(Forgive any goofiness in the wording of this post. I just wrote this up for a class I'm taking and just felt like cutting-and-pasting) I work as a Graphics Designer at a 24-hour TV station. But with my past IT background, I often consult on IT projects that directly concern our department. As we started to plan a full rebranding of our station, including redesign of all graphics and animations, we had to deploy new design workstations and implement new ways of organizing and storing project data. We received four workstations, each with a 6TB storage volume in a striped RAID-0 configuration. This meant that the volume was very fast, but had no fault tolerance. If one drive in the set went down, all the data would be lost. How could we take advantage of the speed of the volume without risking data loss? Another question was how to manage projects made by different designers on different workstations. If one designer had to access a project or graphic file made by another designer, how could we prevent them from having to manually hunt for them on three other workstations' file shares? A central server of some sort - perhaps a standalone NAS - would perhaps fit the bill, except then we'd lose the speed advantage of reading/writing to the internal RAID volume. In this traditional client-server scenario, we'd be limited by the speed of the network connection and that NAS. To get the best of all worlds, I actually turned to a peer-to-peer model, in the form of a free software package called BT Sync. Recently released by the creator of bittorrent, it uses the same infamous protocol to create a set of shared folders that sync with each other across devices in a similar fashion to services like Dropbox. But unlike Dropbox, it uses no central server. The size of the files we'd be manipulating (ie. uncompressed HD animation files, etc.) are way too large to be sending out onto the Internet to some central server and then back again. With BT Sync, we created a shared 'secret' in the form of a hexidecimal number that we install on each machine's BT Sync client. The four machines then collectively form a 'swarm' in which each machine is both a client and a server. When any one designer writes a new file to their drive, the BT sync software is almost instantly aware of it and it works with the other machines to make identical copies on each one. The manner in which the bittorrent protocol accomplishes this also saves on LAN bandwidth. The machine on which the file is created will make a whole copy to a second machine, but from there, those two machines will collaborate together to each copy a portion of the file to a third machine. By the time we reach the fourth machine we have three other machines each copying roughly a 1/3 of the file data concurrently. We've also solved the problem of the lack of disk redundancy in the individual machines by effectively keeping THREE real-time backups of all data. If one machine's RAID volume ever dies, the data can be easily replicated automatically as soon as the volume is replaced and put back online. The designers get to interact with what effectively presents itself as a single collective set of files and folders, yet do so with the full speed of their internal RAID volume. So I'd say that peer-to-peer architecture has been a win-win setup for up our group.