IBM Acquires Aspera for MFT Software

    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.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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