When you configure Work Folders on a device, you establish a Work Folders sync partnership between the device and the file server.

During initialization, the data directory, version database, and download-staging directory are created on a device. The version database helps to keep a local copy of the data in sync with the data on file server.

The Work Folders server are provisioned only once per user, while the client side is provisioned for each device on which the user is using Work Folders. When users modify their Work Folders content, the following process takes place:

1)  When users modify local Work Folders content, the change is detected by the client in real time; the client device initiates a sync session with the Work Folders server, and then uploads the changes.

 

2)  After the upload is complete, the Work Folders server applies uploaded changes to the users’ Work Folders content. By default, the server is configured so that it can perform all modifications to the user’s data.

If there is an error, for example, when the server permissions are modified and the server cannot apply the modifications, the user is notified about the problem. If the file is changed on multiple user devices at the same time in the same synchronization cycle, based on the time stamp, the latest version of the file keeps the original file name.

The other copies of the file are preserved in the same directory, but their name is extended with the name of the device on which the conflict occurred, and a number is added if there are multiple conflicts for the same file. The Work Folders server keeps 100 conflict files. After that, Work Folders synchronization stops for the user until the user manually resolves the problem.

3)  Synchronization is initiated by the second client device. This can happen for two reasons: data is modified on the second client device as well, and the second client device initiates synchronization of those modifications; if there are no local changes, the second device initiates synchronization based on the pooling interval, which is 10 minutes by default. The second client downloads changes from the Work Folders server and applies them to the local copy of the data.

When you use Work Folders, you should be aware of following:

  • Synchronization is limited to one partnership per user per device. If multiple users use the same device, all users can have their own partnership with the sync folder on the same or on different Work Folders servers. However, the same user cannot create a sync partnership with a second sync share on the same or different Work Folders servers.
  • Clients always initiate synchronization. A Work Folders server is passive and only responds to sync requests.
  • Clients synchronize only with the Work Folders server. If users are using multiple devices and they are all configured with Work Folders, devices do not synchronize changes between themselves, but only with the server. After one device synchronizes changes with a server, other devices receive the changes from the server.
  •  The system that applies the change, which can be either the user device or the Work Folders server, is responsible for conflict resolution. Conflicts are resolved automatically by renaming the conflicting files with older time stamps.