Field Notes: Synology Photo Station 5

Image of Synolog DeskStation 212jI’ve been playing around with Synology Photo Station and wanted to document some notes from my experience. These notes are from a DS212+ running the DSM 4.1 beta. Currently I’m using DSM 4.1-2567 and Photo Station 5.2-2284 although most of this also applies to DSM 4. The main difference is that performance seems to improve with each release.

Uploading Files

There’s a lot of complaints about the thumbnail generation process bringing the Synology NAS to its knees. Performance has improved, but the initial upload could be problematic if there’s a lot of images (or videos). My files were almost all photos, just a handful of small videos.

  • Uploading a large number of photos should be done using the Synology Assistant software from a computer. I ran it from my Windows PC but there are Mac and Linux versions too.
  • Copying a large number of files (20K+) directly to the photo share did not work well. Photo Station was unusable for a couple of days (at which point I gave up). The NAS itself was slower but still usable. In earlier versions the NAS itself was sometimes unusable during this process.
  • Uploading a large number of photos (20K+) through the Synology Assistant also had problems. Photo Station was slow for a couple of days (at which point I gave up waiting) and would sometimes report errors (such as when deleting a photo). In some cases Photo Station seemed to “lose” files. The album was created but no thumbnails were created and Photo Station reported the directory as empty. The primary process running at this time was Postgres which is used as the backend database to store information. Postgres would use any CPU cycles it could get. It would relinquish the CPU to other processes so the NAS itself performed well, but that CPU stayed pegged at 100% and Photo Station was slow, sometime painfully slow.

I took the following approach to the initial upload and things were smooth.

  • I deleted all the tags from the photo files. It’s possible that the Postgres processing was trying to process these tags (there were about 9,000 unique tags, For the most part I wanted to redo the tags so I deleted most of them before uploading.
  • I uploaded in smaller batches, still using Synology Assistant. I use a folder structure for my photos so just uploaded the individual directory trees in an order that made sense, This was about 2,000 photos at a time, although one upload was a little over 4,000.
  • During the upload the CPU usage stayed under 100% for the most part and things settled down shortly after the upload finished. Postgres processing was minimal which makes me think the tag removal had something to do with it. I did save a copy of the tagged photos and may do some comparisons if I get a chance.
  • Even during the upload the NAS itself performed fine. Photo Station itself was a little slow but usable without any of the timeouts that were common before.
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