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We're currently scouting for solutions to a versioning/storage problem for large creative works. The designers themselves seem to want SVN, but this seems like an inappropriate mechanism. Files are expected to be in the 10mb-200mb range, they will be revised several times during the course of a project, then the final copy archived and the revisions erased.

NOTE: We're required to use an external SVN provider for internal reasons, but this will not be the case for a solution other than SVN; we will need a local solution for this.

So, I would like to know, does anyone currently have an internally hosted solution for a creative/design department, and if so, what software/setup are you using?

Thanks guys, Ehtyar.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For a design house, Adobe Version Cue is probably ideal. It is designed to work with version controlling large images.

I'd recommend against SVN (or any other version control system) for large binary files because there is no expire option. Storage can become a fairly big issue unless you very critically manage the repositories so you can remove them / archive them after the projects are finished. SVN will not slow down when the repos is huge (our code one with a few gig commits files as quick as a new one) but they never stop growing.

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I would use Amazon S3 with S3fox.

You can create a container for each of your developer, you can create instant public or password protected download links for your clients.

SVN is almost useless in your case, large files will take ages to put into repository if it won't totally break the whole thing. SVN can store binary but it is not meant to (it can't tell if one pixel is different unlike text files) do that. Since it will try to process and update its database on each commit, it can be errorful. I wouldn't rely on it.

S3 will cost you $1 per 10GB. S3fox is free. Your designers will be happy about it, only thing is that each time they have to rename the file themselves, you can use;


This naming will sort the files nicely (groups it by project, sorts it by date).

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Thanks for your suggestion Devrim +1. Unfortunately, we can't use it. Despite my having my boss proof read my question, it turns out an externally hosted solution is unacceptable due to bandwidth constraints. I'm sorry for the mixup and I really appreciate your response. – Ehtyar Sep 15 '09 at 6:55

As somebody looking for a similar solution for video project files, I agree that SVN isnt really the solution, and I dont think Git is either. Ive been looking at couchDB actually. A UI needs to be coded for it (but can be in Javascript or something) but its a document database so i think conceptually it works better. AND its designed to work with binary blobs. So I think it would be good with performance.

Might be something to think about.

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Thanks for the reply Mark. Unfortunately we don't have the time or resources to develop our own solution, though after checking out CouchDB I certainly see the merit of your suggestion. +1 from me. – Ehtyar Sep 17 '09 at 5:58

for psd's I second the use of version cue. subversion is great, but it has it's own issues with large binary files.

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You could also try Alfresco. Using Adobe Drive 2.2, you can mount the Alfresco DAM in the Finder and right click to show versions, check out and check in files.

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OP is missing an important information, how big are the repos expected to be, i.e. what is the expected size of all files under change control?

Just use Subversion? SVN in the current versions has no problem with large (a few gigabytes) repositories. If needed, you could always split your data over multiple SVN repos / servers. For Windows-based servers, I really like VisualSVN Server.

If you're more or less exclusively using Unix and OS X machines, then take a look at Git. I don't know if it has user-friendly GUIs, shell integration et cetera available on Unix / OS X. What I do know is that Git's underlying versioning and crypto architecture is simple yet very good, so I personally would have no problem entrusting several gigabytes of data to Git.

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Git is not suitable. I tried committing a 1.5GB SQL file to it, then updating it. I had data loss. – dotwaffle Sep 15 '09 at 8:36
@dotwaffle: Good catch. On the other hand, it could be fixed in more recent Git builds, or more likely it could be a platform-specific issue, see – Jesper Mortensen Sep 15 '09 at 10:58

Adobe Version Cue - CS3 works better than CS4 in my experience. I'd love to rave about it, but it has plenty of quirks (server can't be dual homed, serious Bridge CS4/Adobe Drive CS4 issues, performance bugs ...I could go on) - but it's still better than a vanilla SVN repo, and handles thumbnails and previews of both images and videos. Not tried adding a 1gb video to it, but would be interested to hear what your experience was.

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Another one to look into depending on the type of assets is AlienBrain. Like Adobe Version Cue it's made for digital assets and creative workflows and integrates into all the major 2d and 3d applications.

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