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  #1  
Old 03-11-2022, 03:17 PM
kai2002 kai2002 is offline
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Default Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Hey there!

I recently moved everything from my Mac Pro to the new M1 laptop (running great btw with PT 2021.12!) and I'm also upgrading a few of my workflows.

On my 5.1., I used to have a separate Dropbox backup folder for all sessions where I'd copy every session I'd worked on at the end of the day - and sometimes before lunch break.

On the M1, I switched to working on sessions in the Dropbox folder directly so I have peace of mind and don't forget to back things up. Especially since I'm occasionally taking the laptop to outside sessions / for travel etc. so I wanna make sure that everything is ALWAYS in the cloud in case something happens to it (gets stolen, some idiot drowning that thing in liquid, random attack by Aliens and all that).

Since I'm doing everything from start to finish in one session (songwriting, vox production, track production, mixing, mastering), the session can get big with the PTX file growing to over 60MB more often than not. With auto backups set to every minute, Dropbox basically syncs constantly and with an upload speed of 1,5MB/s it clogs up the WiFi + ethernet nicely.

Dropbox only allows for syncs to be paused for impractical time periods (up to an hour, indefintiely, until tomorrow, etc.)

I've been trying to come up with a solution, but came up short. Is there way way to work around this issue without switching Dropbox sync on and off constantly by hand? Some set and forget solution that I'm not seeing?

Thanks for any input!
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2022, 03:39 PM
Darryl Ramm Darryl Ramm is online now
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Quote:
On the M1, I switched to working on sessions in the Dropbox folder directly so I have peace of mind and don't forget to back things up. Especially since I'm occasionally taking the laptop to outside sessions / for travel etc. so I wanna make sure that everything is ALWAYS in the cloud in case something happens to it (gets stolen, some idiot drowning that thing in liquid, random attack by Aliens and all that).
Uh be careful. As mentioned here many times... You might have less chance of forgetting to drag a folder to the cloud, but you have increased chance of maybe losing all or part of your work. Working on a cloud backed storage means you may well have no backup protection... it depends on what failure you think you are protecting against.

Pro Tools is clueless here, it has no idea it's writing to a cloud backed storage, you have no guarantee any change to the data that Pro Tools thinks it is making ever get to the cloud storage.

There is no way I would work directly on any cloud storage. There are lots of ways to think about automating/making backup scripts, or maybe using backup software, that copy content to different cloud systems (I do that to google cloud storage).

How are you doing backups? A single session in the cloud is not backed up. I suspect the largest cause of loss of data nowadays is user error, not drive failure, not theft (although you want to protect against all those of course), and having a single copy of sessions (and any internal backups made by Pro Tools) exposed on your cloud drive is very vulnerable to user errors. Manually made copies, compressed/zipped, and copied to the cloud, organized so you can find them, and made non writable, provide better protection against easy user mistake than only having sessions online.... and you should be aiming for more local backups as well... what happens if your cloud provider loses all that data?
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2022, 05:04 PM
ReverbHead ReverbHead is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

I’ve been working off my dropbox folder for a couple of years now. I have had zero issues, just make sure dropbox is not trying to clear space automatically. There’s a couple of Puremix videos which discuss backup strategies and both mention Dropbox in one way or another as good solution, that helped me take the plunge.

I do, however, have a number of Synctime scripts that copy all my work to local drives, I have an SSD that keeps my work in progress mirrored in realtime and an Archive drive that is also mirrored to the cloud. So far It has been rock solid, given nothing has failed and I have not needed to resort to any of my backups. All my Pro Tools preferences, UA preferences and custom presets also exist in dropbox via Synctime. So pretty much if Aliens steal my laptop I could be up and running depending only on internet speed.

1,5 Megs doesn’t seem like enough though, there’s your bottleneck. I have a 100 MB upstream connection and everything goes up in realtime.

Hope this helps.
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  #4  
Old 03-12-2022, 09:37 AM
SomeOtherGuy SomeOtherGuy is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

I've been working with all my sessions residing in my Dropbox folder for the last 5 or 6 years. It's a Dropbox business account too, so I have as much storage as I need (9 TB currently). I can also revert to previous PT file versions too, which can be a lifesaver. So far I've had zero issues.
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2022, 03:42 PM
Tweakhead Tweakhead is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Dropbox servers are located all over the world. Which server your files end up on is sheer chance. Once your audio files get uploaded there, the creation and modification date/time of all the files gets changed to that upload completion time of whatever time zone it's in. Your files have then been stripped of that critical information permanently with no way to recover it. This can make it a disaster for people who try to find out which files are the latest versions, and which order they were recorded in.

