The Perfect PeerSync Alternative

We’ve heard from Peer Software customers that Peer Software discontinued PeerSync.  Going to Peer Software’s website, they are now only offering PeerSync migration services.  So this is the perfect time to test drive Resilio Connect: the perfect PeerSync alternative.  

Peer Software has been pushing their PeerSync customers to migrate to PeerGFS. If your company is on PeerSync and considering PeerGFS, we encourage you to also take a look at Resilio Connect.  Moving to Resilio Connect from PeerSync is straightforward and provides a superior, price-competitive alternative to PeerGFS, for most use cases.

This blog compares and contrasts some of the key capabilities offered by Peer Software in PeerGFS and Resilio Connect.  Of course, we’ve done our best to be objective as we highlighted the key differentiators of Resilio Connect.

PeerSync EOL, Not Forgotten

It’s sad to see PeerSync go but it’s time may be long overdue. Like rsync for Windows, PeerSync was designed for the data sets of the mid 90’s, being launched in 1995.  PeerSync, like all of Peer Software’s products, only runs on Windows.  Windows is then used to mount direct- or SAN-attached storage.  Automation is likely the top PeerSync feature.  PeerSync automatically synchronizes multiple directories and sub-directories. Like many file synchronization software products, users set source and target folders.   PeerSync replicates files by checking the time stamp on each file.  For basic file synchronization on Windows, PeerSync worked pretty well.  Files and folders managed by PeerSync can be included or excluded using regex; wild cards and other expressions.  Files can be also be excluded by date and size.  PeerSync also supported real-time source folder monitoring to pick up and sync changes to files and folders. Some basic reporting and management was also supported. 

PeerSync Alternative to PeerGFS: Resilio Connect

At first glance, Resilio Connect and PeerGFS from Peer Software, Inc., seem like similar products.  But if you dig a little, peel back the UI and web site marketing, you’ll see both companies and products are in fact quite different.

Both companies offer software-only agent-based solutions with centralized management. Both companies support distribution, ingest, and “real-time synchronization”. Both companies claim to work with existing file servers, storage environments, and cloud environments. And both companies support using cloud storage for cloud backup, online backup and business continuity.

Well, actually, PeerGFS only supports Windows. Resilio supports running agents on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, BSD, and some NAS operating systems.  Architecturally, the approaches between PeerSoftware PeerGFS and Resilio Connect are fundamentally different.

Resilio Connect distinguishes itself from PeerGFS in a number of ways, including:  

