Skinny CaptureOne Pro Backup 

Let's assume you want a cloud backup of your CaptureOne catalog and want to only backup the essentials,  how can you create a "skinny" CaptureOne Pro backup? 

CaptureOne Pro (C1P) catalogs present a kind of dilemma, especially for cloud backup: Catalogs can get quite large and changes occur every time you open them and edit an image,  triggering a whole lot more cloud backup activity.  

As a firm believer in having a backup offsite as part of a "3-2-1" backup strategy, I've been using Crashplan for about a decade now. Yes, I was a bit perturbed when they dumped the "personal plan" ($60/year) in 2017 for the "Small Business" plan ($120/year), but I built up a couple of prepaid years along the way and will stay put with it until I have to re-up and re-evaluate.  

That said,  I dread starting a new 6 TB cloud backup from scratch:  Initial backup time would probably be in "months".  But the purpose here is to avoid backing up unneeded files and the concept applies to Cloud backup or Local backup. 

Let's start...

Starting point: 3 Catalogs and 168 GB of space

I keep my three main catalogs in a single folder on my Mac. The total disk space utilized is about 168 GB. Each catalog is in a package which hides the details, important details.

Note: I work in "referenced" mode and thus my catalogs do not include the raw files.  My raw files are on an external 10TB RAID array and they are backed up via Crashplan separately and also via CarbonCopyCloner to spare local drives. 

A catalog consists primarily of the C1 database and image previews and thumbnails built by C1P.  

To look inside a package on a Mac, simply right click on the package to show its contents....

Inside the package you'll see three folders and a "cocatalogdb" file; that cocatalogdb file is the database that runs the catalog.  

Motto is: Don't backup stuff you can regenerate!

So contained in this catalog package is the "Cache" folder. That folder is used by C1P to store image previews and thumbnails and the previews can be quite large (depending on your Preference setting).  A key point is that both of them can be re-generated at any time in C1P....  and thus there's no need to back them up.  

In case of a restore,  when C1P finds no image previews it will regenerate them (and the thumbnails) as it sees fit and you'll be off and running.  And wouldn't you rather restore a few GB of data rather than hundreds?  

In Crashplan, I simply unchecked the "Cache" folder to tell it to skip over that direct and I'm done. 

How much did I save?

Look below,  within my 'Personal Vol One' catalog, the Cache occupies the bulk of the Package's space.

Notice that the catalog called "Personal Vol One" is 77.83GB

Notice that the "Cache" folder within the "Personal Vol One" catalog is 75.84 GB

What's the end result?

Well, my "Personal Vol One" catalog skinny backup size is only 1.94GB because it's the difference between roughly 77.4GB and 75.5GB; that's a heck of a savings versus the full 77 GB.  

Since I run three catalogs and because the skinny backups are so compact, I decided to also back them up to a cheapo thumb drive. In this case, all three catalogs backed-up in this manner result in only a 5.74 GB of required target space.  

  Again, I cut my backup requirement down from 169 GB down to 6 GB. 

Other Backup tools

Doing this with CarbonCopyCloner (which I use for some local backups) is not as simple as unchecking a checkbox, instead you need to create a "custom filter rule" to exclude the folders inside a package.  This works, but it does not let you do this at backup source selection time.  (the format of the customer filter rule is: *.cocatalog/Cache  Exclude). In essence, this simply tells CCC to avoid the Cache folder.

 I have not researched other tools like GoodSync, SuperDuper, Acronis or ChronoSync etc.;  if you want a Skinny Catalog backup using those tools, then you'll need to confirm if and how they allow it.

Test, Test, Test

It almost goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway.  Any backup plan or process needs to be tested. I've restored "skinny" backups and tested them on my computer and it works perfectly ... for me .... but if you attempt this yourself you should simply restore what's been backed-up to a different local folder, somewhere on your Mac, and prove that you can open the catalog successfully.  

Closing thought

By all means, if you have plenty of disk space and you backup locally, you may or may not need to quicken the catalog backup process.   I think the benefits of skinny catalog backups are more noticeable and thus beneficial in low-bandwidth (cloud backup) situations.  

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