8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 12, 2014 12:27 PM by QuickSander
MacRainer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi,
I would like to make my Aperture library accessible from severals Macs and for different users on these Macs --- not at the same time. The idea is that only one user from one Mac can use Aperture at a given time.

The basic idea is to install the Aperture library on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) --- either will all photos included or with all photos stored in a separated folder structure --- next to the library ("externally referenced masters").

The NAS I am planning to use is a QNAP TS 239 Pro II+, which will be attached to a Gigabit Ethernet network (to which all Macs are connected too). Following the reviews, the QNAP should be capable to deliver a read/write performance in the order of 70 Mb/s ... hence performance-wise there should be no problem.

I've read through various forums and found many messages telling that using Aperture with a NAS is not possible or at least not a good idea. The posts in the forum were partially a bit confusing; people were telling contradictory things. I also had the impression that the answers depend on the actual version of Aperture. Apple itself put in the release notes of Aperture 3.1.1 about Vaults: "Fixes an issue that could sometimes cause Aperture on a computer with Mac OS X v10.5.8 Leopard to stop responding while updating a vault stored on a network volume." Hence, it seems that Aperture 3.1.1 can work with a NAS ... at least it can use vaults that are stored on a NAS. On the other hand, it's exactly the topic of vaults where many people say that this does not work with a NAS ...

To clarify things, I try to get some clear and competent answers here. The questions are:

Can one store and use the Aperture library on a NAS (whose disk is formatted using a UNIX file system, e.g. EXT4) ?

If yes, does this work in both configurations: (a) with a library containing the masters, and (b) with a library with externally referenced masters (that are also located on the NAS) ?

If a user on a given Mac on the network has opened Aperture (and thus the library on the NAS), is this library the blocked for other users ? (That should ideally be the case.)

If it is NOT possible to use an Aperture library on the NAS, is it then possible to store it on an external, HFS+ formatted drive connected to the NAS via USB ? (QNAP allows to format its external drives with HFS+).

I know that putting everything on an iSCSI target volume on the NAS is a solution, but is iSCSCI properly working under OS X (10.6). I read that one has to install an iSCSI Initiator software first ... which is not from Apple itself.

What about Vaults: According to the Aperture 3.1.1 release notes, it seems to be possible to use vaults on a NAS ... is this really the case ?

Is usage of Aperture on a NAS depending on the file protocol used to transfer the data ? I read also that if one uses the AFP protocol (supported in a QNAP NAS) then everything's fine ... Is this the case ?

Thanks a lot in advance for any clear and correct answer!
Rainer

iMac (Intel Core 2 Duo), Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (25,720 points)
    I won't try and address all the issues you ask about. They are numerous and addressed elsewhere both in this list and on the Apple site with sometime conflicting advice.


    If a user on a given Mac on the network has opened Aperture (and thus the library on the NAS), is this library the blocked for other users ? (That should ideally be the case.)


    One thing though that is certain is that there is no provision in Aperture for file locking. That is if two users have Aperture open on the same library at the same time Aperture will be very very unhappy. So if you do attempt to put your plan into place you had better have some scheme in place to prevent this from happening.

    File permissions will also be an issue but that is easily worked put using the standard OS X tools.

    good luck let us know how it turns out.
  • William Lloyd Level 7 Level 7 (20,980 points)
    Can one store and use the Aperture library on a NAS (whose disk is formatted using a UNIX file system, e.g. EXT4) ?

    Not reliably, no. You will encounter issues. You could use Mac OS X disk images on the server, mount them on a client, and work that way. Note only one machine can mount the disk image at a time.

    If yes, does this work in both configurations: (a) with a library containing the masters, and (b) with a library with externally referenced masters (that are also located on the NAS) ?

    (a) no (b) no.

    If a user on a given Mac on the network has opened Aperture (and thus the library on the NAS), is this library the blocked for other users ? (That should ideally be the case.)

    Aperture does no locking. There is a very high likelihood you will corrupt the library if you do this.

