Drobo FS to iMac 27 Yosemite iPhoto

hey guys. first post here. about to shoot myself in the face.

I have upgraded from a MacBook Pro (OS X v 10.5 Leopard) to iMac 27 Retina (OS X 10.10 Yosemite). System failing to ‘update iPhoto Library’ when opening iPhoto folder from Drobo FS. Had no issues within previous linking to the library on the MBPro. Estimated 190 GB Photo Library.

iPhoto shuts down after est 20 minutes of spinning. Energy Saver is Off. Have attempted (option + command + selecting iPhoto) for repair but unsuccessful thus far.

Thankful for any help/guidance.

I reached out to Drobo but they said that since it’s older than 2 years they refuse to assist me and are directing me to forums. Shocked by that since it was my first inquiry to support.

Apple User stated this moments ago and I’m praying it’s false, “The problem is, that an iPhoto Library on a network volume has never been supported. Earlier iPhoto versions did not test, if the library is on a correctly formatted volume, but the newer iPhoto versions do and refuse to open the library on a network volume. You have been lucky, that the network access did not damage your library, but you have been using it in an unsupported mode all along.”

My whole purpose for putting this expensive little system together was because I’m a photographer and my reason for having the Drobo FS was the ability to store large amounts of photography, have the ability to access documents and photos wirelessly through multiple devices, and ensure that if a drive failed I would not risk losing data.

Apple is arguably the best for imaging so I’m shocked I’m in this situation right now.

is that right about iPhoto and NAS???

I have been struggling since moving my library to a 5N, iPhoto takes ages to load, longer to quit, is really not happy.

the main issue is that it seems to me affecting iTunes also when a mobile device is connected, it just hangs at ‘importing photos’

Is it a drobo thong, iPhoto thing or what???

In general, iPhoto works best for internal storage … the OSX HDD.

Note that we are talking about iPhotos and NOT the new Photos App that came with OSX 10.10.3 and newer.

User of iPhoto has 2 ways to “manage” their iPhoto library.

  1. Managed Library - Original Photos are copied into the iPhoto Library itself, modified photos and previews are also kept inside the iPhoto Library with all the extra metadata such as location, ratings, faces etc. This method makes the iPhoto Library very huge. But it is the “preferred” way as stated by Apple. The option for this method is in the iPhoto app Preferences > “Copied Photo into Library” … something like that.

  2. Unchecking the option “Copied into Library” - the Original Photos are kept at the original folder location and are not imported into the iPhoto Library. This method is also called “Referenced Library”. With this method, the iPhoto Library itself is small as it does not contain the original photos BUT only the reference link to the photos. Ratings, faces, location data, and previews are still kept in the iPhoto Library itself.

Using a NAS for iPhoto Library can be done is 2 ways, take the above as an example:

a) iPhoto Library in OSX Pictures Folder (default). Using Referenced Library method, the Original Photos are kept in a NAS over the network. This making the iPhoto Library itself small in size with linking to the NAS where the original photos are.

b) Using Managed Library method, all data and Photos are kept in the iPhotos Library. In this case, the Library is moved to a external NAS over the network.

Both method “works” (when it works …), both speed is slow due to the fact that iPhotos library are not optimise for network access. Method (a) has a slight better performance and method (b) is the slowest.

Method (b) has another potential issue and performance hit, Apple Apps are all designed to the advantage of Apple OSX HFS+ filesystem. All NAS out there are using either EXT3 or EXT4 as their internal filesystem, and this may not work well with iPhoto.

IF you are using method (b) - the “Managed Library” and has the entire Library store in a Shared Folder inside a NAS and habit some issue updating the iPhoto Library DB or having some issue upgrading the iPhoto Library to the newer Photos App.

Here is a suggested workaround.

  1. Get a USB 3.0 external drive which is big enough to hold the entire Library.
  2. Format the USB external drive to OSX HFS+ format. This can be done using OSX Disk Utilities.
  3. Copy the Managed Library of the iPhoto from the NAS to the external USB drive.
  4. Now open the library on this USB drive using iPhoto so that it can update the library to the newer iPhoto version.

IF you are using method (a), things will be a little more tricky. Since iPhoto lacks ability to consolidate or manage the Referenced Photos. It is hard to “move” or “consolidated” all the referenced photos back into the Library. 3rd party tools or even some minor “hacking” of the Library files itself is required.


I can now confirm that iPhoto does NOT work well, if at all, on a NAS, I have asked Apple and use on a non OSX Journaled format disk is not supported. This is backed up by the extremely poor performance and many crashes I had when i tried it.

I have now moved it back to an SD card that i can plug into my Macbook, not ideal but working.

Apparently the new Photos app is even worse and will not allow the library to be put on a NAS at all.

hi it sounds like apple / iphoto is the culprit :frowning:

Yep, poorly designed app.

iPhoto is end-of-line now anyway so probably time to move on.