Building a private file sync cloud

I have been looking for the perfect file sync tool for a while now and I wanted to share my experiences. They will hopefully be usefull for someone…

What about Dropbox

Dropbox… For many people, it is one of the best. But for me, there is one thing which is a showstopper : why the hell do you need to reorganize your data to sync with Dropbox ? Why can’t you just say “ok, I would like to sync c:\myshareddata and c:\myprivatedata… and… c:\mymedia\myphotos”.

No… you are REQUIRED to put everything in whatever unique directory or share your all C: drive !

So I found Wuala…

Nice little java GUI, where you can select any existing directory. No need to move your files around. You can sync multiple computers. Wuala provide both sync and backup features, file versionning… In addition, It is base in Swisszerland so if you are allergic to store your private data in the US, it is a nice solution.

A bit expensive though and if you get an issue… don’t ask for help ! I did get a memory leak on Windows 8. And after I sent an email to the support, they did send me immediately a small patch… which did not solve the problem. Without looking further (they did not ask for any log files, diag informations whatsoever) they just said “Ok, it does not work, we’ll reimbourse you”…

Ok… that could mean one thing from my point of view : they really don’t give a sh… about their customer (and can afford reimboursing them) because the service will not last long…

And no client for my NAS…

I’ll eventually gave up, get my money back, and start looking for a new solution.

A quite original solution : “lend” you free disk space

ON my Synology NAS, I also found another Cloud Sync tool : Symform. It is a a real “Cloud” storage in that it is storing data on many customer PCs : you actually “lending” your own disk space for storing other customer data and get cloud storage space in return. You actually give twice as much as you get but I find this a very good idea.

I tried it on my PC for a while and it worked quite well. I then decided to install it on my NAS but, I don’t know why, upload time became soooooo looooonnnnng I just gave up. I think I will try this again when I get FTTH connection.

What about not using a public cloud service

I got a nice Synlogy NAS (a DS411) and I wondered : “Why can’t I make my own sync cloud ?”.

The first I tried was Synology own Cloud solution : Sync Station. But it is not build for high volumes. When I started the sync, 10 Gb of data became… 20 Gb because of the way the tool is backuping old version… even on first sync ! Silly… But I must admit I tried a while ago and they may have made some progress.

And then came Bittorrent Sync…

I discovered BT Sync a while ago as they were still at version 1.3. A very nice sync tools making used of Bittorrent protocol and allowing sync of multiple hosts in a quite simple way.

I did sync all my photos and music between my home PC and my NAS and it worked quite well. I also sync’ed my personnal file between my home PC, my NAS and my laptop. And finally, I convinced on of my coworkers to install it so we can easily share files.

Worked for a while… then, you don’t know while, it just get stuck at some point. You remove a partially sync file (you need to enable debugging to identify the file) and then, it restart.

I had a few corrupted file also. I was able to get a backup from the BT Sync trash… on another machine. BT Sync team, if you read this : why, when I delete a file locally, it does not got to local trash but only to remote trash ?

1.4 version, which is quite recent, brought a much nicer UI. You can easily share files…

2014-09-13 00_06_46-BitTorrent Sync

And I was hoping a bit more reliabilty. Alas… Still get sync hanging for no apparent reason, but in addition, BT Sync tends to lock the files which are open in MS Office… which then you can’t save !

And right now, while I am writing this post, my NAS and home PC are both saying “OK, everything is now in sync” but my laptop is still pretending there is more than 1 Gb of files to sync…

How can you trust this…

Will the next solution be the good one

And while I was looking for some tips and trick about BT Sync and find solutions to my problems, I found a new sync tool, thank to this post : SyncThings. It seems that since Korben published this, they have made some progress and it looks like quite promising.

2014-09-13 00_12_53-Syncthing _ PCJS

Another important point : it is Open Source.

So I’ll try that and hopefully, it will cover my needs !