“Simply copying everything means carrying close to 2TB and this will also take a lot of time before each trip.”
I keep the LR libraries on two different computers synchronised by using a portable external HD.
I don't do it manually, but rather use an application to only copy what has changed – saves a lot of time. Before I leave for the office, I have the application mirror the entire library to the ext. HD including the cache, previews and backups, and then mirror that to the HD of the office computer. Leaving in the evening I do the same in reverse to update my home computer.
This gives me the exact library at both locations with all recent edits and it's been working flawlessly.
I'm on a Mac and use Synchronize Pro X for this; I'm sure there are similar applications for Win.
Create a smart collection - Edited in Last X Days. Select it, and Export as Catalog, including negatives. Take this to the other computer, and Import from Catalog to get it into the other computer's catalogue (or just open it directly). Reverse the process for bringing stuff back.
I had just started exploring smart collections (never looked at this before today) as a way of trying to collect changed/new files and metadata when I walked back into my office from my wife's (she's the photographer- i'm just tech support) and saw your reply. I think this is the direction we are leaning to because it should cut down on the hardware needs. The other reply that suggested using a third drive would add another layer of protection in that one would always have a recent complete backup on hand in case of sudden hardware failure, but we should be able to keep the risk way down by using a second Drobo 2 at the second location. Drobo has been reliable and the slowness can be overcome by saving working Photoshop files to the internal drive and only saving the final finished files back to the library on Drobo.
I am concerned about a possible performance drop if we run both the LT catalog and the file library on Drobos...currently run the catalog on the internal drive based on advice I read some time ago.
So I assume that it is possible to import the "go-between" catalog into LR on an internal drive while copying the "negative" files to the Drobo at each location. Hopefully this process is not painfully slow...but I suppose it depends on the number of files that are being exported and imported each time.
A third method that I have been investigating and would love any comments on from someone who has tried it is syncing the two Drobos via internet possibly using Synchronize Pro-X (first sync done locally!)...this might have the benefit of daily offsite backup in between visits. One thing that scares me is the possibility that somehow something screws up digitally and data is destroyed on both drives at the same time before one has a chance to discover a problem. Also how would one verify that the second location Drobo has been properly synced before arriving to discover some problem prevented a successful sync?
Thank you both for replying and helping me think through this problem.
“One thing that scares me is the possibility that somehow something
screws up digitally and data is destroyed on both drives at the same
time before one has a chance to discover a problem. Also how would one
verify that the second location Drobo has been properly synced before
arriving to discover some problem prevented a successful sync?”
I can't speak for Drobos nor synching via internet since I only sync one internal HD to external HD to 2nd internal HD and back.
As you say, this gives me an exact copy of all my files in three independent locations.
The synchronization process in Synchronize Pro X is very transparent in that it will exactly show you what needs to be copied before you go ahead. It will also alert you if there are any conflicts. Once you've confirmed, it will go ahead copying files and notify you of problems if any. After successful completion, you can be sure that the contents of both volumes are identical.
However if a file had been corrupted – and its modification date changed – on the source volume, I fear, it will likely be copied over and in turn replace the healthy copy on the destination volume; not that this has ever happened to me.
That said I also run regular backups to another external drive using Retrospect, which gives me the option to retrieve different versions of a file going back in time. I wouldn’t recommend Retrospect specifically, it’s just what I’ve been using for many years. If you’re on a Mac and have Time Machine set up and running, you’re covered in that respect anyway.
Remember that Import from Catalog is smarter than it may appear. Imagine you take images onto the other machine via Export as Catalog, work on them there, then want to bring them back to the main machine. On the other machine you do the Export as Catalog, this time not including the negatives, and then do Import as Catalog on the main machine. It will marry up images in the main machine's catalogue to those you are importing, match the filenames, and then compare edit times. It's complicated to say, so I hope this makes sense. Once you understand what's going on, it's smooth - and is designed for roundtripping work between computers.
As for the Drobo, can't help much other than to say it seems to work better with LR when it's used as backup for the image files, not for those files that you're actively working on, which are better held locally. The LR catalogue should be on a fast local drive.
If one makes any changes to files in Photoshop then I think that it is important to export those "negatives" and import at the other location. Maybe there is a way to make a smart collection just of pictures that have been modified by an outside editing program...if not there should be.
Meanwhile I decided not to get a second Drobo 2, but to speed up the primary workstation with an eSata RAID from LaCie.