If you missed it, DropBox recently posted a blog post entitled ‘What is file sync”, obviously highlighting their main feature. It is a great post and I would urge you to read it. Reading their post myself got me thinking that the post was as much about what was missing as it was about anything else.
Don’t get me wrong Sync everywhere is a wonderful feature and DropBox probably implements it better than anyone, but in a team environment and in company’s who have masses of structured data, often stored in different stores, sync alone just does not cut it.
- There is simply too much data to sync down to a desktop drive or a mobile device
- In team accounts it gets worse as what ends up happening is a team member can add a very large file to a team folder and it just wipes out laptop space. To prevent this you end up trying to implement smart filters but the reality is you can’t filter everything and you only end up realising you need it once the problem has occurred.
- It can go wrong. I have heard of many horror stories of corporate data continuing to get sync’d to a users device either because of a bug or because an administrator forgot to remove the user from the sync.
- It’s in-efficient. How much data is being synchronised that you really need offline access to rather than on-demand access to? How much corporate bandwidth is that taking up?
So wait a minute, Storage Made Easy does not have sync? Yes, of course we do but we also have the “view” to. We don’t rely on just one way for user to access data, we use a combination of both, and not just for the windows OS either. We provide this for the Mac and Linux operating systems also in the form of Cloud network drives that map back to many data stores. This is not just WebDav, which we have also. It is an installable Drive application that presents as a traditional network drive. An example of this for the Mac OS can be seen below.
Cloud Drive’s also have a big advantage in that users are used to the mapped drive paradigm with their internal file server. Migrating corporate users to a hosted solution (that may well be in their nominated data centre or behind the corporate firewall) becomes painless as when the users turn up on the Monday morning they still see the network drive letter they are used to, except now it points to the data stored on one ore more Cloud Services, but this is seamless to them. One day their data is stored on a windows server, the next day its on Amazon S3 but the users never notice the difference.
The Drives are built upon File System in User Space (FUSE) and they can have a lot of smarts such as caching, hooks into actions such as creation of secure password protected short links, and they can work with common apps such as Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.
Without a doubt Smart sync is the ultimate in having access to what you want when you need it but when you start to deal with large volumes of structured data spread across a variety of enterprise data silos, the view becomes pretty important too !
(More on Enterprise File Share and Sync and and all that stuff at StorageMadeEasy.com)