korm’s note about the speed of data transfer should always be remembered when using synchronization via the cloud. It applies not only to Live Synch but to all online storage/synch systems. Some synch systems are faster than others, but they take longer than copying a file to a FireWire drive connected to your computer, much, much longer.
If you act as though synchronization is instantaneous, and if the synch system isn’t smart enough to keep you from shooting yourself in the foot, you will end up with database problems. Be prudent and realize that cloud synchronization TAKES TIME to complete, especially if you’ve just dumped a pile of new files into the database on your desktop computer. In such a case, if you grab your laptop and run to the conference room expecting that you can immediately work with that database, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Cloud synchronization is exciting and can work. But remember that a database is more complex than a single file.
When you synch a database that contains an email to your Aunt Mary, the database contains that email file. But it also contains other data files related to the email, including its text index, its group location, its Item Link information, tags, Label color, etc. If any of those associated data elements get lost or scrambled, the database has errors. A database is more complex than an email file. My main database contains about 30,000 document files. But there are hundreds of thousands (potentially millions) of pieces of information about those 30,000 files that are what make a DEVONthink database so useful to me. If cloud synchronization introduces an error so that one of my 30,000 document files gets corrupted, I’ve still got 29,999 good document files, “good enough for government work” as the saying goes. But if one of the ‘data about data’ files gets corrupted, lost or isn’t updated, my database may no longer work.
I use MobileMe to synch Address Book and calendar data among my Macs and iPhone (and I ordered an iPad today). Does MobileMe synch always work every time? No. But it usually does so eventually. That’s often just a minor inconvenience, but it illustrates that the present state of the technology isn’t 100% dependable for these little databases that are much less complex than a DEVONthink database. (By the way, I’ll repeat this: DO NOT USE MobileMe to synch a DEVONthink database at this time. But as Christian has noted, a plugin is under development that will make MobileMe safer to use for database synchronization.)
Local backups under your control are highly recommended.
Although the ‘sneakernet’ option noted by Christian isn’t as sexy as cloud synchronization, use of a portable hard drive or USB flash drive is a practical way to copy databases among computers on which DT Pro or DT Pro Office is installed. The error rates for these devices are very low and the user has complete control. Running databases directly on a fast portable Firewire drive gives good performance and completely solves the issues of synchronization if one uses self-contained (Imported rather than Indexed) databases. (As always, a backup strategy should consider such possibilities as drive failure or a lost or stolen drive.)