Going Deeper with SugarSync


So as the readers know, I've been obsessing over synchronizing files lately. I had a pretty good solution figured out using my .Mac iDisk and even made a nifty little Applescript to deal with that pesky Bento.

For the last week however, I've been trying a new online synching service called SugarSync. I've even been talking about it on some of the various podcasts. SugarSync gives you a local client (either PC or Mac) in which you plug in your account information and tell it what data gets Synched. I've got big chunks of my Documents folder going up along with my OmniFocus datafile, Bento database, and several other items I want to have everywhere. I then log in on the other computers and tell them what parts I want synched locally (you can also leave them in the cloud). Once that is done, you are good to go. If I make a change to that little text file that keeps my grocery list, it goes up to SugarSync and then back down to my other Synched computers lickity split. I even have the PC version loaded at work and keep some of my forms synched. I haven't got to the point where I feel comfortable sending client files up into the interweb.

In summary SugarSync does a few things the iDisk solution doesn't:

1. It is faster, much faster.

My iDisk solution involved a second step that included a Chronosync pass. Put simply I was afraid that if the iDisk went nuclear, so would my data. With SugarSync it is not necessary to add that extra step but even if I skipped that and just used the iDisk solution, it still can't keep up with SugarSync. I can close out OmniFocus and then walk ten feet to the other computer and open OmniFocus. By that time it will have already grabbed the database file from SugarSync.

2. It is Multiplatform.

The PC Sync works. This makes it really easy for keeping things working between the Mac and PC. My PC sync is very limited but it works just fine.

3. It works on your Phone.

They have Windows mobile and Blackberry software. They also have an iPhone friendly site that allows you to see all of your files. You can access some of the files directly and email just about all of them from your iPhone.

My Concerns

SugarSync has some nice benefits but comes at a price. The revised pricing plan is 30 gigs for $5 a month. The price just doesn't come from your wallet. It also costs a few clock cycles. As I sit here working on my MacBook Air with 7 applications open, SugarSync is using .1%. I've seen it higher though. Earlier it was at 7% and when it is actually syncing it ramps up higher.

SugarSync Idle.png

My other two big concerns are security and reliability. The developer explains that the transmissions are all done on a secure connection and the data is also kept secure on the SugarSync servers. I need to investigate further to see exactly what that means. I frankly don't care if someone figures out how to access my grocery list or MacSparky ramblings. Client documents are, obviously, a different question.

Likewise stability is critical. Last week David Pogue and Walt Mossberg gave SugarSync positive reviews and their servers were understandably slammed. Regardless the system was down so it was pretty much useless for a day. If that trend were to continue, I'd lose interest pretty quickly. They have a free 45 trial so if you are interested, head over and try for yourself.