Synchronize vs Mirror


This has confused me with Citrix Profile Management… What is the difference between synchronizing a folder and mirroring a folder?

When I say source and destination, I mean the following:

  • Source = virtual desktop
  • Destination = profile store

The descriptions for both sound very similar, so I thought I would dig into this a little deeper by looking at what happens to items in the source/destination.

  • Synchronize:
    • New file (Source) – File is copied to the destination
    • Modified file (Source) – File is copied over the file in destination
    • New file (Destination) – File remains
  • Mirror
    • New file (Source) – File is copied to the destination
    • Modified file (Source) – File is copied over the file in destination
    • New file (Destination) – File is removed

The ramifications of this minor difference between the two options are important.

For example, certain directories includes files as well as an index of those files. If I use synchronize on this directory, I will eventually end up with a directory that includes many files that are not referenced by the index.

The problem seems to become noticeable when a user has multiple sessions pointing to the same profile store. What will happen is based on the directory being mirrored/synchronized

  • Synchronize
    • Session one adds new files and updates older files (including index file).
    • Session two adds new files and updates older files (including index file).
    • The destination folder contains items from both sessions, except that the index file is from session two because it gets overwritten.  Any file copied to the destination from session one is not reflected in the index file
  • Mirror
    • Session one adds new files, updates older files (including index file) and removes any files not in the source.
    • Session two adds new files, updates older files (including index file) and removes any files not in the source.
    • The destination folder contains items from the last session ONLY. But the index file completely reflects the contents of the folder.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on the difference between synchronize (copy folder) and mirror (replace folder).

Daniel (Follow on Twitter @djfeller)
Citrix Workspace Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop On-Prem Poster
XenApp/XenDesktop Cloud Service Poster

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3 thoughts on “Synchronize vs Mirror

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  1. These are very interesting observations. At first glance, it seems Mirroring is preferable to Synchronizing for the vast majority of cases. Although, I’m certain there is more nuance than I’m finding upon first reading on the topic. Is there a forthcoming post about how we can translate these to design decisions using UPM/WEM?

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