What is file sync?
Short for file synchronization, the term file sync software alternatively falls under the same guise as file and data mirroring, file transfer, replication, and EFSS (otherwise known as enterprise file sync and share).
This blog entry specifically focuses on EFSS enterprise file sync solutions software. Playing an important role in building data integrity and maintaining a smooth workflow, EFSS is used in a wide array of industries ranging from weather to healthcare. Today, EFSS takes the form of software, although some hardware has EFSS builtin. EDpCloud is an example of an EFSS solution. The solutions are best suited for medium to large companies and government agencies. As locations are expanded, more employees and operations rely on different hardware and different operating systems, different public, private or hybrid clouds distributed in space and time. Data needs to be shared and accessed by the various business units of a company and by external customers, partners, and stakeholders. Enterprise file sync, file mirroring, and file sharing software provides a secure and cost-effective way of synchronizing and sharing files between legal data users and owners.
Uses and challenges solved:
File sync solves many challenges. For example:
- Data aggregation: from the edge devices, distributed data centers, a range of platforms and hardware where data is generated or where it is acquired by applications, humans, or devices such as sensors
- Data protection: protect data wherever it resides by replicating it to one or more safe remote sites
- Workflow automation: automate aspects of the business workflow by synchronizing, moving data automatically and by delivering data to applications, and processing it. This also may include invoking applications before data leaves the systems and after it is delivered to one or more systems. This also includes hooks to data ingestion and automated data analytics.
- File and data mirroring: replicate volumes of data and secure copy across dispersed locations
- Sharing application logs for tech support or other uses. For example automatically send data to supporting parties to ensure systems and applications are monitored 24/7.
- Software testing: distribute software builds to multiple machines, nodes/servers via EDpCloud, across dispersed locations
- Secure data delivery and distribution: deliver data on time, share it, and distribute it between multiple locations and workforces no matter where they are located
- Connecting Data, clusters, and nodes: connect dispersed data centers storage and file systems, extend data clusters, and move data from edge nodes to center nodes and vice-versa.
Sync files between one or multiple platforms
Organizations use many platforms. Enterprise file sync solutions software must support multiple platforms and operating systems. Some hardware architectures that can run EFSS software are Mac, Intel, AMD, IBM power, and Sparc. These platforms must be able to replicate data between each other.
Examples of operating systems include the following (but are not limited to them):
- Mac OS
- Solaris Sparc
- Solaris x86
Categories of file synchronization:
Enterprise file synchronization operates in multiple modes:
- Scheduled file synchronization: at specific times or intervals of time, files and data are automatically synchronized with one or more locations
- On-demand: File synchronization is invoked from a command line or other applications as needed to synchronize data with one or more systems and locations
- Real-time file sync and replication: as files change in real-time, data is synchronized automatically with one or more remote systems and sites.
- A combination of on-demand, real-time, and scheduled replication and file sync.
What is synchronized
Within a chosen type of enterprise file synchronization (or series of configurations), data and metadata are synchronized with the remote file receivers and destinations. These are some changes that are replicated along with the file changes:
- Any form of data changes, such as permissions, renaming, and deletions
- Creation of new directories and files
- Changes to permissions
- Deletions (must be configured)
- File renames
- Symbolic links
- Attributes of the specific data
- ACLs (Access Control Lists)
- Owner, group, etc.
- Any operations that mute data or meta data.
File sync and replication configurations:
With real time, scheduled enterprise file sync, on demand replication, EFSS offers flexible topologies to establish the desired synchronization topologies such as:
- One-to-one replication where one system sends data to another system
- Bi-directional file synchronization allows data to be synchronized from one system to another and vice versa, based on a set of policies and rules; this is used to keep two systems in sync with each other. Anything that changes in one is also changed in another, thus creating a file mirroring system
- One-to-many file synchronization: data is synchronized from one system to many systems, therefore, allowing data to be pushed and distributed to multiple systems or geographic locations
- Many-to-one replication: files are synchronized from multiple systems to one
- Multi-way file replication: This is a mesh where data is synchronized from multiple systems to multiple systems
- Cascaded data replication: Data is synchronized from multiple systems to multiple systems, and the latter will also sync it to other systems
- File Synchronization Meshes: Any combinations of the above topologies.
Enterprise file sync and data sharing must ensure:
- Data is encrypted in transit
- Availability of data encryption at rest
- Control and multiple authentications to decide systems allowed to send data
- Control and multiple authentications to decide which systems are allowed to receive data
- Synchronization and filtering policies to control what data is sent and to where and when
- Filtering policies to control which data is received and from where and when.
Factors that have an effect on performance should always be considered, such as:
- Sending only file changes (DELTAS)
- Multiple streams
- Parallel I/O (disk and network)
Workflow and File Sync Solutions
EFSS and enterprise file sync solutions integrate with the workflow to reduce operational costs and to reduce risks. Applications and staff must be able to pause and resume synchronization on demand, from applications or a schedule. Post and pre-scripts can transform data, ingest it before it is sent or after it is received. An example is multiple sites sending logs to remote locations to be processed and analyzed. The same applies to data analytics. Applications must also be able to invoke commands or APIs to replicate certain data.
EDpCloud File Sync:
EDpCloud enterprise file sync solution supports all the criteria above and has an additional rich set of features not described above. With EDpCloud, enterprise data synchronization, migration, aggregation, or distribution efforts have the support they need to succeed, especially when it comes to supporting cross-platform replication, real-time, scheduled, or on-demand replication as needed by many companies these days. Multiple architectures and operating systems are supported. Flexible configurations allow administrators to create an unlimited number of topologies to solve many challenges of concentrated or distributed business operations.
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