal SSD: cache

External Hard Drive: backup location for catalog and images

 

Thanks Kenneth!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 03, 2020

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Version of option 2 and 4 are the only ones that make sense with some changes. As already noted, there is no point in keeping your images on the SSD. You just need the catalog and the camera raw cache there. There is also no reason to use more than one catalog. Lightroom Classic will keep track of the files locations whereever they are. The files don't even have to be available at all times for Classic to keep track of them. You can store images on hard disks that are not constantly connected. Editing of images is not really limited by the speed of the hard disk your files are on. Any hard disk will work. For reliability it is good to use a good RAID system but that is not necessary for speed.

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Explorer ,
Feb 04, 2020

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Thanks for adding your thoughts. I'm feeling good about my solution moving forward!

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New Here ,
May 15, 2020

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I've in the same situation. I've got a macbook with 4TB internal SSD, and my Lightroom directory (Originals + catalog) is now 3TB and the disk is running full. All files are automatically backupped to my NAS as soon a connection to my network is established.

 

I sync all albums to LR CC so I can quicky and easy flag, rate and do basic editing on the ipad. (Kinda Tinder with your own photo library, swiping up and down).

 

The setup I'm thinking about now as follows:

1) Single Catalog and current this year's photos on the internal SSD

2) Originals from last year and older on an (disconneted) external USB-C drive

3) Have both drived backupped to the NAS

 

If I understand right (and I hope anyone can confirm this or correct me) all images can still be edited in LR even when the originals are offline, and the original only need to available when exporting the image for printing for example.

 

One question I have, do offline originals affect the sync with LR CC?

 

I was going to post a question about this, but this threat is so simular hope you don't mind adding it here. All thougts and comments welcome. With my new camera, the library has seen a steady growth of 1.2TB/year over the last 2 years.

 

/Frank.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 15, 2020

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Your workflow will work.  It is basically my workflow. I also backup originals to an online service in addition to a local backup. You could also flip this and instead of backing up to the NAS, you move your originals there and use an external drive to backup everything. That way your originals will be available everytime you're on your network.

 

There is one small caveat however with your workflow. In LR classic you cannot edit images if the originals are offline except if you created smart previews. So if you want your images to be editable, create smart previews.

 

> One question I have, do offline originals affect the sync with LR CC?

 

No they won't. The CLassic sync with LR cloudy only syncs smart previews and they only need to be uploaded once. After that all that syncs is xmp descriptions of the edits you made.

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New Here ,
May 15, 2020

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I'm almost at that point. My NAS backups to a second NAS which is currently still at my home and an offline backup to an usb disk, which I store at my brother's home. planning now to move the second NAS there and do the backup online via vpn.

 

So laptop(active) + usb-c disk(archive) => NAS =>(vpn)=> off-site NAS.

 

I already create smart previews for the sync with cloud for editing on the iPad, so that should be ok.

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