    If it is NOT possible to use an Aperture library on the NAS, is it then possible to store it on an external, HFS+ formatted drive connected to the NAS via USB ? (QNAP allows to format its external drives with HFS+).

    How would you be accessing it then? If it's over a file protocol (SMB or NFS or ...) it likely won't work.

    I know that putting everything on an iSCSI target volume on the NAS is a solution, but is iSCSCI properly working under OS X (10.6). I read that one has to install an iSCSI Initiator software first ... which is not from Apple itself.

    Right. There is no Apple-provided iSCSI initator. I don't know how well 3rd party initators work.

    What about Vaults: According to the Aperture 3.1.1 release notes, it seems to be possible to use vaults on a NAS ... is this really the case ?

    I've done vaults reliably for years using a Mac OS X disk image stored on the NAS, that I mount before backing up. I wouldn't do it "naked" (i.e. stored directly on the NAS).

    Is usage of Aperture on a NAS depending on the file protocol used to transfer the data ? I read also that if one uses the AFP protocol (supported in a QNAP NAS) then everything's fine ... Is this the case ?

    AFP might have a better chance than other protocols but... frankly... it's a bad idea. If you MUST share a library across many machines, use something like a Promise DS4600 (direct attached) and plug it into a machine when you're using it.
  • James-be Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I am about to switch from managed to referenced (files on QNAP) because my internal drive is getting full.

    What would be the best practice?
    Connect to the QNAP via AFP or the iSCSI method?
    I would, of course, keep the library on the internal HD on my iMac
  • QuickSander Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I have best experiences with iSCSI server form QNAP and the ATTO Xtend SAN iSCSI initiator.

     

    Tried AFP, couldn't get it to auto-login.

  • akreis Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I am curious about your iSCSI setup. Forgive me if I sound stupid, but I have a few questions:

    • are the iSCSI physical connections direct from the computer to the NAS via ethernet or do you connect both to a switch/router
    • if a direct connection, do you need 2 ethernet ports (1 for local computer->LAN and 1 for local computer->iSCSI)
    • if 2 ethernet ports required, can you use thunderbolt to ethernet adapter
    • can you format iSCSI LUN HFS+ and it will appear and act as a locally connected drive
    • what is the speed difference using iSCSI vs. connecting to a shared folder on a NAS with AFP or SMB

     

    Thanks

  • QuickSander Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Hi akreis,

     

    Sorry for not answering your questions one by one but, you can consider iSCSI as a block level protocol. So, in the end your Mac will not notice any difference between an iSCSI target on the NAS and a locally connected drive. Due to this you can format and partition it anyway you like including HFS+.

     

    You can simply connect to the iSCSI target using your existing Ethernet connection.  No additional direct connection required. I currently even connect to it through Wifi (albeit 802.11ac). Although connecting through Wifi might not be advised probably since loosing your wifi connection would be equivalent to pulling the SATA connection to your locally connected HD. Personally I do not have any problems with it though.

     

    Performance wise, I actually don't know. From practical use I do not notice any significant difference with CIFS or NFS.

     

    One thing you should keep in mind though is that you can only connect to it with one client at the time. Multiple connections would equal electrically connecting two Macs with one HD. You will then corrupt the file system very soon.

     

    Most current QNAP or Synology NASes support iSCSI out of the box. 

  • akreis Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks.

    I was considering creating an iSCSI LUN formatted HFS+ on a QNAP TS-670 NAS. Then I planned to connect to it with Mac mini server to share user home folders. I don't know if this would be better than a thunderbolt DAS or not.

     

    Storage is becoming a problem with Mac mini server and I do not see any reasonably priced thunderbolt solutions.

     

    BTW what iSCSI initiator do you use or recommend?

  • QuickSander Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I'm using Atto Xtend San initiator. It's not cheap, but a  while ago they were  faster in adapting their initiator to snow leopard.

     

    The other popular one is called globalSAN I believe. They started of with a free version, but currently you have to pay for their initiator also. So, you have to deduce the price of the software when comparing thunderbolt DAS and iSCSI NAS.