  • Peer-to-Peer (P2P) vs Point-to-Point architecture.  Resilio Connect is based on a peer-to-peer architecture.  Peer Software (somewhat ironically, considering the name) employs a “point-to-point” architecture.  Resilio excels in reliably scaling out data movement at network speeds, by utilizing all agents participating in a file replication job such as file synchronization. Connect combines peer-to-peer and WAN optimized protocols and splits files into blocks and sends them concurrently and independently to several destinations. This P2P architecture utilizes network capacity among all machines (agents) into a single meshed network, which is significantly faster than PeerGFS. Simply increasing the transfer speed leads to faster delivery of the files.
  • No Lock vs Global File Lock:  Resilio Connect does not interfere with file locking.  File locking, in the Resilio model, is provided by the application and/or operating system being deployed by the customer.  PeerGFS provides a proprietary file locking capability built in to PeerGFS (the successor to its PeerLock product).   Depending on the use case, customers should consider the consequences of deploying a file locking solution on top of their diversity of applications, operating systems, and use cases.  Proceed with caution.  Resilio encourages customers to thoroughly evaluate any file locking software or SaaS (provided by Peer Software or another Global File System vendor such as Nasuni, Panzura, LucidLink, or Ctera) in an extended POC.    
  • Resilio offers native LAN and WAN Optimization modules for both TCP and UDP to ensure predictable multi-site data replication and synchronization performance for all file data over any local network or wide area networks, irrespective of latency, bandwidth, or distance.  This comes in handy both when using unreliable networks (VSAT, LTE/5G, WiFI) and scaling to support high-speed networks such as 1-10Gbps and even 100Gpbs networks.
  • Automation. Both vendors offer some level of automation.  Resilio enables automation for all jobs (distribution/replication, ingest/consolidation, and synchronization). In the case of Resilio, automation can be configured in the UI, scripted, or managed through a well documented API.  
  • Synchronization flexibility – uni- , bi- , and multi-directional n-way or full mesh.  Resilio is the hands-down winner here. This flexibility is especially useful in multi-site server-to-server replication (or high speed intra-site sync) where all agents are able to participate in data movement.  This flexibility combined with P2P performance, proves exceptionally beneficial in high speed server to server synchronization, multi-site distribution, and other use cases requiring scale-out file synchronization or supporting unique synchronization requirements.  
  • Real-time synchronization performance support for numerous operating system platforms (Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Linux, and strategic Resilio NAS partners).   Real-time means immediately replicating changed data, automatically.  Both companies support diverse storage environments yet Resilio Connect runs native on popular NAS vendors, Windows, Apple Mac, Android, and other Linux and even BSD variants.  
  • Hardware- and OS-Independent Architecture. PeerGFS only supports hardware that runs Windows–or is mounted by a Windows server. Resilio supports a diversity of operating systems natively (as stated above); as well as the same servers, storage, desktops, and edge devices your company already owns and operates.  Any storage type is supported (Dell EMC, NetApp, Nutanix, IBM, HPE, et al.)
  • DFSR Replacement.  Resilio is arguably a superior DFSR alternative.  Like PeerGFS, Resilio Connect is a good alterative to DFSR for DFSN.  What differentiates Resilio Connect from PeerGFS is Resilio’s Peer-to-Peer (P2P) architecture combined with turnkey network optimization, automation, centralized monitoring, and N-way synchronization flexibility.  In multi-site or wide area network deployments, for example, Resilio ensures files can always be replicated at predictable rates no matter the bandwidth; data is hashed across all agents participating in the replication, synchronization, consolidation, etc.  
  • Turnkey multi-cloud provider support for file management across Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google GCP, Wasabi, Backblaze, among others.  Resilio’s support for a diversity of cloud file and object storage out-of-the-box is unprecedented.  Resilio agents (running an any number of devices and operating systems) can efficiently transfer files into and out of any supported cloud vendor. Conversely, a Resilio Connect Storage Gateway may also be used as an efficient caching gateway.
  • Selective Sync is a key feature that enables end users to efficiently download and/or synchronize only the files they need.  The Resilio Connect Cloud Storage Gateway can be used as an intermediary cache. Selective Sync ensures only the needed files are cached; changes to the cache are propagated back to the cloud or “single point of truth” data set.  The Gateway supports SMB and NFS, for example, in situations where local on-premise users or applications require fast file sharing or specifically need to use SMB or NFS.  
  • Price competitive – Depending on the use case, PeerGFS may be cost-prohibitive for certain customers.  At least that’s what Resilio customers have told us.  
  • Resilio sales and support – Resilio is friendly and easy to work with as a company. 
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery – Resilio Connect enables multi-site high availability for business continuity, continuous data protection, and disaster recovery.  With built in WAN optimization, sites may be located anywhere in the world.  Like PeerGFS, the solution uses on-premises data center IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networks) but Resilio supports running natively on a diversity of operating systems (Windows, Linux, Apple Mac, Android, and a variety of NAS devices).  Moreover, Resilio’s multi-directional replication enables extreme scalability for nearly any number of endpoints, including cloud storage.  Like PeerSync and PeerGFS, there’s no need for proprietary data backup or business continuity software and both solutions work with Microsoft DFS as a DFSR replacement.

Use Case Comparisons

There are a number of use cases to consider when comparing Resilio Connect to PeerSoft PeerGFS.  

