UPDATE, DEC 2014: Stuart Lynn, CTIO of Sage, has been in touch to say Sage Drive has completed extensive user testing and is now available. Only a few weeks behind schedule, got to hand it to the team at Sage if they get this nailed. We’re scheduling in this update with one of our clients very soon and will let you know how it goes.
SIGNIFICANT UPDATE, SEPT 2014: Upon purchasing Sage 50 2015 and arranging for the installation at a client site we have found that Sage Drive, the cloud element of Sage 2015 and the main selling point is not yet available. Speaking to Sage support it is scheduled for release in Nov but I believe it will be some months after this, its a complicated setup that has to be proven to work consistently without causing data corruption. This takes time.
Update, mid-Aug 2014: very soon after I posted this I was told by Sage that the release date for 2015 has been pushed back to 18th Aug. Read into this what you will.
ORIGINAL POST: With the release of Sage 2015 comes a long awaited feature of access from anywhere via the cloud, here’s how it works and what you need to know from discussions our IT support team have had with the technical development team at Sage this week;
- Your Sage data is not truly in the cloud. You still have your Sage database on your server and this database is synchronised into Amazon’s robust cloud infrastructure which Sage have termed the Sage Drive for your remote team to access. Your remote team will be working from a mirrored copy.
- Users will still have Sage 50 software installed on their PC’s, this is not a web browser based recreation of Sage 50.
- You must still backup your own Sage database. Sage 2015 does not protect your data as a pure cloud tool would do so you MUST still backup your Sage database. There is also an argument that your IT support team must backup your Sage database more frequently than you have done previously.
- If the internet connection between your server and Amazon goes down your must stop your remote workers from working in Sage. When your internet connection comes back up I would recommend waiting around 30 minutes and then allow your remote team to work. There’s a technical reason for this point, if you want to know more see below.
The technical bits;
- The sync process goes as follows;
- Block level sync built into the client
- The database on your server is the Master
- Office based users connect directly to the Master as normal
- The Master block-level syncs to the Sage Drive
- Each remote user block-level-sync’s down a copy of the database from the Sage Drive
- Remote user edits are block-level sync’d up to the Sage Drive
- Remote and Office edits are also sync’d down to each remote users copy
- The Sage Drive copy then block-level syncs it’s changes to the Master copy
- Master copy changes from Office users are also sync’d up to the Sage Drive copy
- There’s a lot of syncing going on here and a lot of conflict resolution must be built in and proven and this is version 1. To prevent database corruption I would recommend increasing the frequency of backups in the early stages to 2 – 3 times per day to ensure the minimum amount of data is lost to corruption.
What we still don’t know;
- How the Sage software installed on your PC will inform the end users that the Master copy of database on your server is in sync with the Sage Drive version.
- I assume that this now means some form of server side sync client needs to be installed and that this will be Windows only which means NAS’ can no longer be used.
- The impact to the internet connection is unknown and your IT support team will need to keep an eye on this. There’s a lot of synchronising occurring, granted only block level, but the impact will be directly related to the number of remote users.
All in all a welcome change but tread carefully.