how to share large data files between two offices?

cloud servers
by cote

Question by andrew t: how to share large data files between two offices?
I am an architect and work for an architectural firm – obviously. Our company has two offices, a main office and a satellite office (which is where I work) We are separated by about 600 miles.

We often need people in our home office to work on our projects (all of the engineers are there) and often we help them with theirs. So we need to share project files – CAD drawings, photographs, documents etc.. which can be huge and multiple per project.

Currently our Satellite office uses Remote Desktop to remote into the home office’s main file server and put our files there or take the ones we need from them. I moved a folder of just images this morning that was 850MB and it took literally hours just to make that one transfer which was not even close to the whole project… It’s impossible to keep everyone on the same page this way.

We have always had a problem with sharing data due not only to file sizes and slow transfers but say if I’m working on a drawing and someone in the other office is working on the same drawing. We end up overwrite each others work (which has happened many times and it sucks). Or someone forgets to update the project and the other guy spends hours working on the old out dated version of something.

How do other companies in multiple office situations deal with this type of data sharing? I can’t imagine we’re the only ones in the world who have this need.

I do realize that we could move ALL our data to a cloud somewhere. The problem with that is our home office is royally stuck in their ways and won’t even entertain the idea of cloud storage and giving up their precious archaic file server.. How was this accomplished before there even was a cloud? Is there some way to reliably “Sync” our two file servers?

P.S. Our satellite office only has a DSL connection. There is no cable in our building at all (who in this day and age builds an office building with no access to cable is beyond me!)

Thanks for any advice, sorry about the novel.

Best answer:

Answer by Fred
One possible solution is dropbox. They offer a free and a paid for service depending on how much space you need. Go to for specifics. What it does is create a folder on the computers you install it on. When you move a file to this folder or change a file in the folder, it automatically sync any other computer running dropbox with the same credentials. It also stores a copy on the website which you can log into and download from anywhere. Great program and free or cheap!

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2 thoughts on “how to share large data files between two offices?”

  1. The file server should reside in one location (there should be a redundant server and a good backup system in place). All files and programs would be placed here and everyone would connect to this server, either via Remote Desktop or from the same location. A folder structure should be built to organize all files. The file transfers would be done from a folder in one logical drive to another within the same server. This resolves the issue with file transfers to other folders.

    The quick and dirty for file sharing and collaboration would be to setup folder structures similar to what developers do (Development, QA, Production) and keep files organized based on their development stage. File naming conventions also help differentiate between versions. There is also open source (free) software for version control out there, such as Subversion that could also minimize version control issues.

    The above is a very simplistic approach, but it’s a good place to start.

  2. Have a look at DFS (distributed file system). It’s designed to replicate data to a remote office.
    Also, have a look at certain proxies, which can pre-populate CIFS content (Blue Coat ProxySG comes to mind) to a remote location as well as optimize the protocol.

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