Use CaseResilio ConnectPeerGFS
Price-competitive easy replacement for PeerSync
Cross-platform OS support for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and some NAS
Large file system support with unlimited file sizes
Real-time synchronization
One- and two-way (bi-directional) sync
Scale-out, high performance multi-directional sync (any location)
VDI profile sync performance – for multi-site replication and sync
WAN optimization (UDP-based)
Multi-cloud storage gateway capabilities
Multi-cloud storage direct – client/agent capabilities
Global file locking
DFSR Replacement
DFSR Replacement with turnkey Microsoft Azure storage solution
Airgapped security, end-to-end encryption, and NIST cerftified
Summary Comparison of Use Cases

Use Cases for PeerGFS vs. Resilio Connect

Price-competitive easy replacement for PeerSync (Resilio Wins)

Resilio Connect is priced aggressively to accommodate a range of deployment options for Peer Software customers. The solution is agent-based and can be licensed based on the number of agents and type of agents. Volume-based discounts available.

Cross-platform OS Support (Resilio Wins)

Imagine deploying a global file services solution across your Enterprise and only being able to support Windows. What about the diversity of Apple Mac, Android, Linux, and NAS devices that may also need to share or move data? Use cases like remote work, multi-site collaboration and sync, and interfacing with cloud storage demand a flexible cross-platform solution supporting diverse operating systems, natively. Resilio wins here, big time.

Large Files and High Capacity File Systems (Resilio Wins)

Resilio Connect has no limitations on file size–and is optimized to work with large file systems containing (in some cases) millions of files.  Resilio Connect continuously optimizes for larger capacity file systems with extreme numbers of files of any size and type.   Some Resilio customers are transferring and/or synchronizing millions of files, daily.

One- and Two-way (bi-directional) Replication and Sync (Resilio Wins)

Both products support one-way (uni-directional) and two-way (bi-directional) sync.  But Resilio’s peer-to-peer architecture hashes file data across multiple endpoints in a sync job.  This provides an unparalleled level of resilience for data integrity and scale-out performance. Moreover, Resilio Connect is cross-platform.  PeerSync and PeerGFS run only on Windows.  

Multi-directional Replication and Sync (Resilio Wins)

In cases where high performance, massively scalable data replication is required, Resilio Connect can synchronize many endpoints (desktops, servers, cloud storage buckets, edge devices) in any direction, at near wire speed or a given bandwidth allocation.  Again, being based on a P2P architecture where files are hashed across multiple servers in a transfer, enables scaling the transfer speed beyond what a single server can transfer to another single server (known as point-to-point). 

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Profile Sync (Resilio Wins)

When all-active multi-site high availability is required (for Microsoft FSLogix, Citrix, or VMware) VDI environments, or when the “time-to-desktop” needs to be reduced, Resilio Connect is the hands down winner in synchronizing both smaller to larger scale multi-vendor VDI environments.  See Resilio’s VDI Profile Sync solution for more information.  

Cloud Storage Gateway (Resilio Wins)

Using Resilio Connect enables fast local access to files stored on both cloud file and object storage.  Desktop users at any location can access cloud file shares and enjoy the performance and compatibility of an on-premises local file cache (a gateway) without any additional complexity or the need to be trained on a new application. Typically, this cache may be accessed over SMB or NFS.  Resilio also supports Microsoft Azure — Azure Files, Azure Blobs, Azure Drives, and Azure NetApp Files.  Amazon AWS file and object storage.  Google GCP, Wasabi, Backblaze, among other S3-compatible and/or API-driven cloud providers.  

Cloud Storage Direct (Resilio Wins)

When used in combination with a Resilio Cloud Storage Gateway, files are automatically added to the local cache or can be explicitly added by the end user. Alternatively, instead of using a Cloud Storage Gateway, Resilio agents can move data to and from any supported cloud environment, directly.  Agents on the different endpoints interface directly to cloud storage using their installed.

Resilio Connect is 100% transparent to existing applications and workflows, as cloud files appear locally but are streamed on-demand when accessed using a selective sync mode, with a local copy of the file cached for some period of time-based on configured policies. The combined solution is centrally managed for complete control.   Agents on the different endpoints talk to cloud endpoints and retrieve data from the cloud storage.

