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SureSync Part 3: Setting Up Your First SureSync Relation (Mirroring)

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Expert Rob Hawthorne wraps up the three-part series on SureSync with this discussion of setting up a Relation within SureSync. The whole installation, configuration, and setup of the SureSync product is now complete.
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Okay, so far in this three-part series on SureSync, you have explored the reasons behind using SureSync (Part 1), and installed SureSync as a service (Part 2). In this third and final article, you will set up your first Relation.

What you need:

  • At least two directories on your server: a Source and a Destination directory; that is, C:\SureSync\Source and C:\SureSync\Destination (although the Source or the Destination can reside on another server or PC).

  • Some files (that is, Word, Excel, and/or PDF documents). About five or six documents will be fine.

  • The installation and configuration of SureSync as a service. (See my article, "SureSync Part 2: Installing and Configuring SureSync to Run As a Service," for instructions.)

You will configure your first Relation as a rule known as a Mirror Rule, which ensures that all directories involved in the Relation have exactly the same contents in each directory. This will allow you to see right away the power of the mirroring functionality. The Mirror Rule is one of the more powerful Rules provided with SureSync, and allows you to keep multiple repositories synchronized. In this example, you will keep at least two directories synchronized.

Setting Up Your First Relation

When you are ready, open SureSync. When you are in the main SureSync window, go to File, New, Relation. This launches a new window (similar to that shown in Figure 1). Alternatively, you can right-click on the Relations folder within SureSync, and select New Relation. You see the SureSync Relation Wizard.

Figure 1 Creating a new Relation with SureSync.

I think of SureSync as a hierarchical application. First of all, you need a Relation (this specifies how one folder relates to another folder(s)), followed by a Rule (specifies what action is going to occur between the folders in the Relation), and finally followed by a Schedule (a time when the action of the Rule will initiated).

In the next step of the Relation Wizard, you need to specify the folders that are involved in your Relation, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Specifying the folders involved in the Relation.

Select the Source and Destination folders that you set up earlier to be involved in the Relation (don't worry which one you select first). By clicking on the Add button, you can navigate your way to the folders involved in the Relation (a new window will pop up). You may notice the additional tabs available in the new window that launches. Under the Path Options tab, you can specify a number of behaviors (such as the account that SureSync connects as) when SureSync attempts to copy or delete files on another server. The File System tab reports the type of file system that you are connecting to (for example, NTFS, FAT, and so on).

The next couple of screens in the wizard are important for advanced configurations of Relations, but they are not required for your basic setup. These steps in the wizard allow you to modify the behavior of the Relation—for example, specifying the number of times a file is attempted to be copied and the length of time (in seconds) between retries.

Accept the SureSync default for each step in the wizard, until you reach the SureSync Rule Wizard screen, as shown in Figure 3.

If the licensing window pops up while you are trying to move to the screen shown in Figure 3, just click on OK at the prompt and then click on Close. (You may notice that the mouse icon remains as an hourglass; don't worry—just click on Close, and it will go back to a pointer).

Figure 3 Specifying the Mirror Rule that you will use in your new Relation.

The Rule for the Relation that you will set up, as mentioned earlier, is a Mirror Rule.


For a list of the different types of Rules and the functions they perform, refer to the first article in this series: "SureSync Part 1: Replicating Data with SureSync."

When you have selected the Mirror option for the Rule, click on Next. You now have the option to select which folder involved in the Relation is the Source, and which folder(s) are the Destinations. Select the Source folder by clicking the box next to the folder path. In the box underneath, select the path or paths that are the Destination directories, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Setting up the Source and Destination directory(ies) for the Rule.

The following few steps in the Rule Wizard, although important for ensuring the correct functioning of your SureSync Relations in the future, aren't necessary for you to configure for the initial testing Relation of SureSync. One of these steps allows you to specify the types of files (.doc, .pdf, .mdb, and so on) that you want to include/exclude in your Rule. This allows you to have a Relation that includes (or excludes) files of certain types, which is extremely useful for those publishing processes.

You also have the ability to include files and/or folders that have been modified within a specified date range or if the modification date has changed in the last x number of days. These options offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing solutions that only require transferring files that have been modified recently.

