Large File Transfer, the Quest for Reliability

I can hear the movie trailer right now, “In a world where files are growing larger, one hero sets out on the quest for reliability.”

Ok, pretty goofy I know.  It’s just large file transfer.

The reality is some electronic files are large.  Sometimes these large files need to be transferred.  Very often, the larger the file, the more challenging it is to get that large file transfer to happen over a network in a way that’s complete, accurate and on time.

When this is the case, many times individuals find themselves facilitating the large file transfer by copying the file to a physical medium (DVD, USB drive, etc.) and physically shipping that medium to the intended recipient. This approach has its own set of reliability and security challenges.

What determines a large file transfer?  It really is subject to the use case.  File transfers between individuals by means of email attachments will often become “large” when the files attached are larger than 10Mb.  Batch data coming off of a mainframe can be in the hundreds of megabytes.  Media files and virtual machine images are often in the multiple gigabyte range.

In a Managed File Transfer approach to large file transfer, certain technologies that drive up the reliability of file transfers of all sizes come into play.  This collective set of capabilities is often referred to as “guaranteed delivery.” These technologies are focused on responding to problems when they arise, and include:

  • Automatic Retries – If the file transfer fails, the client knows that an error is one that can be recovered from, it can reattempt a file transfer after a pre-defined waiting period.
  • Alerts – Communication over a variety of channels, such as emails, text messages and SNMP traps designed to bring attention to the fact that a problem has arisen and provide detail on the nature of the large file transfer issue.
  • Checkpoint/Restart – Checkpoint control packets tell the sending client and receiving server how much of the file has been transferred so far.  In the event of a failed transfer, the large file transfer can resume at the last checkpoint, rather than restart at the beginning of the file.
  • Email integration – Tools for leveraging reliable large file transfer capabilities into a user’s email experience, without making the user significantly change the way they currently send smaller files through email.

Comprehensive managed file transfer solutions such as Attachmate FileXpress support large file transfers across a wide variety of use cases, from user-driven file transfers through email, to bulk data movement between IBM mainframes and distributed systems inside of a data center.

Large file transfer heroism

Image courtesy of clipartheaven.com

If you’re on a quest for reliability for your large file transfers, investigate managed file transfer solutions and the capabilities they bring to your particular use case. Who knows, you might just  become your organization’s hero

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