Potentially Massive DB Size – Question from a Newbie

So I’m a brand new user (and proud owner!) of DEVONthink Pro Office. I’ve been looking for a document and file management system for the past couple years now, and I’m thinking DTPO can be it. I’m currently an avid Evernote user, but mostly because it’s the best option right underneath DTPO. It’s simple and gets the job done, but doesn’t have a lot of the advanced features like DTPO does.

I’d love to potentially store the entirety of my digital life in DTPO. Whether that’s one database, or multiple (seems to be what I should do,) doesn’t matter to me. I’m a freelance filmmaker and deal with a vast variety of file types of all sizes. I’d love to be able to store my scripts, video files, freelance work/projects, and everything else Evernote stores for me currently. Keeping project receipts, invoices, inspiration boards, etc. would be awesome to have in one place. Evernote supports some of what I’ve stated, but the lack of organization options in Evernote leave me wanting to pull my hair out.

Other things I’d love to store/index:

  • Genealogy documents, photos, videos, etc.
  • Family home videos, journals, photos, etc.

Okay, so here’s my question: Am I over doing it here? Obviously the file sizes on this kind of stuff would be way larger than 1TB or whatever most of the cloud storage options are with DTPO for syncing. Would WebDAV be my only option? Setting up my own server or something? Or can I just index various external hard drives, RAIDs, etc. with projects on them so I can have a searchable index of everything? Am I just completely missing the mark of what DTPO is good at? Is it only for documents? Am I overthinking what this app can do? Does any of what I’m saying make any sense? :wink:

Also, even if I’m syncing with a server that’s large enough to fit the originals of everything, would every computer I sync with have to store that full size of the database? Or could I “selectively sync” certain folders, projects, or files?

Anyway, I’d love to hear any thoughts you seasoned veterans of the software think about my situation.

Note: You cannot selectively sync a database.
Note 2: You can’t index data on a mobile device, in case you’re thinking about mobile.

You need to define what devices you’re using and what you intend to do with them.
Don’t start with “I’ve got all this data to put in a database.” Start with what you need to do on what devices… and build from there.

Realize that creating a database is a very personal thing, as we all think about data organization in our own ways. I advocate smaller, more focused databases in general.

Here is a rare glimpse into my environment…DBs.png
These are always open on my machines, each DB with a specific purpose, even though there would obviously be some overlap in context between them. I also have databases as small as a few megabytes and others that are multi-gigabyte. I open and close them as I need to.

Concerning mobile, don’t fall into the trap of “I can take all my data with me” if you don’t really need to carry or use that data. I don’t carry my financial database with me, even though I could. I doubt anyone will ask me what my electricity bill in January of 2011 was, so why carry it? There’s no point in making a massive database if you are going to try and sync with a mobile device that can’t contain it.

Thanks for the reply and the info, very helpful!

I wouldn’t need to index data on my iPhone, but I’d like to be able to see indexed data that lives on a WebDAV server, and to be able to download as needed (which I believe is possible with DEVONthink on mobile.)

And just to be sure I’m understanding correctly, I cannot have a database synced to my laptop and be able to see the files housed on the aforementioned WebDAV server, without actually downloading them to my hard drive on my laptop?

These are all hypotheticals, of course, and I really appreciate your advice on how to approach using DEVONthink rather than just carrying my data everywhere.

Sorry, just wanted to make sure you saw my question in my last post. Thanks!

Does that question make sense?

First, let’s make sure our terms are correct. “indexing” is not “syncing”. In fact, “indexing” has two meanings in DEVONthink, the second of which we will get to.
Secondly, you cannot use DTTG to “see data that lives on the WebDAV server”. It is not an application for browsing a remote location.

macOS ≠ iOS
DEVONthink on the Mac supports creating links in a database to externally located files, an operation we call “indexing". (This is not supported in DTTG.) As long as the laptop was connected to the WebDAV server, you would have access to the files without having to copy them into the database. But no connection, no files.

Many of our Users who don’t want to carry all their data, create smaller syncing databases for use with mobile.
With DTTG, there is also an option to download metadata only, and download contents on demand.

Gotcha, that makes sense. Thank you for bearing with me and explaining everything! :slight_smile:

You’re welcome. :smiley: