ShareFile Shortcomings (My Perception, please correct me...)

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I am on a mission.  I made the company decision to move from Dropbox to ShareFile based on two things.  First DB tech support is horrible.  Second the cost was doubling.  The latter gave me an opportunity to bring the possibility of change to my VP.  My mission - to reach anyone whom may be looking at ShareFile as an option and let them be aware of things I was not.


We searched for several months.  We tested ShareFile.  We liked the look and feel.  The file checkout feature was a nice add.  File Syncing seemed to be like many other solutions.  We eventually chose ShareFile after several Sales calls and demos.  Unfortunately, with our use of Windows and Dropbox, we failed to ask the right questions.  If I am incorrect with the statements below, I am happy to understand the correction.  Please know this is a cumulative list of response information from Tech Support.  Here are a list of disappointments that I have with the service...

Issues we have with ShareFile:

-Selective subfolder sync does not show the complete folder structure of the folders.  The parent folder does not show up.  This causes sub folders from different parent folders to all appear as though they are part of the SharedFolders root.

-Desktop App will not allow copy paste of a document.  It simply assumes the copy is a new revision of the same document.  This causes issue when duplicating a template document.

-Web interface will not allow copy paste of a document.  It simply assumes the copy is a new revision of the same document.  This causes issue when duplicating a template document.

-When a document is copied to another ShareFile folder, the revisions of the original document are copied as well.  This is not desirable.  The copied document should be its own current version.

-Web Support postings get little response from ShareFile.  When there is a response, the subject line references a ticket number but does not include the original posted question.  There is no ticket number shown at post of issue that can be correlated to the ShareFile Response.

-Changing selective sync to no longer sync a parent folder but only subfolders causes ALL files to be removed and then the ones that the user wants to sync are re-downloaded. This creates a lot of wasted company bandwidth.

-Tech Support phone calls are typically between 45 - 60 minutes of hold time. 

-There is no way of monitoring the percent complete of large uploaded/downloaded file.  Tech Support initially stated that Sync was not the best way to upload large files.  The Desktop App should be used.  No answer was given to the size of the file that was the limit to determine Sync/Desktop App use.  Tech Support then stated that Sync SHOULD be ok.

-When users delete a file in Sync, the file is moved to some of the other user's local Recycle Bins.  This can fill up the Recycle Bin on some local machines.  Some users do not see this.

I am anxious to see some feedback that will correct my perceived shortcomings of ShareFile.  If I have no resolution path by the end of the week, we are considering rolling back to Dropbox.
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Rich Tincher

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Posted 3 months ago

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Gord Heisler

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We went from Dropbox to Sharefile 18 months ago, because ShareFile answered the phone, where Dropbox didn't have that support then......NOW IT DOES......with DROPBOX PRO, and know you get prompt attention and support, at 60% less than Sharefile.
If you need more than DROPBOX PRO, they have that also, but we have been SUPER HAPPY with DROPBOX PRO

Sincerely Gord
403.550.4673
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Louis Benioff

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I can't respond to all of your gripes, but the first four items you mentioned I have run into and the first one, parents for selective sync folders, has been a big pain.  We've had to rename folders so that common names can be distinguished.  
Several times when we have run into issues, long file name, too many files, we are told that this is just the way it is.  Not a very helpful response.
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Leo, Official Rep

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Hi Rich,

You have a number of subjects in your post, so I'm going to group them up in order to try to keep this from becoming too much of a wall of text for you.

Uploading: Upload time depend on your speeds, so the only hard limits are 100 GB files (which can be increased with appropriate justification) and an 18 hour limit for one file (which can't be increased).  Are you asking about uploading because you still have a large amount of data to upload?

Downloading: The best option for downloading is Sync, due to it automatically retrying downloads if there are issues.  

Progress Bar (Sync): While the Sync reports combines progress of all the files uploading/downloading, if you are just uploading one large file, that percentage completed should be what is displayed in Sync dashboard. Also, I'm finding out that progress reporting for a large file will be more accurately reported in an upcoming sync release (they are currently estimating in version 3.18).

Progress Bar (Desktop App): Desktop App should show individual file progress and give you the option to cancel individual uploads/downloads through the queue window.  Can you elaborate on what's missing for you here?

Sync sending files to Recycle bin: I covered it in the other thread you posted on, but basically things go to the recycle bin because Sync downloads local copies of the files for you to work with as part of its mirroring of the cloud folders, so when the cloud copy get deleted or moved, you will see them get deleted locally to reflect the change.  Are you asking that the files get deleted permanently instead, and skip the recycle bin?  There are cons to this, like not being able to recover if an angry ex-employee decides to trash everything on the cloud and delete them permanently because the admin forgot to disable his/her account.  If this isn't what you're asking then can you elaborate further?

Wait times: Yes, our wait times are long.  Yes, our response times are extremely long.  The causes of the long wait and response times are known and we are doing something about it, but due to the nature of the causes, the problem can't go away quickly.  That's all I can additionally comment about our wait times at this point.

Email Support: This may be changing in the next few months.  Unfortunately, I can't provide you any guarantees at the moment.

Selective Sync: Our developers have also received feedback preferring the current setup because of a few reasons:
  1. Security: you may not want certain of users to be able to even see the name of the folders to which they do not have access.
  2. Faster navigation : User sees the relevant folders directly under "Shared Folders" instead of having to dig deeper into entire folder tree which can be very deep for customers with large amount of data. 
So there have been feedback both for and against, and our Product Management team have to weigh them both.  If our Product Managers considers it something they want and have it implemented, it would most likely be based on a configuration/switch to minimize impact on existing setups.

Copy/Paste problems: This sounds like a workflow problem may be involved as well.  Can you elaborate on why you are editing a file that is being used as a template?  I can put in feedback that copying a file to the same location needs to add something to split it out from the other version, like what you would have if you were copying it locally.

Long Filepath (from Louis): Sync can handle long filepaths now, but you would need to change a Windows setting on Windows 10 to allow for long filepaths.  

-Leo
(Edited)
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Louis Benioff

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What is the Windows 10 setting?

I understand the security issue with the folders, but I would suggest they find a way to make it an option.  I've read many posts about this issue and it is a pain when you have a commonly name folder, like we do, under dozens of parent folders.  It becomes a nightmare.
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Leo, Official Rep

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Rich Tincher

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Leo,

Thank you for the informative response.  I respect that ShareFile may have dueling preferences from clients.  As stated, my mission is to inform anyone that is looking at ShareFile as an option, be aware of the items that I took for granted but have pulled the rug from my feet in real implementation.

Uploading: I have completed all of the file migration from DB to SF.  I acknowledge client internet connection speeds are the main issue here.  I would still like to see upload percent for larger files.  I was told on a tech support call that Sync was not the best option for uploading large single files.  

Downloading: Sync is the best option for downloads.  Got it.

Progress Bar (Sync): My Sync app would indicate "Synced" but the files weren't yet uploaded completely to SF.  Tech Support informed me they were at 30ish% uploaded.  With several users, there are many documents that show uploaded from the different users, so the percent synced will most likely never be a single file on my network.

Progress Bar (Desktop App): I will test this to see percent upload.  We are primarily using Sync.  

Sync sending files to Recycle bin: I consider the local recycle bin on a computer to be different than the recycle bin on the SF Cloud.  Is that incorrect?  The issue is when someone deletes or even moves several Gigs of data, the individual users recycle bins get filled.  I move files quarterly from "Current Projects" to an "Archive" folder.  When I do this, I now expect to see those files deleted from all of the Sync users and show up in their respective recycle bins.  I understand the Security concern.  However, I understood ShareFile will maintain backups and I could roll back to earlier files should this occur. Is this incorrect?

Wait Times: Thank you for the acknowledgement.

Email Support: I assume this is referring to web support entries.  I hope this changes for users.  It is a bear for me to correlate response to original inquiry.  I now have a log running that I open and compare questions to responses and then blend them in my log.

Selective Sync:  This is the largest single issue for me.  Again, I empathize with the conflicting preferences of SF clients.  My teams are all members of the parent folder(s).  This issue puts all of their selectively synced folders on the same "Root".  I have several "data sources" from parent folders (Projects, Estimating, Engineering, Service...) that a single user will have access to.  The file structure was built to place folders in the specific folders for file management.  The SF decision to display folders on the same "Root" erodes any design a client may have done to keep these separate. 

Copy/Paste:  I agree that we can create an internal work around for this.  When we create a Project Folder, We will often have a single Excel or Word document with basic information entered.  This is a template for the given project.  When we submit a project to a client, there may be several individual Excel or Word Documents created from the original Project Template.  When we copy the file, we typically rename it with the next name and edit the info in the duplicated file.  For instance, "Specs" is the original document.  The next several copies of this are "Specs_Equip_01", "Specs_Equip_02", "Specs_Equip_03"...  Each with the base info of the template and each with specific edited data relative to the equipment.  If we do a work around, it will be to copy the file to the local desktop, duplicate within windows, edit files, upload files to ShareFile.

Long Filepath (from Louis): I discovered this issue several months ago although it is not a new issue at all.  I appreciate SF's assistance in mitigating the issue but acknowledge it is not a SF issue but a Windows issue.

Thanks again for the response Leo.
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Leo, Official Rep

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Hi Rich,

Upload: For single, large files, I would go with either Sync or Desktop App.  

