Owl’s Head Solutions and Its Virtual Team

Owl's Head Solutions BitTorrent Sync

Scott Rackliff, chief technical officer, shares how Sync’s distributed architecture complements his company’s distributed workforce: 

Owl’s Head Solutions is a branding, design and development company. We take on a broad range of work, from websites that help inform the public in West Africa about Ebola safety, to the print design of rainforest education books.

When we opened Owl’s Head Solutions, we decided to operate as a completely virtual organization. All of the people who work here do so from wherever they please. Employees and contractors have worked from Canada to Taiwan and many points in between.

We found that this freedom of movement created a work environment that is always ripe with new inspiration. Having the ability to “work where you live” rather than “live where you work” allows a change of scenery and creates a company culture that germinates new ideas, perspectives and inspiration in our employees.

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Some of our work (KYNE website, We Are Africa United website, Rodale’s homepage)

However, working virtually is not without its challenges. While there are many robust cloud services available to help us manage staff, time and projects, we found that most of these systems did not offer what we needed. Prices were too high and capacity/capabilities were too low. We needed a solution that allowed us to rapidly transfer the large files needed in design work, without the limitations imposed by the existing file management offerings.

Enter BitTorrent Sync. Owl’s Head Solutions joined the Sync Beta program as soon as we discovered it (our internal lingo for the tool is BTS). The setup was simple and the benefits were immediate. Our ability to share large files rapidly helped us to streamline our processes, allowing us to operate more efficiently and eliminate time waste. As Sync’s beta feature set broadened and its ease of use grew, we found that we could use it for backups as well. We also discovered that if one of our machines were to go offline, the other machines easily picked up the slack. As a result, we don’t grind to a halt if a cloud-based file management service goes down; with Sync, things just keep working. The distributed nature of our company and the product dovetail perfectly together.Owl's Head Solutions BitTorrent SyncOur Sync implementation is designed with 2 servers in different geographic locations, maintaining all company folders. These 2 servers naturally stay synchronized with one another, simply by the nature of the tool. Through Sync, each company user has access to the various folders that they need to do their work and share with others. Some folders are private between just the user and servers for backup, while others are shared across some or all users. Should we experience a failure, we rarely have to worry. Another part of the system can step right in without any interaction from “IT”.

Since version 2.0 of Sync was released, we take full advantage of the complete feature set. On-demand sync helps us work with bandwidth-challenged users. User approvals and folder ownership helps us to keep track of the access that various users have. Large file synchronization works flawlessly.

Sync is a key component that helps a small organization like Owl’s Head Solutions succeed and grow; rapid, efficient and dependable file sharing at a reasonable cost helps give us a competitive edge in our field.

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