While I usually only blog about BizTalk and Windows Azure, for this post I am going for something different. This post is talking about data synchronization between different computers systems; like between a laptop and desktop.
I am sure I am like most readers who have more than one computer at home. I specifically have one main desktop and one main laptop. I use the laptop when I travel and I like to have a lot of data from home with me just in case I need it. This includes about 1 TB of pictures, movies, client data, and other files.
Below I outline two options to help you keep data in sync between multiple systems.
Option 1: Synchronization via the Cloud
Cloud based storage is the new thing. In the past few years numerous services have launched such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive (just to name a few). They offer much more than just storage in the cloud. They offer a whole cloud-based content management system with the ability for collaboration with per user permissions, download links, sharing large files that could not be sent via email, and more.
I currently use Dropbox for syncing frequently used and smaller files. I also use Dropbox for sharing files with Pluralsight, the training company I contract with to create online training courses like "Intro to BizTalk Server 2013 Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) Toolkit". With Dropbox, sharing large files with my editor is as easy as drag and drop into my Dropbox folder.
Pros of using Cloud-based Synchronization:
Option 2: Software synchronization
Software synchronization typically runs on a schedule to either copy all the data from one system to another or do a compare to ensure only new & changed files are copied over.
When looking for the best software for me needs I evaluated several different options I found online. I selected SyncBackFree by 2BrightSparks over 5 years ago and have since upgraded to a paid version. The free version is really free with no ads and packed full of features. Since it is free, it is well worth everyone giving it a try.
They offer two paid versions: SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro. The SE version includes support and the ability to copy open and locked files. The Pro version includes support for syncing with popular cloud platforms and scripting support for custom integration into your workflows. See a complete feature comparison.
I use software synchronization as my primary source of keeping data desktop and laptop data in sync. This is due to the large volume of data I want to have access to both at home and on the road. Plus I would not want client files or code exposed on the internet in the event of a hack on one of the cloud providers. It is now part of my packing routine to run the synchronization program right before I pack up my laptop and first thing when I get home from a trip.
I also use SyncBackPro to sync data between my computer and my network attached storage (NAS) for nightly scheduled backups.
Pros of using Software-based Synchronization:
What type of data sync do you use between systems?
The other option is you can use self-hosted file sharing and sync product like FileCloud (http://www.getfilecloud.com) or owncloud. I would not put them under option 2. It is more like option 1 but hosted by you.
@Steve - that's a great idea and a good option. It seems a little pricy for the home user but something that would be a great alternative to a company using Enterprise Solutions.