For a number of years now, I have been a big fan of network attached storage (NAS) in order to keep all of my data in one place and simplify my photography workflow. Having access to the same fast storage from multiple machines, as well as the Internet, is important for my needs, so I have been utilizing NAS heavily at my home office. Ever since I got a hold of the Synology DS1815+, I have been a big fan of Synology products. However, there has been one main limitation that I have been struggling with when processing large files or accessing storage from multiple computers, and that is network throughput limitations. With the DS1815+ model only featuring 1 Gbit Ethernet ports, I have been limited to a maximum total of 100-120 MB/sec transfers, which is simply insufficient in today’s high-resolution photo and video environments. So as soon as Synology announced its DS1817+ unit with the capability to add a 10 Gbit network card, I knew I had to move up to it. In this review, I will provide detailed information on the Synology DS1817+ NAS and provide detailed information on what one can expect from it in terms of performance and network throughput.
It is a fact that as content creators, we are always in need for more storage. Thanks to all the latest and greatest cameras on the market that offer incredible detail with their high resolution sensors, we find ourselves constantly reassessing our storage requirements. Old computers are getting too slow to handle all the media and data we have to deal with, while storage solutions that used to be good enough a few years back do not seem to cut it anymore. Our clients have become technology-savvy and they are now demanding to see high resolution media files to deliver exceptional experience to their viewers, so we have to keep up. While building a fast computer for photography needs is definitely not for everyone, one does not have to go through the same process when assessing storage needs. Since there are a number of great, low-cost storage solutions out there that do a phenomenal job and provide excellent connectivity options, I have been in favor of such arrays instead of running a beefy tower computer. One such array that I recently have been introduced to, is the QNAP TVS-882T. In this review, I will provide detailed information about the TVS-882T and compare it to my Synology DS1815+ that I have been running for the past few years, along with the latest DS1817+ that I will be thoroughly testing soon.
Over the past few months, I have been testing the new generation NAS storage array devices with 10 Gigabit (Gbit) network interfaces to see how they perform when compared to 1 Gbit network. While I am pretty happy with a standard 1 Gbit NAS setup for photo storage, any time I have to deal with stacking large panoramas, saving large TIFF files with several layers in Photoshop or doing any video work, my performance starts to go down the drain due to the 1 Gbit network bottleneck. As a result, whenever I deal with such projects, I have been using my local SSD storage for working on files and after I am done, transferring images and video back to the NAS storage for future access. So when I found out about 10 Gbit options on new storage arrays from QNAP and Synology, I decided to try them out in a productive environment. In this article, I will go over my current 10 Gbit Ethernet setup with a QNAP TVS-882T and compare its throughput to 1 Gbit setup when copying both RAW images and video, then list out the costs associated with implementing 10 Gbit Ethernet to see if is a viable solution for working professionals.
Many photographers and videographers often rely on using local storage within their computers to store media files. Once their computer drives fill up, they often end up purchasing external hard drives to offload some or all of the data, segregating the data and making it difficult for quick access and backup. Others choose dedicated storage arrays that handle all the data in a single location, albeit at a higher cost and sometimes questionable results. For a person who is not technology-savvy, choosing a proper storage solution can be a difficult task. With so many different DAS (direct-attached storage) and NAS (network-attached storage) solutions on the market, one can get quickly confused, ending up with many storage issues. Since mismanaging storage can potentially lead to data loss and other problems, it is always a good idea to revisit your storage needs and choose the best solution that will not only address the storage requirements you have today, but also help with growing your data in the future. In this article, we will go over different storage solutions in detail, identify pros and cons of each and hopefully help you in selecting the best storage solution for your needs.
A couple of days ago, Synology announced its new DS1517+ and DS1817+ storage arrays that caught my attention. I have been using an 8-bay Synology Network Attached Storage (NAS) device for the past few years and as you have seen from my detailed Synology DS1815+ review, it is a very powerful and robust storage solution that allows me to use it not just as a backup device, but also as my primary storage. And when the DS1815+ is paired up with a fireproof and waterproof ioSafe, one can fully automate the backup process and alleviate the associated pains with potentially losing data due to hard drive or storage failure. However, one of the biggest bottlenecks I have been experiencing with any NAS device is network bottlenecks. Even when using link aggregation with several ports, it is impossible to achieve more than 1 Gbit throughput from the same machine, which means that I am always stuck at roughly 125 MB/sec storage speed, even if my storage unit is capable of handling more load (link aggregation can be very beneficial in a multi-user environment). So I have been anxiously waiting for storage companies to start releasing storage arrays that are capable of handling more network throughput, which is why it is exciting to see the new DS1517+ and DS1817+ units.
