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How To Synchronize Files Using a Cloud-Based Intermediary

1. INTRODUCTION

2. CLOUD SERVICE SETUP

3. CREATE THE FIRST SYNCHRONIZER DOCUMENT

4. SYNCHRONIZE DELETIONS

5. RUN THE SYNCHRONIZATION

6. CREATE AND RUN THE SECOND SYNCHRONIZER DOCUMENT

7. TYPICAL WORKFLOW

8. POTENTIAL PITFALLS

CONFLICTS

9. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG

CHRONOSYNC HELP

GUIDES

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

1. INTRODUCTION [top]

ChronoSync can easily be configured to perform bidirectional synchronization between two computers that have a direct or network connection between them. But what if the two computers are not in the same physical location and there is no network connection available to synchronize them? The solution is to synchronize with an intermediary. An intermediary simply refers to a common location to which both computers have access. This guide explains how using the cloud as an intermediary can be accomplished.

2. CLOUD SERVICE SETUP [top]

This guide will not go into detail on how to set up a cloud storage service. We have specific guides that explain these steps: Amazon S3 Storage, Google Cloud Storage and Backblaze B2. In addition to setting up a cloud intermediary, you may also use a device intermediary such as portable hard drives, thumb drives, or even an iPhone. Check out the 'Synchronizing Files Using an Intermediary' guide; the process will be nearly identical.

3. CREATE THE FIRST SYNCHRONIZER DOCUMENT [top]

In this guide, we're dealing with two hypothetical Mac computers, "Computer A" and "Computer B". These computers are not connected in any way and in fact may be separated by a great distance. Hence the need to synchronize via an intermediary. As part of the process, we will create a synchronizer document on each computer. This step deals with creating the first synchronizer document on "Computer A."

Begin by launching ChronoSync and, when the Document Organizer window appears, click "Create a new synchronizer document."

Supply a meaningful filename

A new synchronizer document window will appear and you will be asked to supply a name. Supply something meaningful that describes the task such as "Sync with Cloud as Intermediary."

Name your sync document

Now you are ready to configure the synchronizer document to synchronize with the intermediary. The first step is to choose the "Synchronize Bidirectional" operation:

Sync Bidirectional

A "Synchronize Bidirectional" operation signifies that we will merge the files on the left target with the files on the right target. The end result is an identical set of files in both targets. Once configured and run, any modified files on the left target will get copied to the right target and vice versa. Logically, the next step is to specify what the left and right targets are. We do this by first clicking "Choose…" in the "Left Target" pane.

Choose left target

Here we are choosing the folder on "Computer A" that we would like to synchronize with the intermediary and, ultimately, "Computer B." The next step is to specify the right target, which will reside on the cloud service you choose to use.

Note: Before choosing this target, you must create a Connection Profile for the cloud storage service. Consult the above-mentioned cloud guides to learn how this is done.

Choose right target

Your synchronizer document's targets should now look like this:

Completed sync doc setup

The basic synchronizer document configuration is complete and ready to run!

4. SYNCHRONIZE DELETIONS [top]

Everything is set to go at this point and you certainly may proceed to run your initial bidirectional synchronization. However, you may want to consider synchronizing deletions.

When enabled, this option will detect a deleted file on one side of the sync and perform the deletion on the opposing side. This is what you should choose if you truly want to keep both sets of files identical to each other. If enabled, however, we recommend keeping the default "Move to Archive" option under the "When deleting files" heading ONLY on the non-cloud target. Archiving creates a special folder where older versions of files and folders are retained. The overhead of moving items to the archive and managing the archive in the cloud can be a slow operation and will adversely affect performance. Disabling archiving is recommended when syncing to cloud services.

Synchronize Deletions

5. RUN THE SYNCHRONIZATION [top]

At this point, all your synchronizer document settings have been specified and the desired options chosen. You are now ready to run the synchronizer document! To do this, click the "Synchronize" button in the toolbar, or click the big circular button beneath the "Operation" popup menu in the Setup Panel.

Sync your files

After a brief pause, a progress sheet window will drop down showing the progress of the bidirectional synchronization:

Sync progress

The first bidirectional synchronization operation that you run will take the longest time. After that, only modified files will have to be copied so it will run much quicker.

When complete, you may close the synchronizer document. You are now ready to set up "Computer B" to perform the next step.

6. CREATE AND RUN THE SECOND SYNCHRONIZER DOCUMENT [top]

Now that you have completed the initial bidirectional synchronization with the intermediary, it's time to transport the data from the intermediary to "Computer B" and create another synchronizer document. This second document will synchronize the folder on the cloud intermediary with the local hard drive of "Computer B." The steps required to create this synchronizer document are nearly identical to those presented in CREATE THE FIRST SYNCHRONIZER DOCUMENT, with the following notes and exceptions:

  • When naming the synchronizer document, you can choose the same name you specified on "Computer A." Since they are different computers, there is no problem choosing the same name. Or you can choose whatever other name you'd like.
  • You do not need to create a folder or bucket on the cloud intermediary since you already did that. However, if you don't already have a folder on "Computer B" that you want to synchronize with, you will need to create it.

When the second synchronizer document has been created, you can go ahead and run it. All the documents on the intermediary will be synchronized with the local folder on "Computer B."

7. TYPICAL WORKFLOW [top]

Once everything is configured, here is the typical workflow you would follow if you were synching a Mac at home ("Computer A") with a Mac at work ("Computer B"):

  • Right before you leave work, run the "Sync with Intermediary" synchronizer document. This will sync all your work changes to the cloud intermediary.
  • When you get home, run the "Sync with Intermediary" synchronizer document. This will sync your cloud intermediary to your home computer.
  • Do your work at home.
  • When getting ready to leave home, run the "Sync with Intermediary" synchronizer document to sync any changes made at home to the cloud.
  • When you get to work, run the "Sync with Intermediary" synchronizer document to sync from the cloud to your work computer.
  • Do your work.
  • When getting ready to leave work, repeat this process from the beginning.

8. POTENTIAL PITFALLS [top]

CONFLICTS [top]

Make sure to always synchronize each time you switch over to the other computer. If you fail to do this, conflicts may arise. A conflict is when the same file has changed on both computers. Since you have to choose between one file or the other, you would lose the changes made to one of the files. If a conflict does arise, then choose the file from the computer you last used. Enabling "Archive replaced files" is a good safety net in case you choose the wrong file when resolving a conflict.

9. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG [top]

For most people, the above steps will work flawlessly for creating and running syncs using the cloud as an intermediary. However, we live in an imperfect world and sometimes things just don't work out as expected. If you encounter any problems following this tutorial, here's some tips that may help you get back on track:

CHRONOSYNC HELP [top]

From the "Help" menu in ChronoSync, you can try some of the following search terms (minus the quotes):

"Bidirectional"
"Cloud"
"Amazon"/"Google"/"Backblaze"
"Conflicts"

GUIDES [top]

We have several guides that can help you with syncing to a cloud intermediary.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT [top]

Contact our technical support team and just ask! We don’t mind — we're here to help!