Just like buffer files, disk imaging and VMs, file synchronization (sync) is a great way to make sure your computers run smoothly. Syncing can let you boot them up exactly the way you want every time.
When you sync, your master (perfect) snapshot of files gets compared to what is available on a target computer. If any files have changed, they get rewritten (or synced) with the files from the master collection. Nice, quick and easy!
There are many products that use this method to ensure computer availability. The solutions often differ in how they sync the files. As we know, the devil is in the detail.
Some sync files from one hidden partition to another partition. Some sync files with a remote server. Some sync files before a user logs in or the OS even boots up. Some do it at the end of a user session. Some do a combinations of the things described above.
The list of sync benefits is impressive:
– Incremental sync saves time and money
Syncs can be setup to only sync files that need to be replaced or files in a specific area. If changes are small, only a few files will need to be mirrored. The sync will finish in the blink of an eye.
– You pick what you sync
Working with individual files lets you setup rules based on file attributes. This gives you extra flexibility in what syncs and what doesn’t. Maybe you just want to sync your program files, but not the app preferences. Let your users can go to town changing those!
– Big brother sends his regards
Syncs let you setup cool reports on what got replaced, where it happened and for what reason. Some let you keep copies of replaced files for uber-fancy reporting and evidence trail.
– Change is quick.
If you need to tweak your setup, you can apply this tweak to the master you are syncing with. This way you can mirror all of your computers with the fresh tweak right away without touching all those computers one by one.
– Push out new apps faster
Just like applying a system tweak, you can add new programs faster than installing them on each computer separately.
– The truth is out there— multiple versions of it
Some products let you keep multiple versions of the same file, so you can have advanced reporting and troubleshoot any problems, as they arise.