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Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

rmurgz
Tutor

Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

Hi there,

I currently access my Readynas 314 only from Windows-based machines. However as a photographer I am considering buying some Apple Macs which I will also want to connect to the network in the same, simple way. Conscious of the NTFS/exFat/HFS+ compatibility considerations for external drives I was wondering if there were any particular issues or configuration considerations with file formats on the NAS drives too as I would rather not have to reconfigure my NAS and 4x hard drives.

Thanks!
Message 1 of 8
StephenB
Guru

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

The internal drives on the NAS already use btrfs, and there's no way to reformat them. Access over the network uses CIFS, NFS, AFP... CIFS and AFP are both supported by Apple (and CIFS is what you are using now with Windows).

External drives can be NTFS or ext. I'm fairly sure exFat won't work, not so sure about HFS+
Message 2 of 8
xeltros
Apprentice

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

ExFAT works on the NAS after a manipulation over SSH only. If you have no real use for it I would advise to stay away as Netgear may refuse support if SSH is activated.
NTFS is read by mac but you can't write on it.
There is software for that purprose. Look at NTFS-3G (or its paid version Tuxera) or at Paragon website.. You could use a combo pack and add the HF+ driver for windows too.

The NAS is not a problem, it will be handled perfectly the way it is. However, you can turn on Time Machine 😉
I would also turn on the snapshots if not already done, and add a backup system if you don't have one already.

As for mac being better machines for photo/video editing it used to be true. Final cut is still very powerful and affordable, but the photo app, aperture is now end of life and won't be replaced. I would advise to wait for the photo app on OS X (due for the first quarter of 2015 I think, not sure) and see. Otherwise photoshop will work perfectly in both environments and you shouldn't need new license now that they use their cloud subscription.
Don't get me wrong, I love macs, but if you want to specifically use apple apps I would wait to see what replaces aperture before investing time in learning it. Final cut pro X is really good and affordable and will be maintained and updated AFAIK. Logic pro stays in the apple ecosystem too.
New machines are very powerful and well designed, if you buy a mac for the retina screen, go for it, it is awesome, way better than the old antiglare 1920*1200 IMO.
Message 3 of 8
rmurgz
Tutor

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

Thanks for the replies. I had failed to appreciate that the native format of the NAS drives were read/writeable by both MAC and PC.

As an aside I use Lightroom for all my editing - my license will work on both PC and Mac.
Message 4 of 8
xeltros
Apprentice

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

Well the native format of the NAS is BTRFS which is read by linux only, but the NAS also handles HFS+, NTFS, FAT, EXT and with a slight modification ExFAT. So you can chose what you prefer and go with it.
There are drivers to read HFS+ on Windows and NTFS on Mac so the choice is really up to you, to what you want to do with those drives. If you want to share them, NTFS is recommended, if you work for mac only, HFS+ is great. FAT32 will work everywhere but has some limits regarding the file size (4GB).

As for the Mac/PC it really comes down to preferences. I'd pick OS X anytime (except in large enterprises because of the Microsoft ecosystem), but some will prefer Windows. I don't really think you'll see any difference in Lightroom, it should perform well on both platforms and changing the way you work will slow you down for a few days (time to reformat the drives, get used to the OS, restore files to the machine...). That said, the retina screen is gorgeous (and I heard photo accurate) and the customer support for Apple is really good. So if you pick a mac for that or because you prefer OS X ergonomic, go ahead.
Message 5 of 8
garyd9
Virtuoso

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

rmurgz wrote:
Conscious of the NTFS/exFat/HFS+ compatibility considerations for external drives I was wondering if there were any particular issues or configuration considerations with file formats on the NAS drives too as I would rather not have to reconfigure my NAS and 4x hard drives.
File SYSTEM formats: No issue whatsoever. The NAS uses it's own filesystem format, but that's completely hidden to NAS clients. readynas units support both native windows (SMB/CIFS) and native apple (AFP/netatalk) protocols. (Actually, Mac's also support SMB for normal shares.)

As for FILE FORMATS, there can be some compatibility issues. Common formats, such as "JPG", "MP3", "TIFF", "AVI", and so-on are compatible across both platforms. You may encounter some formats on your Macs that you'll need an additional program to read on your Windows machines. (Example: I don't think Windows supports quicktime natively - you have to install .. quicktime.) Windows tends to use 3 character extensions for most everything, while Mac uses the proper extensions. (example: JPG vs JPEG) Modern Windows programs, however, can usually work with the longer file extensions. Obviously, executable formats are completely incompatible. Program.exe won't work on OSX, and Program.app won't work on Windows.

(One interesting thing is if you put a Mac app on your NAS, it usually appears as a single file. If you look at that "file" from Windows, you might see that it's actually an entire directory structure.)

As for what you are using them for: I don't think you'll encounter many issues with FILE FORMATS doing photo editing. What photoshop supports in one, it supports in the other. I don't know if lightroom databases are compatible across platforms, but the adobe xmp sidecar files ARE compatible.

Take care
Gary
Message 6 of 8
rmurgz
Tutor

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

Thanks Xeltros - have always had NTFS on my windows-based machines. I've only used FAT32 / exFAT on external drives that I send to mac-based clients.

just looked at my share on my NAS from my PC - when I look at the properties it says the drive is NTFS when from the posts before I thought it was in an interchangeable format. Hmm :?
Message 7 of 8
xeltros
Apprentice

Re: Moving from all Windows to mixed Windows/Mac landscape

If you access the share over network and windows says this is NTFS, this is a mistake. Windows has no way to know which format is used.
If it was indeed NTFS, Mac wouldn't be able to write on it for example. If you extend the principle this would mean that Windows computers wouldn't be able to access to linux web servers.

Sharing involves a protocol, it can be AFP, SMB, HTTP, FTP... The only requirements are that both ends are compatible.
You can think of a telephone system. If you have the good number and the network is properly configured, you can reach the other person, but this is up to the other person to give you feedback. If the person needs to read something to you, you have no way to know if this person is reading from a book, a screen or even reading in your language. You just know that you can communicate and you try to speak the same language. That's exactly how protocols work, the NAS needs to be able to process the data and send it over network, Windows/Mac need to be able to receive it over network and to process it, the processing phase can be different on the NAS and on Windows/Mac. The protocol is only a way to communicate, not a way to store the data. The storing part is up to each operating system and remains internal.
Message 8 of 8
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