Progress Bar (all): OK, so the key thing here is that you need the percentage to show up and not just the bar itself.  I'll pass that on.

Progress Bar (Sync): Sync creates jobs for itself based on what needs to be updated at the time, so it being synced means it's done with whatever its current jobs are.  If there are a lot more to be synced but it keeps saying it's done then we'd want to look at the logs.

Recycle Bin: You are correct, the local recycle bin is different from the recycle bin on the cloud.  That is why if something is deleted permanently from the Recycle Bin in the cloud, I'm not immediately worried about the local copies getting deleted from the local desktop.  However, the Recycle Bin in the cloud and the versioning feature are your backups.  We currently do not offer restorations from the server as a service (as the lengthened Recycle Bin time and versioning should cover this), and I'm not sure why it is assumed that we do.  Is this just a general expectation?

Selective Sync: For that type of folder organization, currently the only recommendation I can give is to only give access to the folders that the user needs, and sync from the top.  If the folders are organized to expect visibility of the parent folder then the folders should be synced from the parent folder.  
  
Copy/Paste: If you use xltx/dotx files locally, you shouldn't need to copy anything in the first place.  Double click the template file to generate a new file (instead of opening it), save it as whatever it should be, done.  

-Leo
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Mike Hinze

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Welcome aboard. I have tried numerous portals and from the client perspective I have received positive feedback well beyond the others if this is any help of buyer's remorse. My biggest gripe, and one for you to aware of, can be found on my rant err post yesterday File Uploads
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Rich Tincher

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Mike,

Thanks for the comment.  It helps me see the "competing preferences" of clients.  The picture I am forming is that ShareFile's methods work well when a company is sending/receiving documents  primarily with external clients.  When it comes to inner-company sharing and syncing, the methods can leave a contractor like we are disappointed.
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Mike Hinze

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Yes Sharefile is promoted and used primarily as a file exchange for clients and outside colleagues, and that how I framed my comments. Thus I was not looking at an internal use.  I believe Sharefile has a Enterprise module for internal use. Otherwise I would think internally one would use a LAN network of some sorts.   
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Rich Tincher

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Leo, 

Thanks once more for the detailed thought and explanation.  I did expect the ShareFile service to work different than what it does.  This is a result of not asking the right questions through the sales process and reading primarily great reviews with ShareFile.  I would like to trim this list down some as I have accepted that "it is what it is".

Recycle Bin: I got a little lost in your response.  The local Recycle Bin is different than the SF Recycle Bin.  Got it.  I still fumble with the idea that if one of the users moves 10GB of data from one place to another, 10GB of data enters the other user's LOCAL Recycle Bin.  I think this is going into the "it is what it is" category as well.  The SF Recycle Bin does handle the "restoration" that I referred to.

Selective Sync: Got it.  The negative to this is that the permissions can't be applied to a template folder structure, correct?  This means that for a new project, each subfolder must manually have permissions applied.  -  We would prefer syncing from the parent folder but local hard drives become the issue.  Not all of our users have 1TB+ Hard drives.

Copy/Paste: The SF Drive Mapper App seems to be the solution for this.  When used, the file copy/paste works as we have come to expect in the Windows environment.
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Leo, Official Rep

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Hey Rich,

I'll go ahead and respond on the ones that seem like they still need an explanation.

Recycle Bin (Local): This happens because Sync is literally saving a local copy of the cloud-stored file.  1 File gets uploaded, so X copies of that file are downloaded -- one per computer using Sync on that folder.  These are not temp files, so it lets you use applications that need the files physically there.

Selective Sync and folder permissions: this depends on what's going on in "each subfolder" here.  Subfolders are created with the same users as the parent folder by default.  If you wanted to change the permissions, you'd need to go in the folder permissions after the fact.  If you don't, then there's no extra steps involved.  It doesn't make a difference if it's templated folders or not.
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Chris Provencher

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We have a client with 1.2 TB of storage and they use Sharefile as their file server, currently we're seeing terrible issues where Sharefile is completely unusable for them. They use the drive mapper exclusively and it tends to eat up alot of disk I/O, pegs the CPU at 100%, and uses all of the workstations usable RAM, this causes everything to stop working. We called support and got access to a beta client and this made things WORSE.. Is there anything we can do to get get resolved? 
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Leo, Official Rep

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Hi Chris,

I'm splitting your request off in a different thread because it is a completely different topic in an already lengthy thread.

Please reference the new conversation here: Drive Mapper Usability Problems
(Edited)
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Lloyd Barron

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We have had multiple ongoing issues with Sync, and have experienced the same issues with support.  Ultimately the lack of support is driving us to a competing product, it's simply not acceptable to wait on hold for an hour, only to speak with someone who knows less about the product than I do.