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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cloud Drive, Or Full Sync

For cloud storage solutions, there are two big camps, one is the synchronization based solution, for example Google Drive, Sky Drive, Dropbox and SugarSync; and the other is drive letter based solution, such as Gladinet.

With synchronization based solution, basically every single file is replicated and synchronized to all the devices as local folders for the devices that require access.

With drive letter based solution, the cloud storage is presented to the user as an external drive , with a drive letter inside Windows Explorer or Mac Finder.  Only the folder structure and small amount of data such as file size, date and time are downloaded. The real file is not downloaded until it is used (for example, the user double click on a file to generate editing request). 

There may be a third variation that combines the drive and sync together. For example, the drive letter is the main access method, and also allow local folders to be synchronized to the cloud.

So when you need a drive based solution, instead of full synchronization based solution.

The answer basically is: If you have big amount of data, you will prefer a drive based solution. Let me explain …

The Use Case

There is an interesting customer use case shows the selection process.

The customer is a tax preparation company. Their customers will upload tax related documents to a FTP server and the customers’ documents will be routed to a specific tax professional in the company for work. After the work is completed, the finished tax document is saved back to the FTP server for customers to download. The FTP server has over 1T of storage. 

The Problem of Full Sync

They have tried a full sync based solution, but the problem is that the FTP server’s content, which is well over 1TB, got synced everywhere to the 30 some employees desktop and laptops. Most of the desktops or laptops are equipped with a hard drive smaller than 1TB. After a while, nobody can save anything any more.

Gladinet Solution

With Gladinet, they can install the Gladinet Cloud Server on the FTP server, attaching the FTP server’s content to the cloud, so over 1TB data will be in sync with cloud. After that, each employee can connect to the data as a mapped drive using a Gladinet desktop client. After the documents are modified and saved, it is saved not only to the cloud, but also to the original FTP Server.

Conclusion

Basically the size of the data set is the determining factor. If your data set size is < 50% of your laptop disk size, sync is fine. Over that, cloud drive solution shall be the way to go.

Next Step

Go to www.gladinet.com and sign up for a Gladinet Team account to try it yourself.

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