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We have a small remote office that often share data with us. I learned that the data is shared as a email attachment, but that obviously leads to versioning hell and overriding.

I am looking for a way for then to synchronize a folder directly on our main office domain controller.

I personally use LiveMesh, but I would like a tool that is synchronized to our server directly without a 3rd party hosting the data, since we already have an online backup service taking care of the offsite backup.

What enterprise class tool would let us synchronize a folder from a remote computer that is out of our domain, into our the file server of our domain? The synchronization has to be two-way, e.g.: Someone from the remote office will create an invoice. Someone from our office will review it and make modification to it. The remote office need to see the change.

Our server is on Windows 2003.

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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You may have a problem finding an "enterprise" class tool that can gracefully deal with an external machine that's not managed through your enterprise directory.

That said, if a centralized repository and versioning is the most important part, you want a versioning or document control system with the ability to let multiple users collaborate on a document (SharePoint could be an example of this).

Options already mentioned such as robocopy and rsync can do the heavy lifting of getting the data where it needs to be on a schedule but may present their own complexities for versioning between source and destination if both copies of a doc are undergoing changes (as mfinni points out in his comments).

If you could get the infrastructure support at the remote office and get them on the domain, distributed share management (a la) DFS might be workable for your situation but there's the management and infrastructure overhead of getting that office integrated and getting the services up and running.

On the upside, every mentioned in this thread so far can be superior to passing around email attachments.

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If you really do need two-way sync, you probably would do better to put this document/these documents into something like SharePoint, with version history enabled.

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Take a look at rsync.

Another option can be Unison, which support conflict detection, if a file is changed on both sites.

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That won't do two-way sync. If you need two-way sync, you need some method of dealing with conflicts, which usually means making a Conflict folder for a human to sort through. –  mfinni Jun 23 '11 at 15:07
    
Pierre, in his question, says "The synchronization has to be two-way." That generally means that if the file is changed by the head office or the remote office, that change must be replicated to the other site. You could do two rsyncs, one in each direction to overwrite newest - and you would have to have some way of making sure they don't run at the same time - but any conflicting changes are over-written, which is usually not desired when doing document management. –  mfinni Jun 23 '11 at 15:25
    
edited the answer –  Sunny Jun 23 '11 at 16:33
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I wouldn't exactly call it enterprise class, but Robocopy should be up to the job.

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That won't do two-way sync. If you need two-way sync, you need some method of dealing with conflicts, which usually means making a Conflict folder for a human to sort through. –  mfinni Jun 23 '11 at 15:06
    
Oops. Missed the two way sync part of the question. Sorry. –  joeqwerty Jun 23 '11 at 16:19
    
Yeah, he kind of slid the most difficult requirement in as an afterthought. :-) –  mfinni Jun 23 '11 at 16:20
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