Oh, good grief Microsoft! I am such a champion for what you do, that it really pains me to write this…but I must.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon a rather unknown file synchronization service: Foldershare.com. Now, when I found this service, I didn’t think much about it, but I desperately needed something that just worked and the service was free, so I decided to give it a try.
To say that I am a power user is quite the understatement. I do own a laptop, but I really need the power and versatility that a desktop PC gives me. So, I have a three machines that I use regularly (work desktop, work/personal laptop, home desktop.) Plus, at times, I work on one of our servers directly (various reasons), and I need certain documents and files to be replicated across all of these machines, and I need this done without any maintenance on my part (WAY too busy for that.) Also, I need off-site backup (off-site of my home), and so replicating this data to three machines (actually, 4 machines, if you include my media PC at home), provides me me with a certain degree of confidence that my data is available in case of a disaster.
Well, Foldershare came through with flying colors. It was awesome. The key word in that last sentence….WAS. I used it for about 3 years and the service worked almost flawlessly. The application itself used very little resources on all of my machines. From time to time the network utilization as a little high for what was being transferred, but only on my home network (smaller pipe than work), but it was easy to work around.
Well, this blessed service is no more. Microsoft has done it again. They have taken a great product, and turned it into a big, steaming pile of beetle dung (no offense to John, Paul, George, or Ringo.) A few months ago, the Redmond giant released the current iteration of what was once something that I relied on for keeping my information current across all of my environments…Windows Live Mesh. Should be named Dead Mess. Ok, that’s stupid, but my point is that it’s over. What a sweet romance it has been (I seem to really like relationship metaphors), but divorce proceedings are in the works. It’s slow, uses TONS of resources (doing who knows what), it does not have as many features as Foldershare and it’s buggy (the GUI shows that I have a ton of files that are perpetually out of sync, not real or relevant files, but it’s still annoying.)
On to the next one, so it seems. Unfortunately, all of the current products out there are mainly online backup services, and so their cost is fairly high. I don’t need online backup (that aspect is satisfied by multi-site syncing.) One of the great things about Foldershare / Live Mesh is that there is no size limit, only a file count limit….seriously, NO SIZE LIMIT. it uses P2P syncing, so the only restricting is 20,000 files and 20 folders. I can sync 1TB of data, as long as it doesn’t go over 400,000 files. Still, it does not look like I have choice. I would sure like to hear of good alternative, if someone knows of one, comment below or email. Most likely I will go with SugarSync. I use that service already for just a small amount of files, because they have an iPhone app (which works pretty darn well.)
I would pay for Live Mesh if you would fix it…but I doubt you will…meh.