Today’s Question: I am a Lightroom user and have recently set up a Raid 1 Synology NAS [Network Attached Storage] system for my photographs. I want to work off of the NAS in Lightroom. How can I go about using Lightroom with a NAS?
Tim’s Quick Answer: You can use network attached storage (NAS) for storing your photos being managed by Lightroom Classic, but you should not store your Lightroom Classic catalog on that NAS storage device.
More Detail: As photographers we obviously need to store our digital photos. That generally takes the form of a storage device such as a hard drive, which might be a drive that is installed inside your computer or an external hard drive that you connect with a data cable such as a USB connection.
Another storage option is network attached storage (NAS), which you can think of as being an external hard drive where the data connection is via a network rather than via a direct data connection. In actual fact, a NAS device generally includes multiple hard drives that are strung together to create a high-capacity storage capability.
For all intents and purposes, you can think of a NAS device as being the same thing in general concept as an external hard drive. The key difference is that because the storage is connected via a network connection rather than via a direct data connection, multiple users on the same network can access the data on the NAS device at the same time.
Because NAS operates on a network environment, it is not supported for storage of your Lightroom Classic catalog. Among other things, having your Lightroom Classic catalog stored on a network means that there is the potential for more than one user to access the catalog at the same time, which would create a problem for that catalog.
So, you can store your photos on any storage device accessible from your computer. However, you should only store your catalog on a storage device directly connected to your computer, such as an internal or external hard drive.