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Google Replication

One of the things that I've struggled with for some time is how to manage my data across multiple machines. I have my desktop below, which I love, and with the 3 monitors, I tend to do most of my work there.

However I also travel regularly with my laptop, and I've been considering a netbook for shorter trips and presentations.

That has caused me issues with my schedule in Outlook as well as keeping my data in sync. I tried copying off my .PST file from Outlook and copying it around, but I have a huge file and that doesn't work well. I tried using a USB key to move data around, but occasionally I'd forget things. I was getting frustrated by the hassles and considered moving completely to my laptop just to keep things in sync. Then I discovered two solutions:

Calendar and Contacts

The impetus for this solution really came from my purchase of a T-Mobile G1 phone, powered by Android, the free OS from Google for small devices. This phone is highly integrated with Google's services and they push you towards GMail and their other services. I already had a GMail account, so this wasn't a big deal for me.

However as I looked more at the features, I noticed that Google has a nice calendar service and that if I enter appointments on my phone, they sync up with my Google account. That's a nice feature, but I wanted to still use Outlook where possible since I get appointments from Red Gate in Outlook.

Google knows that most people use Outlook and it's a nice desktop client. So they built Google Calendar Sync, a utility that you install on your desktop and it moves data from Outlook to your Google account. I downloaded and installed it, and have a 2 way sync with my desktop machine. I have a one way sync with my laptop, and since I'm the only one entering meetings and reminders, I never have collisions.

I set this up, and immediately saw all the various entries on my desktop moved to my phone inside of a couple hours. I used the defaults of having my desktop sync every 2 hours and my phone every hour.

Over the last month, this has worked outstanding for me. I can enter a new doctor's appointment when I'm out and by the time I get home, it's on my desktop. This way I get reminders on my phone, and on my computers, all kept in sync

The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest


Posted by David Benoit on 16 March 2009

Very cool Steve. Didn't know Google had the sync feature. I don't have a phone that I could use with that but I certainly could use the Outlook sync so, I'm pretty excited about that.

Ya know, I am pretty MS focused, especially due to my database focus, but I have to admit that the Google stuff that I use just keeps getting better. I am really impressed with most of their stuff and really like the new browser and the way that it interacts with the different tools that they have. They have stepped things up a notch.

Glad to hear that I have one more thing to look at.

Posted by Steve Jones on 16 March 2009

The great thing for me was syncing from desktop/laptop. I rarely check the site online, but it's nice that I can get my schedule from anywhere.

Posted by Jerry Hung on 16 March 2009

Nice of you to join the Google crowd, Steve

I completely appreciate the Google Calendar Sync now to sync my work Outlook with home Outlook, and my Google Calendar

It's a bit tricky when BlackBerry/BES gets involved though.

If I add something on BlackBerry calendar (Outlook), it will sync with BES server, but won't sync with work Outlook until my laptop is ON and connected to Exchange server, AND then Google Calendar Sync picks up to update elsewhere

so my worst case is about 2 days delay over a weekend if I don't turn my work laptop on and VPN in

I know there is Google Sync for BlackBerry too, but it introduced duplicate events for me and messed up my Outlook 2-way sync (e.g. BES over Google Calendar, who wins?)

Posted by Steve Jones on 17 March 2009

Haven't had any issues to date, but I tend to enter on my phone or desktop, so the sync works one way for the most part.

Posted by Alin Winters on 22 March 2009

Google Sync for BlackBerry worked fine for me. However, having both the Google Sync for BlackBerry AND the desktop version of the Google Calendar Sync running at the same time caused numerous duplicate events.



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