Product Reviews

Seeing Double

PeerSync Pro delivers flexible, real-time file synchronization.

You’re in charge of 15 workstations and one server for a small office and you need to get all the users’ files from their workstations to the server so they can be backed up. What do you do? Some might have the users save their files to a share on the server. Others might write a handful of batch files that copies files to the server (not the most modern solution). Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a simple, fast way to get this done? Well, there is: PeerSync Pro.

PeerSync Pro from Peer Software is a tool that keeps a folder’s contents backed up to another folder. In a nutshell, you use it to define source and target folders, and then configure a synchronization schedule. Once you’ve set up PeerSync Pro, files in the target folder are kept in sync with the files from the source. No more batch files!

PeerSync’s Profiler is the tool you use to set up everything. Here you can configure all aspects of synchronization, including which folders to sync, reporting and error logging. The tool is flexible and easy to use, and it has a multitude of filter options so you can be sure that you’re backing up exactly what you need. Backups can be scheduled to take place at set intervals, at specific times each day or in real time (as soon as you make a change to a file in the source, the change is replicated to the target folder).

PeerSync Pro employs open-file technology so your files can be backed up as you work and your latest backup is no older than your last Save. This is a great feature in the event of a sudden hard-disk failure or some other catastrophic event. Another useful feature is the ability to quick-sync a folder. PeerSync integrates itself into Windows Explorer, allowing you to simply right-click a folder and select “Quick-Sync Folder…” A wizard allows you to configure synchronization.

PeerSync Profile, the component that does the synchronization, can be run several ways. You can launch it manually from within Profiler, run it from the Start Up folder or the system registry, or run it as a service. In most cases, you can (and probably will) set it up to run in the background so users don’t even know it’s there.

PeerSync Profiler allows you to control all the options, filters and synchronization profiles.

PeerSync Pro 7.0
PeerSync Profiler allows you to control all the options, filters and synchronization profiles. (Click image to view larger version.)

You can set up a PeerSync Profile to run as a service, but you may run into a few problems. You can only have one service running per machine. Also, when attempting to configure a second profile to run as a service, it’s easy to accidentally remove the first profile without knowing. In addition, PeerSync lacks the ability to perform two-way synchronization. It would be nice to be able to modify files in either folder and have the files kept in sync.

Despite a few shortcomings, PeerSync Pro is a handy tool in your backup or redundancy scheme. It’s easy to use and, best of all, the file-synchronization is quick. Take it for a test drive.

PeerSync Pro 7.0 is $299 for II (Desktop/Workstation); $499 for III (Server) and $899 for IV (High Volume Server); additional licenses are $125 each.

About the Author

Eric Johnson, SQL Server MVP, is the owner of Consortio Services in Colorado Springs providing IT systems management and technology consulting. He is also the President of the Colorado Springs SQL Server User Group. He can be contacted at www.consortioservices.com.

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