Product Reviews

PeerSync Automates Replication

Synchronizing on the fly made easy.


PeerSync is a file and folder synchronization program that’s easy to use and completely wizard-based. You tell PeerSync what to synchronize by simply generating filters. I found creating filters to be ridiculously easy. You click on the Add Filter button, walk through a few screens and, voila, instant filters. The first screen asks you what type of filter you want to create. You have a total of 16 filters from which to choose. Even though there are a lot of filters, it’s easy to tell what each filter does. Some of the filters you can create are:

  • Real-Time Replication
  • Real-Time Backup
  • Manual Replication
  • Manual Backup
  • Every minute (or every hour) Replication
  • Every minute (or every hour) Backup

There are two main types of file synchronization filters: replication and backup. Replication keeps the two directories synchronized, and backup copies the data from one directory to another. Both replication and backup can be run in real time, at a set interval or on schedule, however, the schedule feature requires the Server Edition (PeerSync Pro III).

After choosing the filter type, you must choose a source directory and target directory. These directories can be local drives or network drives. You can use drives mapped to a drive letter or universal naming convention names. Lastly, you give the filter a name and save it. It really is that simple. After creating the filter, you can set exceptions not to be synchronized. Exceptions can be based on keywords (using wildcards) or based on file sizes. I find the file size setting to be more useful than the keywords. This way, you can synchronize your server without the fear of choking your network bandwidth by trying to synchronize huge files.

One of the things I like best about this product is the ease of customizing your filter by using the Peer Sync Profiler. It has a similar look and feel to Windows 2000’s administration tools, with a console tree on the left and a details pane on the right. This makes it easy to start using this tool for anyone familiar with Win2K tools.

PeerSync
PeerSync’s interface organizes a large amount of information clearly. (Click image to view larger version.)

You can configure Peer Sync to transfer NTFS file permissions and file compression. Peer Sync has logging built in. It can e-mail you the logs so that you don’t have to go searching for them. Peer Sync will run as a service, allowing it to run invisible to the user.

Peer Sync is a great product for anyone looking for a graphical tool to handle file synchronization. However, you should be aware that most of its functionality can be duplicated by using Robocopy (a command-line tool from the Win2K Resource Kit). If you don’t mind writing a batch file, and you already own the Resource Kit, you can save yourself some money. You can use the Win2K scheduler to automate your Robocopy script. However, if scripting isn’t for you or you want functionality not provided by Robocopy, then Peer Sync would be a handy tool to add to your toolbox.

About the Author

Chad Todd, MCSE, MCT, CNE, is the author of Hack Proofing Windows 2000 Server by Syngress Publishing. He is the co-owner of Training Concepts, which specializes in Windows 2000 and Cisco training.

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