However, because you just want to get a basic Relation up and running for proving the installation and configuration of SureSync, just accept the wizard's defaults that are provided for each step. (Don't worry; the documentation provided with SureSync covers each section in more depth.) After you reach the step shown in Figure 5, specify the configuration options shown in the figure for your Relation.

Figure 5 Specifying the attributes and the conditions associated with the Rule.

This step in the wizard allows you to specify the attributes that you want turned off or on, as well as the files or the folders to be included or excluded based on certain attributes. You will specify that the read-only attribute be applied to every file that is copied, and that you will not copy files that are hidden or system-only files.

As you can imagine, this gives a lot of power when it comes to configuring the Rules for your Relations. By simply specifying that you only apply the Rule if the item is not a folder, you can ensure that SureSync will only copy files instead of folders and files. You can also ensure that when a file is copied, the read-only attribute is turned on (as you have specified), thus providing you with some simple assurance that users cannot change the file accidentally.

The next step in the wizard is not relevant to your Relation, so accept the defaults and move on until you reach the screen shown in Figure 6. (The step you are skipping allows you to limit files based on size, whether they already exist, as well as ensure that the folder for the file exists before trying to copy the file.)

Figure 6 Specifying the permissions attributes that you want copied for your files and folders within the Rule.

In the Permissions screen, you are specifying that you want all of the permissions currently associated with your files and folders to be preserved when they reach your Destination directory. Please note that this will work only on an NTFS partition (both Source and Destination directories), and permissions can be preserved only if both the Source and Destination directories know about the groups and/or users that have permissions to the folders and files.


You need to check the option "Preserve all security objects on replaced files" before you select any of the other attributes that you want to preserve. This forces SureSync to replicate the permissions associated with a file, even if it already exists in the Destination directory.

You need to be aware that the copying of permissions on files and folders, although a very cool feature (and very useful for those publishing processes), causes a large overhead. Software Pursuits have stated that they use standard Windows API calls for replicating permissions, and on a LAN (10Mbps or greater) you shouldn't notice any deterioration in performance. On a WAN that has slow links, however, you should be a little careful because this has caused some performance issues.

Because the Mirroring Rule blanket copies files if they are different from the Source to the Destination directories, the setup you have now will copy the permissions on files. However, for the files that already exist in the Destination directories and are the same as the Source directory, their permissions will not be copied. (You can force this by selecting the "Copy file security objects even if the file is not copied" option.) This is not necessary for you, though, and will slow performance that little bit more.

After you have set the Permissions screen, as shown in Figure 6, click on Next to move to the final step in setting up the Rule for the Relation. This screen is once again not necessary for you to change for your setup, but it allows you to configure options such as disconnecting a user from an open file so it can be copied, or allowing a file to be copied while the Source file is open. When you are ready, click on Finish. Sure Sync will then prompt you to preview the Relation (and the Rule) before you run it, as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 SureSync wants you to preview the Relation and Rule configuration that you just set up.

You will get used to this prompt very quickly because every time you change a Rule or a Relation, SureSync encourages you to see (preview) the way the alteration will affect your setup.

Click on Yes, and you will see a screen similar to that shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 Viewing the Relation and Rule configuration setup.

In this screen shot, notice that I have a number of files listed (in the bottom two panes) that you may not have. I confess—I cheated a little, and already copied some files (about seven assorted types) into the Source directory, so that when I ran the preview of the Relation, the files would show up. If you don't have any files showing up in your preview, go ahead and copy some files into the Source directory. After you have done this, close down the preview Relation window, but don't click on Synchronize Now, which will return you to the main Sure Sync window. You can then click on the new Relation you have created (I called mine "Testing Sure Sync"), and right-click and select Preview Relation. If all your directories are pointing in the right place, you will see the files appear in the bottom panes.

SureSync provides a legend that specifies what each of the icons mean next to the file paths. The icons easily show which files/folders will be added (all of them, as long as there are none in the Destination directory), and which files/folders will be deleted. You can open the Legend window by selecting View, Legend when previewing a Relation.

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