Coarse-grained cloud synchronization mechanism design may lead to severe traffic overuse

Zhenhua Li, Zhi Li Zhang, Yafei Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In recent years, cloud sync(hronization) services such as GoogleDrive and Dropbox have provided Internet users with convenient and reliable data storing/sharing functionality. The cloud synchronization mechanism (in particular, how to deliver the user-side data updates to the cloud) plays a critical role in cloud sync services because it greatly affects the cloud operation cost (in terms of sync traffic) and user experience (in terms of sync delay). By comprehensively measuring tens of popular cloud sync services, we find that their cloud sync mechanisms differ greatly in sync performance and design granularity. Quite surprisingly, some very popular services (like GoogleDrive and 115 SyncDisk) utilize a quite coarse-grained cloud sync mechanism that may lead to severe traffic overuse. For example, updating 1-MB data may sometimes result in 260-MB sync traffic. In this paper, we conduct a comparative study of various cloud sync mechanisms by analyzing their respective pros and cons under different situations, unravel the pathological processes for their traffic overuse problems, and finally provide insights/solutions for better choosing/designing a cloud sync service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6522587
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalTsinghua Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • cloud storage
  • data synchronization
  • design granularity
  • operation cost
  • user experience


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