How safely can I use Dropbox?

I have been syncing my files between my iMac “mothership” and my MacBook Air using SugarSync for about a year, and I have never been happy with it. I switched one of my smaller DTPO databases to Dropbox to see how it handled it, and it seems fine so far. But I wonder if it is safe for a mission critical database that currently occupies 17GB and contains hundreds of thousands of documents built up over nearly a decade using DTP.

I understand that a database must be closed on one machine before opening it on another, which is fair enough. Is there anything else I should be doing to ensure I don’t lose data or mess up the database?

All advice gratefully received.

Actually I’d recommend to await the final release of our Sync plugin (see our blog for more information) as Dropbox will probably synchronize such a huge database endlessly.

Thank you Christian. When do you think the final release will be ready?

Also, having downloaded the beta plugin and read the read me file, you would appear to suggest keeping the DTP database out of the dropbox folder and syncing your active database to the one in the dropbox folder.

  1. Is that understanding correct?
  2. If so, it would require twice as much space … and with a 17GB file, that’s an issue.
  3. Why wouldn’t one just drop the entire database into the dropbox folder and go from there?

I would appreciate your clarification.

We can’t state a date in advance, for the final release.

Your understanding is correct.

Dropbox has some quirks that the store file created by the Sync plugin works around. I don’t consider Dropbox trustworthy for large package files, nor for a dynamic database, in addition, Dropbox may simply ignore some files above a certain size.

Now that I’ve got two Macs that can transfer files via Thunderbolt, I’m blown away by how quickly enormous files can be transferred. By contrast, file transfers via the cloud take an eternity with my 12 Mbs connection. With your huge database, I would consider either direct file copying (while the database is closed) or running the database from a fast portable drive to be viable approaches.

Hmmm …

Not really a very satisfactory situation since I really want maximum portability, and don’t want to have to connect to external drives for an application that I use the entire time nor do I want to do manual copies, even with Thunderbolt at both ends. Besides, I currently only have thunderbolt on my MacBook Air. And I really don’t want to duplicate a 17GB database on a MacBook air where storage space is at a premium as it is.

Since I also work away from my base, sometimes for weeks on end, I am really looking for a solution where if everything went pear shaped I would have a fully up to date cloud based backup as well as a backup on my iMac back at base … and a local back up of THAT on Time Machine, wherever I might be at the time.

When, oh when, will that be possible? Or if it is possible, please tell me how …