Global File Locking, If Needed (PeerGFS Wins)

Peer Software promotes file locking as one of the key functionalities of PeerGFS, the successor to PeerLock.  While Resilio Connect does not provide proprietary file locking, Resilio Connect offers numerous unique benefits compared to PeerGFS.

First, for those PeerSync customers that do not need file locking, Resilio Connect is a superior, cross platform, real-time synchronization alternative for data-intensive, global enterprises.

Second, with respect to file locking and Resilio Connect, file locks are managed natively by the application and/or operating system locally deployed in each location within each individual server/VM.  With Resilio, there is no proprietary file locking.

Global file locking offered in Global File Systems such as PeerGFS, Panzura, Nasuni, Ctera, and others–can be  notoriously problematic depending on the use case.  Resilio recommends that customers perform a thorough discovery and evaluation process when evaluating or testing global file locking for their environment. 

DFSR Replacement – for DFSN (Winner Depends on Use Case) 

Resilio Connect and PeerSoftware PeerGFS both offer a solid replacement to DFSR for customers continuing to utilize their DFS Namespace and yet want to replace DFSR.  

In situations where multiple servers need to be concurrently synchronized within a DFS Namespace–especially across sites–Resilio Conect outperforms PeerGFS. Connect combines peer-to-peer and WAN optimized protocols and splits files into blocks and sends them concurrently and independently to several destinations. This combines networks between all machines into a single meshed network, which is significantly faster. Increasing the transfer speed leads to faster delivery of the files.  So in terms of reducing recovery times (by keeping data synchronized) Resilio Connect is the clear winner.  

Moreover, the Resilio Connect Management Console enables centralized management for jobs across any number of edge devices, on-premise data centers and servers, and cloud providers. There are no restrictions moving data between any on-premise data center and any Microsoft Azure region.

That said, PeerSoftware offers integration with the DFSN MMC.  Some customers may appreciate Peer’s MMC approach.  Others may prefer to use Resilio’s Management Console to track and monitor all jobs and events related to DFS replication. Another benefit of Resilio’s Management Console is interfacing and exporting event information to frameworks like Microsoft Operations Center and Splunk. Using your existing DFS namespace in Microsoft environments enables customers to seamlessly connect on-premises storage (from any NAS and SAN vendor such as EMC, NetApp, Nutanix, among others) with the cloud.

DFS Integration with Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage (Resilio Wins)

Resilio offers a universal transfer solution for Microsoft customers that includes a replacement for DFSR and solution to manage files across mulitple Azure Cloud Storage Services. These include Microsoft Azure Files, Azure Blobs, Azure Drives, and NetApp Azure Files.  Instead of using numerous ad hoc tools such as Azure File Sync or AzCopy, Resilio offers a comprehensive toolkit for Microsoft Azure Cloud Storage and DFS.

Morever, Resilio accelerates data movement for massive data sets in real-time, and at speeds you allocate.  Need to go faster? Increase the bandwidth allocation or add agents to the data movement job.   

Secure Data Everywhere – Airgapped as Needed (Resilio Wins)

Security is built-in–and doesn’t rely on any 3rd-party vendors or clouds.  Optionally, Resilio Connect can run “airgapped” and on-premise only.  Resilio offers end-to-end encryption (AES256) and is NIST certified.  

Summary

For multi-site, multi-directional, real-time synchronization and full automation to unify on-premises data centers, cloud storage, edge devices, and remote workers including VDI, Resilio Connect is a superior PeerSync alternative and beats PeerGFS for customers requiring WAN optimization over unreliable networks, or multi-site deployments, or for ingest, distribution, and remote work collaboration.  PeerSoftware has done a good job supporting multi-platforms and integrating with Microsoft DFS and building their earlier product path with PeerLink, PeerLock, PeerSync, and now PeerGFS.  Yet when it comes moving data globally — across any device, location, and cloud — securely and at predictable speeds, Resilio Connect is simply the perfect PeerSync alternative.  

Learn more about Resilio Connect and how it can be a great alternative to Peer Software. Or, schedule a demo or start a free trial to see for yourself.