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Issue:

The designers at our company need a solution to share and sync a folder containing images and other binary files e.g. photoshop, illustrator, flash files etc..

  • These files may or may not be nested in sub folders
  • The total size of this folder is 8 GB and growing potentially at the rate of 2 GB a year.

Current Solution (Windows Live Sync)

Pros:

  • Transparent: Live Sync works in the background and does not require user input to add files to the tree or commit changes.

Cons:

  • Live Sync has a cap on the number of files within the folder being synced. (20,000 file limit)
  • Live Sync setup is painfully slow as it does not seem to use the LAN during the initial transfer. It took an average 2.5 hours for one Gig of data.

Ideal Solution

We are hoping to get a recommendation on a new syncing/sharing solution that had the following features

  • Synchronization takes place over the LAN, so it is fast.
  • Synchronization is instant and seamless. Simple drag and drop should add files to the shared folder. We do not want to use subversion or rsync that requires users to commit or add files to the folder.
  • The files are binary e.g. psd, ai, fla etc.
  • The solution should support snapshots so that users can revert to an older version.
  • The solution should be Windows 7 compatible
  • It should be a Peer to Peer (no server installation)
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Regarding "It took an average 2.5 hours for one Gig of data." that might be a problem with your firewall. I'm using Windows Live Sync now for two computers on a 100MBps LAN, and it's transferred about 15-20GB using the P2P protocol in less then 2 hours. –  Stefan Lasiewski Jul 13 '10 at 18:15
    
Thanks Stephan, I am sure your comment will prove useful to other Live Sync users. We are currently in the process of migrating to DropBox. –  Sahil Jul 15 '10 at 15:02
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Dropbox seems to fit your needs... the only point that doesn't fit your requirements is that Dropbox first syncs to the cloud and only then syncs on the LAN - they may be changing that though.

It also makes use of delta sync, so only the changes are synced and not the whole file.

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This looks pretty cool. I am going to test it out. –  Sahil Jul 12 '10 at 23:23
    
Thanks the designers seem to like this solution. Much appreciated. –  Sahil Jul 13 '10 at 16:21
    
The only negative aspect is that there is no phone support. I think we may be able to live with that. –  Sahil Jul 13 '10 at 16:21
    
The forums have a number of active users and support staff - take a look @ forum.dropbox.com –  emtunc Jul 13 '10 at 16:36
    
P.S. You may want to have a look at the new .8 builds found on the forums - a lot of code re-hauling has been made since .7 and includes the ability to sync further attributes and meta-data. –  emtunc Jul 13 '10 at 21:44
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Have you looked at DeltaCopy? It's a windows port of rsync, with an easy GUI setup.

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Thanks Cory, This solution may not work for us for the following reasons: 1. Multiple users need to access the same files and make edits to them. How does DeltaCopy deal with conflicts? 2. It requires the users to set up a batch process to sync the files. We need something that is instant. i.e. A user adds the file to the tree and it is shared with the other authorized users immediately. –  Sahil Jul 8 '10 at 22:09
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Why not use a shared drive to store all the data? You can then have the shared drive periodically backed up.

This doesn't solve the potential problem of multiple users editing the same files, but how large of a problem is that truly going to be?

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Thanks Tyler, We struggled with the idea of mapping a network drive. We just thought that there may be a more robust solution for this out there, particularly since we may not have considered all the worst case scenarios. Lets assume simultaneous edits or conflicts was not an issue, we would still have the issue of making sure that the scheduled back up was working properly and have a way to monitor it. Thanks for pointing me in this direction though, I will give it some deeper thought. –  Sahil Jul 9 '10 at 22:18
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Unison might work, I believe it meets all your criteria.

It can work peer-to-peer, but if this is for more than 2 users it'll be easier to have a central location to sync to.

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