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My users keep asking for the ability to have a local copy of our equipment pictures on their laptops. There is currently 5.2GB of data in that folder and it will continue to grow slowly over time. There is some chance that I will be able to reduce the amount of data in that folder but most likely any change I make will be insignificant since most of that 5GB is legitimate and needed.

I think I do have several options:

1) I could use a folder on our website to handle the synchronized files. Something on our server or a local computer on the network would keep the pictures folder synchronized with the pictures folder on our web server. Client laptop computers would then have to have some time of synchronization software on their local machine to keep the laptop synchronized with the folder on the web server.

2) I can tell employees that this synchronization can only be done when they are on the local network so that it will not use our Internet connection. This is not the best option since it wouldn't help anyone who is on the road which happens occasionally. It would also force employees to be more diligent about bringing in their laptops to perform the updates.

The laptops will really just be "subscribers" (to use some MS SQL Server terminology). The server or a local machine on our network would be the "publisher" since it needs to push out the additions, changes such as deletions, file renames, resized pictures, etc. The laptops will not need to "push" changes back to the server and in fact, we will probably want to prevent the laptops from pushing back changes in case someone inadvertently deletes a bunch of pictures or, worse yet, the entire folder.

What method would you suggest I use? What software would you recommend?

Our server is an SBS 2008 server and most of our workstation are XP. More and more of our workstations and laptops are now running Windows 7 but not all of them.

Our Internet connection at the Server site is not very strong. It's stable but it is currently only a 1.5mbps/512mbps DSL connection. We are planning to upgrade to a total of four of these DSL connections and we'll be using a SonicWall router/firewall for Load Balancing.

I do program in MS Access/VB6/VBScript/ASP/VB.Net so I could probably write software to do this. However, I don't want to reinvent the wheel if something already exists to handle this.

Using SQL Server in some way to accomplish this might be an option, although, at this point we are not using SQL Server.

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3 Answers 3

Have you considered dropbox?

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If these computers are part of the domain, you could use the "Administratively assigned offline files" setting in group policy to assign that folder to be synchronized.

Otherwise, you could use robocopy with the /xo /mir switches to copy new pictures down and delete pictures that no longer exist.

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You can try out the open source 'Gallery' software which can be used through an internal network by hosting it on an internal server

http://gallery.menalto.com/

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