The only solution is to zip an archive before upload, or simply not use Dropbox.

Dropbox seems to fail large downloads more and more these days. I have convinced 99% of my clients to stop using it. There are so many alternatives these days, many of which are free, that it's worthwhile doing a little research as to what suits your workflow. If none of this matters to you then by all means keep using it - but you're essentially encouraging a non-responsive company to provide an outdated, useless service.
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2022, 03:57 PM
SomeOtherGuy SomeOtherGuy is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweakhead View Post
Dropbox servers are located all over the world. Which server your files end up on is sheer chance. Once your audio files get uploaded there, the creation and modification date/time of all the files gets changed to that upload completion time of whatever time zone it's in. Your files have then been stripped of that critical information permanently with no way to recover it. This can make it a disaster for people who try to find out which files are the latest versions, and which order they were recorded in.

The only solution is to zip an archive before upload, or simply not use Dropbox.

Dropbox seems to fail large downloads more and more these days. I have convinced 99% of my clients to stop using it. There are so many alternatives these days, many of which are free, that it's worthwhile doing a little research as to what suits your workflow. If none of this matters to you then by all means keep using it - but you're essentially encouraging a non-responsive company to provide an outdated, useless service.
The file creation and mod dates are only affected if the files are downloaded with from the web version of Dropbox using the download command. That method is okay if you need to grab an audio file on your iPad or whatever, however, the proper way to retrieve anything from Dropbox is to use Selective Sync, which will restore everything to your drive exactly as it was--with creation and mod dates intact.

BTW, my experience is that downloads work 100% of the time, but as I said, that's not the proper way to restore.
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  #7  
Old 03-13-2022, 04:30 PM
kai2002 kai2002 is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ReverbHead View Post
I’ve been working off my dropbox folder for a couple of years now. I have had zero issues, just make sure dropbox is not trying to clear space automatically. There’s a couple of Puremix videos which discuss backup strategies and both mention Dropbox in one way or another as good solution, that helped me take the plunge.

I do, however, have a number of Synctime scripts that copy all my work to local drives, I have an SSD that keeps my work in progress mirrored in realtime and an Archive drive that is also mirrored to the cloud. So far It has been rock solid, given nothing has failed and I have not needed to resort to any of my backups. All my Pro Tools preferences, UA preferences and custom presets also exist in dropbox via Synctime. So pretty much if Aliens steal my laptop I could be up and running depending only on internet speed.

1,5 Megs doesn’t seem like enough though, there’s your bottleneck. I have a 100 MB upstream connection and everything goes up in realtime.

Hope this helps.
Yeah with a faster upload that makes perfect sense of course, but the limit on my connections is 10Mbps, resulting in roughly 1,5MB/s upload speed with a little generosity from Spectrum (provider), so that doesn't work for me, would be great though.

From what I found online, Dropbox doesn't seem to any workable solution to schedule syncing. There's technically ways to run this via energy saving in the system prefs, but that seems very unintuitive und complicated.

I'll keep hunting for a solution ...

Last edited by kai2002; 03-21-2022 at 06:20 AM. Reason: EDT: changed 100mbps to 10mbps, typo
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2022, 07:11 AM
daeron80 daeron80 is online now
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Working in a synced folder can work on Mac, though I think it's unwise for the reasons others have mentioned. A note for Windows users - JUST DON'T. It's a nightmare.
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  #9  
Old 03-14-2022, 09:25 AM
SomeOtherGuy SomeOtherGuy is offline
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Default Re: Working in Dropbox folders with large sessions - best practice for sync / upload?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kai2002 View Post
Yeah with a faster upload that makes perfect sense of course, but the limit on my connections is 100Mbps, resulting in roughly 1,5MB/s upload speed with a little generosity from Spectrum (provider), so that doesn't work for me, would be great though.

From what I found online, Dropbox doesn't seem to any workable solution to schedule syncing. There's technically ways to run this via energy saving in the system prefs, but that seems very unintuitive und complicated.

I'll keep hunting for a solution ...
FWIW, my Spectrum upload speed is 10 Mbps, and my PT auto backups are the default setting of every 5 minutes. I wouldn't use any cloud backup service while working if I only had a 1.5 Mbps upload speed. And auto backups every minute can be a little disruptive, cloud or no cloud (at least in my experience).
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