I have 100GB+ of data (photos, music etc) on a network share, but due to the small disk size (128GB SSD) on my Macbook Pro, I'd like to have a local copy of a small selection of it, and easily manage what data is locally synced.

I'm struggling to find a good solution for this. I'm after the following features:

  • LAN sync. I want transfers between my computers on the same network to be fast, not via cloud storage - nor do I want to plug in a USB drive every time I want to sync stuff.

  • Affordable. Although I have 100GB+ of data, I don't need it in the cloud, so don't really want to pay the cloud storage rates. I'm willing to consider cloud-based options if they're affordable and offer LAN sync, though.

  • Sync any folder. I don't want sync to be limited to syncing only contents of a particular folder.

  • Syncs automatically or runs on an easily configurable schedule.

  • Intuitive Selective Sync GUI for managing subfolders to sync to the laptop. Dropbox's 'selective sync' feature is a good example, especially the "advanced view":

    Dropbox OS X selective sync advanced view

I've looked at a number of options that are out there, but they all seem to fall short:

  • Goodsync. So close! Standalone app, Under $70 one-time payment (licences for mac & the PC with the share). It just doesn't have the Intuitive GUI for selecting subfolders to sync. To include/exclude folders to sync, you have to type/paste individual folder names into a list, rather than select them from a finder-like directory browser - this is tiresome and error-prone.
  • Chronosync - another standalone app, similar to Goodsync - again no good selective sync GUI.
  • Dropbox - has LAN sync & selective sync, but only for files that it also hosts in the cloud; $100/year for 100GB is too much given that I don't need cloud storage. Only syncs ~/Dropbox.
  • SkyDrive - pricing reasonable ($50 for 100GB), but no LAN sync and can only syncs the ~/SkyDrive folder.
  • SugarSync - will sync any folder, but more expensive than Dropbox and no LAN sync.

Does anyone know any software that's a better match for my needs? Or perhaps I've missed existing useful features in these tools, or a completely alternate approach? Does anyone else have similar requirements?

I used to use unison to do this kind of thing but I got fed up with it because I didn't particularly have the patience to maintain profiles describing what I didn't want to sync etc.

  • If your MacBook Pro has space for a second drive, I'd ditch your optical and get a big spinning drive and make a DIY fusion drive. The OS will then tier data for you - but it's a pretty radical departure from a decently worded query so I'll not even suggest it as an answer.
    – bmike
    Jan 25, 2013 at 0:37
  • It is very hard to find a program that solves it all. I suggest you trying TeamDrive out. It looks like you could run it over the LAN. I found Syncplicity which lets you sync any folder in your system, and let's you exclude whatever subfolder you want, but you can't host it yourself, and it's 2 gb only. Mar 23, 2014 at 15:06


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