Cloud syncing

Blog Author: Aaron Smith | June 2nd, 2014

 

Many businesses are taking advantage of the large amounts of storage available via cloud storage services such as OneDrive for Business. However, there can be challenges when it comes to trying to save and sync large amounts of data with the cloud.

The first challenge is getting all your data up to the cloud. The bottleneck in this task is the bandwidth you have to the Internet. Most businesses have an ADSL broadband connection, where that ‘A’ stands for asynchronous. This means that the speed down from the Internet is different from the speed up. Most ADSL is therefore arranged with a much greater down speed than up, because this where the majority of traffic flows. Typical down speeds are 8Mb while up speeds are only 0.6Mb. That is a 10x speed difference.

Down speeds of 8MB are significantly slower that what most people have internally in their networks so attempting to upload large amounts of data can take a very long time. So, with any move to the cloud the first option you need to consider is your bandwidth to the Internet.

Once you have your data in the cloud you will need to access it to work with it. Here again bandwidth becomes a major consideration because typically the document you want to work on has to be downloaded to the application on your desktop. This is fine for small documents or spreadsheets but larger files can take a few minutes to download. This delay can be very frustrating for users who are used to almost instantaneous access when the files are stored locally.

One of the methods that can be used to overcome this delay is to synchronize these files to the local desktop. This means a copy of the files are downloaded and saved on the users machine. The user can then open these files quickly to work on. After they are saved the files are synchronized back to the cloud storage location in the background so that everything has the same version.

This is a great option when used correctly and for a limited number of files. Trying to synchronize gigabytes and gigabytes of data from any cloud storage is fraught with danger. Worst case is a descent into ‘sync hell’ where synchronizing becomes plagued with errors and never completes.

Another overlooked factor is that synchronizing data still consumes bandwidth, and because synchronization tools are typically a single user tool, this means that many common synchronization utilities merely duplicate the same downloads to users within the same the business. For example if there are five users, all using synchronized cloud storage and one user updates a file, that file must travel once up to the cloud and then down four more times to every other use in the business. Again, for small files this isn’t a problem but once the data starts getting large the chances of issues increases.

OneDrive for Business has a unique feature that allows it to only synchronize the changes in Word, Excel and PowerPoint files rather than the whole file. Most other services have to synchronize the whole file no matter how small the changes.

When it comes to moving data to the cloud it is important to understand the changes that could bring, and how to work to ensure you use these services optimally. Used correctly cloud storage services provide significant benefits for any business, however used incorrectly they can impede the way you do business.

Contact Correct Solutions to discuss all your cloud requirements.

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