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Rsync has arrived

Jan 23, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

* Open source archiving tool ready for NetWare

Early in December I mentioned that Novell has ported the open source rsync utility to NetWare and included it in the new Branch Office solution. At that time, I said that rsync itself would be a good addition to any campuswide or wider network and that, since it was open source, we could expect it to be shortly released for download. “Shortly” turned out to be a bit longer than I thought.

But it’s the final result that matters, isn’t it?  Rsync is now available for download from Novell’s Developer’s Leading Edge Web site (, it’s Leading Edge 188) and will soon (perhaps before you read this) also be available from and other open source repositories.

Rsync for NetWare is intended as an archiving tool. It is used to send changes to server-based files across the WAN quickly, quietly and automatically to a centralized location where the file system can be archived. It can also be used, if needed, to restore files that become damaged or “lost.”  You know about “lost” files, don’t you? The user on the other end of your phone assures you that the file was in his folder yesterday, but it’s not there today. I sometimes think they believe that the file got up and walked off. Or was misplaced (like a set of car keys). Usually, the user simply moved it (either inadvertently or otherwise) or deleted it. Rsync can help you get it back where it “belongs,” even across many miles of public Internet.

Rsync, though, can be useful for a lot more than the mind-numbing business of archiving. There are probably many files in your system that are needed by everyone – or at least by a group of people who are widely dispersed geographically. The files I’m thinking of are also the kind that get updated periodically (sometimes very frequently) and the users always need to have access to the very latest version (think of salespeople and pricelists).

You can automate an e-mail message whenever a change is made. Or you can insist that everyone attach to a single server containing the single copy of the updated file. But how much easier would it be to distribute that file to a server physically and logically (i.e., inside their firewall) close to the users who need it? Even better, what about simply sending the changes to the various servers across the WAN? That’s called file synchronization and that’s what rsync is really all about.

What iFolder does for the individual user (keeps important files synchronized among the various platforms the user makes use of) rsync does for the group or the enterprise. If you have more than a single server room – or even if you have one room but lots and lots of servers – rsync could be a useful tool for you. A free useful tool. Check it out today.