As a busy photographer who travels quite a bit both within the USA and overseas, I have gone through many types of gear in my camera bag. While some of the gear and accessories are absolute necessities I will not leave my home without, others can be very useful in particular situations or when traveling to other countries. In this article, I would like to go over my top must-have gear for travel and discuss why you might consider including them in your arsenal in the future.
As photographers, we heavily rely on memory cards, because they store images captured by our cameras and we use them to transfer images to our computers / main storage. In some cases, photographers even rely on memory cards to be their secondary or tertiary backups when shooting in the field. The role of memory cards in a photography workflow should not be underestimated – a failed card may not only lead to many problems and frustrations, but can also create bigger problems, especially when dealing with commercial clients who could make the photographer liable for loss of their images. In this article, I will share some tips on how to properly use memory cards and how to take care of them based on my many years of experience, both as a photographer and as an IT professional.
A lot has changed in the world of computer storage in the past decade. Traditional spinning hard disk drives (HDD) have been outperformed by insanely fast and now affordable Solid State Drives (SSD). And now we have insanely faster flash memory technology already available for the consumer market in the shape of Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe), which is manufactured in a number of different interfaces / form factors, including M.2. Many photographers, including myself, experienced a huge boost in performance for post-processing large resolution files when switching from a hard drive to an SSD, but now that the faster flash memory is becoming more common, one might be wondering about the benefits of this new storage compared to both HDD and SSD drives. We have already published a detailed article on building a computer for photography based on the latest generation Intel Skylake architecture, where we recommended to get the new generation motherboards with built-in M.2 slots for flash storage. Having built a similar computer myself for my post-processing and video editing needs, I thought it would be useful to share just how much faster the new storage is compared to both HDD and SSD drives, since I use all three in my large full tower setup.
Choosing the right storage option can be a rather challenging process due to the sheer number of options available on the market today. The good news is, there is a solution for practically every need out there – from a simple low-cost backup solution to high-end and versatile storage arrays for multi-user environments, all depending on one’s needs. The bad news is, even when you know exactly what you need in terms of storage space, you might find yourself lost fairly quickly, particularly if you are not well-versed in storage solutions. The process of selecting the best solution is often frustrating for many photographers for this particular reason. Last year, a good friend of mine, who has been doing both photography and videography professionally for a number of years now, asked me for a suggestion on a solid and robust storage solution that could be used in a workgroup environment, with more than 2 people accessing the same data simultaneously. He told me about the challenges his team was experiencing when needing to share photos and videos in a network environment, often resorting to very slow and ineffective methods that only created frustration. Having been working with storage solutions for many years, my proposal was to use the Synology DS1815+ network attached storage (NAS) in a Gigabit network environment. I have personally used a number of Synology NAS devices in the past both on personal and professional levels and I have always loved the architecture, the simple to use software, the reliability and the performance of Synology storage solutions. Since implementation, my friend and his co-workers have been very happy, praising Synology and recommending the company to others. In this review, I will be taking a closer look at the Synology DS1815+ and talk about my experience using the unit for my work during the past 6 months.
Lexar has been long known for making different type of memory cards for hobbyists, enthusiasts and professionals. Whether you need microSD, SD, CF or the newer memory card technologies like CFast and XQD, Lexar makes lines of products with different quality levels and speeds to satisfy pretty much every still camera or video storage needs. One area you might not be very familiar is Lexar’s excellent line of memory card readers. I have been personally using the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader for years and I find it to be the best solution when working in the field and need to access or back up my data, as stated in my earlier review. But what about a professional memory card reader for a desktop? Since I have always built my own computers, I have had a strong preference for internal readers that I can install in one of the 5.25″ bays, with the AFT PRO-77U being my top choice. And although I am pretty happy with this reader, it does have a couple of disadvantages. First, it only comes with the most common media formats like CF, SD and microSD. If I wanted to attach the newer XQD or CFast cards, I would have to get a separate reader for each one of those. Second, there is only one reader per card type – if I wanted to transfer from two cards simultaneously (and yes, you can do that in Lightroom), then I am left out without options. Luckily, Lexar makes a superb product to address such particular needs (and more) in the form of the Lexar Professional Workflow readers. Today, I am reviewing the HR1 version, which has a USB 3.0 interface. If you are a Mac user and prefer Thunderbolt, there is an HR2 version of the same reader, which has support for both Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.