Sync / How to change the "master" database location

I have devonthink installed on three macs and two iPads. I sync all devices with ONE Mac over the network (no external sync locations).
My problem: The one “master Mac” is a BackBook Air M2 which I take with me all the time. I have a MacStudio with an M1 Ultra processor, which sits most of the time at home. It SHOULD BECOME the “Database Master”. Currently it also syncs with the MacBook Air.
My question:
How can I re-configure my setup such, that the MacStudio (my most powerful Mac) is the sync master. This means all devices should be configured to sync with this machine instead of the MacBook Air. Do I need to create new database copies or is there any smart way to do it?

I have 5 databases which vary in size between 250 MB to 2 GB and contain between around 300 to several 10000 documents.

And by the way, one of the macs is Intel based and still runs Monterey since I need it for vmware, the others are M2 and M1 with the latest version of MacOSX.

Thanks for any help and hints.

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There is no “master” in a sync: all devices are treated as equals. Otherwise it wouldn’t be sync but propagation. That means that all devices are conceptually always in the same state and have the same data, no need to copy anything manually. As that’s the whole point of sync.

More important: what sync method do you use? Bonjour, WebDAV, anything else?

You could use Bonjour as the sync method,
and configure the MacStudio as the only device accepting Bonjour transactions

The downside is the sync is restricted to the local network;
and Devonthink has to be active on each device

> How to change the “master” database location
I use a sync store as the “master location”
There are alternative locations; I use iCloud(Cloudkit)

It says local network, so no Bonjour. I only sync locally. If I am away with the notebook, no synchronisation is possible with the other two macs except I connect through a VPN (which I sometimes do).

I store almost all of my digital documents for me and my company on devonthink. So I will NEVER use stuff like WebDav, iCloud or even worse professional data collectors like drop box etc.

So if I understand all comments right, I can keep everything as it is.

That’s not an option I see:

Bildschirmfoto 2023-08-14 um 09.19.31

WebDAV is a protocol, not a location. Some people, me included, use a local WebDAV server on a NAS for syncing. Which you can also access via VPN from the outside, if you want to – so not much difference to a “local network” sync.

Local Network will appear in the list when you’ve enabled Bonjour on one of your devices
edit; I think the actual terminology is Bonjour Server and Bonjour Clients

I see. So the OP is using Bonjour though they think they’re not.

Or, Bonjour is set “accept incoming” on one (or erroneously) on more than one device, but not enable to connect on others. Dunno.

Yeah, this is how it looks on the two other Macs:

And on the MacBook Air (Pinklady) incoming connections are allowed for Bonjour (I’m not allowed to post a second screenshot…!)

I develop software myself for almost 30 years, I know what a protocol is… But I am not a Mac dev I do stuff on Linux, the Cloud (docker, kubernetes etc) and databases, e.g. MongoDB, Redis and the like. I use Devonthink just as a simple normal stupid end user, since it helps me a lot to get all the administrative shi… done. And I use Macs because they are UNIX at heart (I use the shell a lot) with a usable UI and a great ecosystem like phone, wearables etc.

I started testing Devonthink on the macbook air, my smallest mac. It is also the box I use for all the admin stuff. Since Devonthink has prooven to be very useful for me I bought more licenses to have the data redundant and everything with me whenever I need it (my office is 99% paperless and for the remaining paper stuff I have a very nice little Fujitsu scanner which integrates perfectly with Devonthink!).

So I just have the impression that the test setup is probably not the best fit for a growing system and therefore it would be better to enter the MacStudio as sync location instead of my MacBook air (see screenshot above). My databases are not yet big but they grow every day. So the MacStudio is probably better suited to handle sync requests from all other devices. It is also up all the time, the MacBook is not…

So it looks like the question remains: Can I change the sync location on all macs to point the the MacStudio? (still using Bonjour) What exactly is a Local Sync Store, could it be an alternative for me?

Simply set one device to “accept incoming connections” and all the others to not do that. That’s all that is to it. And no, you’re still not “pointing a sync location to” anything. We’re not talking client-server here, but sync. That’s the same since the days of PalmOS: all devices talk to each other, and in the end, all have the same data.

So, when you change data on the MacStudio and on the MB Air, the MacStudio will have the changed data from the MB Air and vice versa. Regardless of the fact that the former is the “server” (aka accepting Bonjour connections) and the latter is not.

It is, in fact, completely irrelevant which of your devices is accepting the connections and which ones are not.

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As I think you’ve figured out, local network is Bonjour.

Can I change the sync location on all macs to point the the MacStudio? (still using Bonjour)

If you have the databases you want on all the Macs, yes you can switch the Bonjour server.
Disable incoming connections on the Mac that’s the server now. Then enable incoming connections on the Mac Studio. Remove the old server location – which should now report as offline on the other devices and add the Studio as the sync location. Lastly, enable the databases to sync.

What exactly is a Local Sync Store , could it be an alternative for me?

A local sync store is a special folder of sync data hosted in the filesystem. It’s actually what is used in other sync methods, e.g., Dropbox. Yes, this is a possibility but you’d have to mount the machine/drive hosting the sync store to sync to it.

Help and Manuals

Sync is covered in the Help for each application:

  • For DEVONthink, sync is covered in the Help > Documentation > In & Out > Sync, Preferences > Sync, and Troubleshooting > Sync Issues.
  • For DEVONthink To Go, sync is covered in the ? > Help > Sync your databases section.

Manuals can be downloaded here: Manuals

Also, there are tutorials available on the Mac in DEVONthink’s ​Help > Tutorials​.

Thanks @chrillek and @BLUEFROG, this was basically all I wanted to know.

I year ago when I started with Devonthink I bought a book from Michael Malzahn (in German) and there I found some background info about sync as well.

The move worked just fine.

Thanks again.

You’re very welcome :slight_smile:

This seems to be what I want. Using WebDav protocol, on a local NAS server for syncing. Allow outside access using VPN (likely Tailscape) from other computer seats (each computer would need a seat purchased from DevonThink to allow a full install of DevonThink on that device).

  1. Why are you thinking of going this route?
  2. DEVONthink databases are not made for simultaneous user access, i.e., you cannot have multiple people opening and accessing the same database file.

I have started a thread, where I have stated I have one remote worker, and I would like that worker to have access to DevonThink. And some shared files are accessable for both of us. Example: shared pdf’s in the DevonThink database and markdown documents that refer to these pdf’s.

I can set hours where I work on the markdowns, and then other hours the one remote worker works on it. I want that worker to have access to tidy up my database, follow my instructions and move things, and add tags, etc. When I am not accessing the database. Similar to me using my laptop during certain hours, and my iMac during other hours.

We would advocate using sync and something like a shared Dropbox account to sync between your machines as a simpler approach. I have clients that have been using this effectively for years with remote agents all over.

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prices are quite high

I prefer to use DevonThink and my own servers, or NAS store location, if possible. But, @chrillek has typed that use of Synology NAS as a sync store is not recommended.

No. What @chrillek has said is putting the DEVONthink database (the macOS Package) on a NAS is not recommended. That “non-recommendation” originates from DEVONtechnologies.

Unless you have NAS that operates with the same high performance of a local disk, which is unlikely. NAS with the WebDAV protocol on the local as a sync service works well, based on my experience.

Doing that across the internet with lower network performance, significant network security risk and maintenance burden, multiple “hops”, and all that is not something I tried and I guess would work.

For commercial use, I’d like to think that Dropbox prices are not unreasonable. Just me, though.

The opposite is true: