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Setting Lightroom up in a home network environment - Can you?

Sep 2, 2013 1:40 PM

I have LR-5 on my Mac and access my photos from both my laptop and my desktop.  My desktop has an external terabyte drive and is used to hold ALL my photo masters, my Lightroom library/Catelogue.  Due to recent events involving a chort of mine loosing photos stored on a single drive I elected to buy an 8TB RAID 1 configured external drive.  During my research I opted to acquire a unit that could be connected via ethernet cable to my computer, but this also provides the option of connecting my RAID drive to my internet router (NOT Modem).


I've checked the literature and LR says it's not designed to work on a nework, but in my configuration it should be able to do so.  Both computers accessign my LR catelogue/library will never be able to access the files at the sametime and make changes.


The network configuration I'm employing is essentially the same as having the external drive connected directly to my destop Mac and accessing the files via sharing.  In this instance my destop acts the same, provides the same functionality, as my router. 


Logic tells me that I should be able to load my files to my RAID drive and access it through my router even through the router is eventually connected to the internet.  My WIFI router provides in home wireless so that no matter where I go I can access my files on my laptop: photos and data.  So while my configuration is technically a NETWORK, it is in reality a wireless clone of my desktop hardwired external drive configuration. 


To me it seems it should be transparent to LR and I should be able to use import to load my files for storage on my RAID "network" drive.  Anyone got any thoughts to share.


I recognize there may be issues accessing my RAID files through the internet, but for now that's not a concern.  Still comments are welcome on this thougt as well

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 2, 2013 3:38 PM   in reply to abmonty

    Have you actually tried it?


    I move all my processed images, plus originals and XMP to a network drive that I can access in my house and via VPN while I am on the road. As long as the network drive is accessible, Lightroom doesn't seem to care. It's slower, for sure, dealing with rendering previews and all that, but it's functional for what I need it to do. I'm not sure how different your situation would be, but I would think if Lightroom recognizes it as the same drive whether inside or outside your home that it shouldn't make a difference and it should work.


    I don't often need access to those images while out of the house, though. Usually, I just bring along images I need to edit and for that, I instead deal with Smart Previews in LR with my laptop. Originals on my desktop, shared catalog in DropBox with smart previews, so when I'm on the road I can process my images with the smart previews and then do my exporting/printing when I get back home. If there is a situation where I need the originals, I can either grab them before I leave or go across the VPN in a pinch.


    Hope that helps.



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 3:43 PM   in reply to abmonty

    I guess that is why Adobe tech support told you that it can't be done.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2013 5:55 PM   in reply to abmonty

    Some people put catalog on network, by making a link which fools Lightroom into thinking it's local. It's not recommended by Adobe and there are some concerns about performance and whether catalog is more vulnerable to corruption in this configuration, so as I said: most people don't do it, but some do - you can try it if you want (backup catalog first of course). If you do it, please remember to report back whether you had any problems...


    Example windows command:


    mklink /d "c:\MyCatalogDir"  "\\MyServer\MyCatalogDir"


    More info here:



    Reminder: not for simultaneous access, just a convenience which avoids moving external drive between systems, or copying catalog back and forth...

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2013 2:21 PM   in reply to abmonty

    Maybe you should be looking at software tools that were specifically designed to be multi-user and networked.


    One such tool is Daminion.


    But let's not blame software for not doing things it simply wasn't designed to do.\

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 5, 2013 7:01 PM   in reply to abmonty

    abmonty wrote:


    Nothing I've found either here, on line, or with an Adobe tech suggests the SW supports a network environment operation.

    It's been made abundantly clear: Lightroom supports photos on network but not catalog.


    Nevertheless, unless Adobe plugged the hole, if you get the command right, you can put catalog on net, despite lack of official support/approval - it's been done / some people are (were?) doing it. Just make sure you have a sound backup strategy for your catalogs.


    Lots of people using dropbox for catalog as an alternative, but I can't vouche for it. I wrote a script called LightroomStartup which supports copying catalog back and forth from network to make it easier to use with multiple computers - assures one-at-a-time access and newer catalog is never overwritten by older catalog. But truth betold, I don't used the script m'self, so dunno how well it works in real world, and one could accomplish the same thing using a version control system instead.


    Good luck, and to paraphrase DJ Paige: If you really want full support for networked catalog, Lightroom is the wrong software to be using - try Daminion...



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 21, 2013 2:08 PM   in reply to abmonty

    Bringing this one back from the dead...


    This is an annoying restriction, and it turns Lightroom from a potentially powerful workflow tool into lame toy software. This arbitrary limitation has been driving me nuts for years, and it's the one and only reason I still can't use Lightroom as the main tool in my workflow.


    I can't store a catalog to a network location, so I'm forced to use other tools for my cataloguing needs. But everytime I open Lightroom to work on a photo, it enforces its stupid catalog on me for even that ONE PICTURE!!! Which of course I hate using because it won't let me save to a network location. It's like the worst kind of Catch-22, and it's all entirely arbitrary at the whim of Adobe.


    The solution would be dead simple: create a lock file when a catalog is opened to prevent the catalog from being accessed simultaneously from multiple sources. Tons of other software tools do this already. It's common sense. But Adobe doesn't use common sense, they use a sledgehammer approach to solve problems.


    And the running gag about network storage being "too slow" for Lightroom's performance is nothing but a blatant lie. A dual GbE link to a NAS is way faster than any direct connection to a single conventional hard drive as far as raw throughput is concerned. Even an AC WiFi link is faster than the throughput of a convenitonal hard drive.


    Heck, Adobe Bridge churns along happily using network storage... why must we be subjected to the deficient built-in catalog of Lightroom when Bridge is perfectly usable? It boggles the mind.


    P.S. creating a link to a network directory no longer works, that workaround has been plugged.

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