Why do you want your older photos in the cloud and not simply on an external drive? An external drive would have the advantage, that you would still have the control of your photos.
You can store photos in the cloud, no problem, but not as part of the Aperture library. Any syncing would break the connection between versions and original master files in the cloud.
I'm considering all options including an external drive. The main problem I'm trying to solve is to free up space on my MacBook HDD, keep the size of the Aperture library down so it performs better and have a redundant off-site (cloud) back up of the photos. I have an external Western Digital HDD. My thought is to orginize my Aperture photos into separate libraries by year. I would put everything except current year and five star rated photos on external WD drive. Does that make sense?
However I still want to back this up to the cloud. I have dropbox but concerned about putting an Aperture library in that folder because of the sync.
Shoud I use Aperture Vault to create a back up of each year library and put that file in Dropbox?
I'm not completely clear the primary purpose of Vault and how it works. Also not sure if I can put a dropbox folder on an external drive that is rarely plugged into a computer.
The problem with multiple libraries is that they are inconvenient. Only one can be open and searched at a time, so if you're looking for that photo from your trip to NY, well was that in 95? 96? Maybe it was 94... And as an Aperture Library is pretty much unlimitied in size, I don't see a compelling argument for a library-per-year approach.
Having two libraries - one on the internal and one on the external - seems like a lot more convenient, but I would do that slightly differently.
On the External I would have one complete library. This makes backing up very easy. Back that up and you have everything backed up. From that I would export as a library the material you want to take on the road with you. If you import then ideally import to the one main library, of if not, then you can move material from the internal to the external library using the export as Library/ import library function. So, at all times the internal library is a sub-set of the main one.
I'm wary of Dropbox and other cloud solutions for backing up an entire Library. Why? These are very large databases. I've seen people complain that restoring a library can take days simply because these guys shape their traffic and you're downloading massive amounts of data.
Further, many cloud services store the files on inappropriate disk formats, and this can lead to damage to the Library.
So, my suggestion would be as follows:
One full size Library on an external
That backed up to another external.
Ideally, backed up to a second external - this lives off-site at your workplace, a relatives house, even in your car.
On your internal a subset of your main library.
As for backing up Photos to the cloud, that's quite simple. Services like Flickr and SmugMug - and there are many others - are there and you can upload all your photos, they remain accessible from any computer anywhere in the world.
Don't even think about using the cloud as a solution for your storage problems. Some reasons:
- Access to files on the cloud will be so much slower than to local files
- Who will guarantee you that the cloud provider will still be able to provide you access to your files in 10 years from now?
My advice (that's what I am doing myself):
- Use referenced masters only
- Keep the recent masters on the local hard drive, and the other ones on the external hard drive
- Keep your libraray (or libraries) on the local hard drive of your MacBook, so that you always have access to all previews, and just need the external drive if you want to re-edit the masters
- Backup everything to another local hard drive (or network drive), using Time Machine (cannot beat the simplicity)
- Get a Crashplan account (about 5$/month) to have another redundant off-siote backup
In addition to all of the other negative responces you have gotten, in my testing of sites that claim to be compatible with Aperture, I have found their claims not to be true in my testing. All of them I tested failed to return anything other then the original photo. All of the metadata and ajustmnents were either missing or unusable.
After my testing, I must concur with Didole in everything except CrashPlan.
CrashPlan also failed to return my photos with their matadata and adjustments in a usuable manner.
I do all of my storage and backuop locally after the abysmal ressults of my test with all of the clound and network backup plans.
I have to agree to everything said before.
Currently I have ~3 TB of RAW files, uploading that to a cloud service definitely isn't an option.
In the past I also used that "many libraries" approach. When my harddrive was full, I exported older projects as new library to an external drive. But this had many inconveniences: when searching for specific images I had to open many libraries, and collecting several images for a special purpose, e.g. a presentation, book, whatever would create a total mess because I copied them to yet another library.
Now I use one big library. The library itself is on my primary (fast SSD) drive. New projects are imported to that library => fastest file access for editing those files. Later I relocate the RAWs to my big secondary HDD. This way I have all my recent projects with RAWs with me all the time. RAWs from older projects are relocated to an external drive.
All drives are backed up with two sets of backup-drives. One set is at home, and one out of home, in case of fire, burglary etc. The set are exchanged every few weeks.