File Server Synchronization with Office 365, SharePoint & OneDrive
Documents on traditional file servers or NAS like department shares or user home
drives can be centrally synchronized with Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint,
OneDrive for Business, Office 365 Groups, or Microsoft Teams using the Layer2 Cloud Connector with very flexible options. The
connector can close many gaps with SharePoint and Office 365 out-of-the-box
document synchronization, e.g. regarding the number of files allowed, file
naming conventions, file types allowed, document set selection, metadata
assignment, central management, logging, alerting, and more. Please take a look
here for more
supported systems and applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box.
Fig.: The Layer2 Cloud Connector can solve many issues that still exist with on-premises to cloud document migration, backup, and synchronization.
When you are moving to the Microsoft Office 365 or SharePoint Online cloud,
there are a lot of reasons to keep your local file servers in sync:
- Be compatible with non cloud-based applications, legacy systems or business processes (e.g. workflows) that require local access.
- Work offline with no restrictions, or in the corporate office with increased performance and without internet bandwidth limitations - but also online while traveling.
- Archive files locally for compliance reasons. Synchronization can provide a local backup of the cloud-based files, you can archive files using common backup tools.
In some cases it could also make sense to backup your local files to the
Microsoft cloud, e.g. to benefit from SharePoint document versioning for
The Layer2 Cloud Connector has
the following advantages compared to Microsoft out-of-the-box offerings:
- Works with any Microsoft cloud service or plan: Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint on-prem and Online, OneDrive for Business, Office 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams, and others. 3rd party services like Google Drive, DropBox, Box.NET, and others can be integrated via local shares.
- Centrally managed server-to-server sync tool - Windows Service, no Office-like end-user client.
- Very flexible sync options like support of local directories, NAS file shares, target library subdirectories, additional no-insert / no-update / no-delete options. Uni- or bi-directional sync. Sync files or just metadata.
- There is no hard limit for the amount of synced files (e.g. 5.000 / 20.000 list view threshold with OOB). But take care about bandwidth limitations, especially for first sync. Only changes are synchronized later on within seconds or very few minutes (depending on amount of changes). Please edit your SharePoint views to still be able to navigate your files: Remove all sorting, filtering, grouping. Also set to flat view in the folder section. You can also make use of SharePoint search or managed metadata to find your files.
- You can keep your existing file server directory structure: No extra OneDrive sync folder required.
- SharePoint file name issues solved (requires V5.2 or higher). Special characters are replaced by default.
- SharePoint file type issues solved (requires V5.2 or higher). Forbidden types are zipped automatically.
- SharePoint empty file issues solved (requires 5.2 or higher).
- Flexible column mapping, e.g. for mapping of file meta data to custom SharePoint list columns.
- SharePoint view support during sync to sync several sources into one library. Include or exclude SharePoint files or folders to / from sync.
- SQL support for file system queries (requires 6.2 or higher). You can e.g. include or exclude specific date ranges (e.g. to sync just new files), specific file types, files with specific names or paths, specific file sizes (e.g. sync just files below 1 GB). See User's Guide for the detailed SQL options and syntax.
- Dynamic Columns to add custom metadata or other content on-the-fly via C#.
- Several different options to solve replication conflicts. General error management.
- Flexible authentication options, e.g. with specific Windows accounts or Windows integrated, Office 365, Active Directory Federated (ADFS), or custom (using the Authentication Construction Kit).
- PowerShell scripting can be applied to automate creation and execution of connections, e.g. for migration of a large user base to OneDrive for Business, or to backup all libraries of a SharePoint site or site collection.
- Advanced logging options via NLOG (e.g.to files, SQL, Windows) including notifications / alerting. Several different log levels.
- File synchronization is just one option. It can sync data and files also SharePoint to SharePoint or with almost any other system or application, e.g. databases.
- Cost effective licensing per installation: No user client access licenses (CALs) required. No volume-related costs. Multiple connections to different teneants, servers, sites, or libraries.