Multi-User Small Office Setup

I have been using DT Pro personally for a couple of months and was significantly impressed to investigate expanding its use to the rest of my office. Therefore, I was going to run my setup by the experts.

I have two physical offices-4 users in main office, and 1 user in a remote office. I setup a test installation with DT Pro installed in the main office on 2 Macbook Pros, 1 iMac, and 1 MacMini all connected on a ethernet LAN to a MacMini Server with Mavericks and OSX Server 3.0 installed. All user machines also have Mavericks installed.

I am using the MacMini Server to host a Local Sync Store for the main office, and plan, not yet implemented, a VPN for the Remote Office.

Each user has 3 DT Pro databases. A personal database ranging up to 1gb in size, a company HQ database currently at 45.7gb, and a Photographs database currently at 13.2gb. The personal database does not sync to the MiniServer, but instead syncs with DropBox for personal remote Macs and also with DevonThinkToGo on iDevices. The other two are meant to only sync over the Lan with the local machines.

The companyHQ database contains everything under the sun. Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iDraw, PDF’s, as well as photographs for specific jobs we have done. This is the one I am starting to have problems with. 3 out of the 4 users have metadata can’t find file errors and only 1 user properly syncs with the MiniServer

The two other databases, personal and Photographs, seem to be working fine. I have been disappointed at the speed of syncing as well as the necessity of users not syncing at the same time because of file use errors.

Is this a reasonable usage of DT Pro?
Do I have the servers/workstations setup properly for my scenario?

Thanks for taking the time to read.

So you are Syncing the 45.7GB database to each machine via a local SyncStore? That’s 137GB of data and seems unnecessary to me. I can’t think of a good reason to duplicate this amount of data at machine level. (You may, and I’d love to hear it if you do.)

I would seriously consider splitting this gargantuan database into smaller more focused databases. Better performance in work and Sync.

Since you’re running OS X Server, have you considered setting up WebDAV for the Syncs, versus the local syncStore? I don’t know of anyone setting up a successful VPN for Sync (based on personal experience with Support Tickets - not saying no one has (or hasn’t :smiley: )).

Thanks for the reply…

My thoughts exactly, seems like a massive amount of duplication. This is one of the reasons for my post. Am I missing something obvious. It appears that DevonThink does not have a “multiuser” file system. Therefore, don’t I have to replicate the data on all machines and thus local sync via my server? Two of the machines are laptops and subject to being disconnected and used out in the wild not connected to the network.

Haven’t tried any WebDav stuff…

I did split up the database a little more, but still has a 40gb file that I don’t really want to split up anymore for logic reasons.


40GB is a lot for a DEVONthink database and performance is going to suffer for one or all users. DEVONthink is not a true multi-user database in the sense that FileMaker on OS X or Access on Windows is. It does not have features like record locking that prevent more than one user changing a document simultaneously.

Does everyone need to have on- or off-line access to this 40GB all the time? In the office and away? When they are away, do they always have Internet access and/or access to your OS X server?

Yes, everyone has to have access all the time to the database, albeit usually in different areas. For example, we have a projects database which one salesman will be maintaining communications, quote letters, pictures, etc. from the project they are working on while another salesman will be working on their project. This data needs to be centralized because occasionally someone else will have to get info out of the project area when the salesman is away.

DevonThink in my usage scenario is a glorified Finder replacement. DT is emulating the original folder hierarchy that was setup on my Windows 2000 Server. I could do the same thing again with Finder on my Mac OSX server, but feel DT is a much nicer way to get around and like the way “new data from templates” work for our work flow. I also like the ability to sync with iOS devices too.

The out of office scenario is currently fairly rare, but have learned painfully from the past to try and build a system with the future in mind…obviously everything going mobile and out of the office.

Thanks again…