Here in series of Reboot to Restore, I am writing on Downsides Of File Synchronization. Just like any other solution (eg. buffer files, disk imaging and VMs), syncing has benefits to a complex problem, but also has a number of tradeoffs. Here is a list of disadvantages.
– Bandwidth is a killer
If you are syncing a computer with a server, you need to make sure you have lots of bandwidth. Syncing need lots, so you might want to make sure that your network gear is up to the test and can handle the load of multiple computers requesting file syncs at the same time. See if you can compress the data that is being sent over your network.
– Guard that traffic in progress
If you are syncing your computers over the web, you not only need to make sure the pipe is big enough, but that you have security in place to keep your data safe. Encryption can help here.
– Connection loss is a big problem
If you rely on a network based sync, a creative user can pull the network cable on a computer, so be prepared for this. Check for other ways to make sure the computer is managed properly—even if it’s taken offline.
– One or six nines availability?
In order to be able to rely on a network based sync, you need to make sure your network is available when you need it. Are you going to be fine with a 90% availability, or six nines (99.9999%)? The answer is yours. The costs of gettign higher levels of availability might be huge.
– Files in use tend not to cooperate
Whenever we work with files, access right problems arise. If a file is locked by a user or a system, it might not get synced properly, creating all sorts of problems with syncs down the road.
– Third-party apps can get unhappy
Not all programs are created equal, neither are they all written according to the same textbook and set of rules. While some apps store information in a fixed spot, others save it wherever they please and often require different user rights in order to touch anything “under the hood”. What looks like a gas turbine for one program can turn out to be an ancient carburetor for another. Whenever syncing, keep in mind that you might run into problems syncing specific application data. Compatibility has very risks here.
Next up in the reboot to restore series – block level protection.