IBM Buys Into Managed File Transfer in a Big Way

Mike Vizard

Managed file transfer (MFT) may not spring to mind as a critical issue that IT organizations are going to need to address in the coming year. But with the acquisition of Aspera at the close of 2013, the folks at IBM are betting that it will be.

While IBM has been providing an MFT capability for years, John Mesberg, vice president of IBM Commerce Solutions, says Aspera gives IBM a more robust framework for managing the transfer of really large files in the age of Big Data.

Acquired at the close of 2013, Aspera president Michelle Munson notes that as a provider of MFT software that can be deployed on premise or invoked as a cloud service, Aspera makes use of a proprietary file transfer protocol that is more efficient than the transmission control protocol (TCP) that open source file transfer protocol (FTP) software invokes when running across a TCP/IP network.

Munson says that the rise of digital media in particular and Big Data in general has created demand for a much more efficient way to transfer large files, which Aspera addressed by developing an application around a proprietary fasp transfer software. Aspera claims it can reduce the transfer of a 24GB file that would normally take 26 hours to send halfway around the world to 30 seconds, which Munson says is why Aspera counts Netflix and Universal Studios among its customers.

Much of that file transfer, adds Munson, is being accomplished by invoking application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow developers to automatically transfer files without necessarily having to require someone to manually push a button to transfer a file from one location to another.

While there is no shortage of ways to transfer files across the Internet, IBM’s Mesberg says as usage of the cloud increases, there will be increased need for an approach to transfer files that is not only faster than FTP, but one that is fundamentally more secure.

Whether it’s backing up data or being used within a collaboration application, file transfer is clearly something every organization makes use of on a regular basis. The degree to which FTP software will no longer meet the needs of any individual organization will vary. But it’s pretty clear that with increasing regularity, the file transfer requirements of many organizations in the age of the cloud are moving well past what TCP technology that was invented over four decades ago can effectively support.

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Jan 3, 2014 9:14 AM CloudLinker CloudLinker  says:
IBM is definitely addressing a shortcoming with regard to transfer speed in the Connect:Direct products by adding Aspera fasp to the portfolio. Exactly how this will fit together remains to be seen but it shows that MFT is definitely not declining but rather morphing into a global data management suite that helps manage and orchestrate data transfer between clients and the cloud. To claim that fasp reduces the time to transfer 24GB "halfway around the world" from 26 hours to 30 seconds just isn't true. To increase speed from 1GB per hour to 1GB (GigaBYTE) per second just isn't possible given current network limitations. 1GB per minute, sure, 1GB per second, no. Reply

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