Overcoming Firewalls and Proxies Using HTTP Mode

by , January 17, 2011

Although it is always preferable to accelerate file transfers within your organization, it is not always possible to accommodate all clients' locations due to restrictions imposed by link speeds, firewalls and proxy servers. Some client locations can use any protocol, while others may be limited to TCP-based protocols only. Still others permit only HTTP. FileCatalyst is known for UDP-based accelerated file transfer, but also supports several protocols that have varying degrees of acceleration, security and compatibility with firewalls and proxy servers. In this blog I want to key in on how FileCatalyst can utilize HTTP as a mode of transfer to overcome very strict firewalls and proxy servers. Whether a client location has restricted internet access through an HTTP proxy, or can only open HTTP ports on their corporate firewall, FileCatalyst can still provide a very rich set of features for automation, security and reliability.

First and foremost, FileCatalyst Server can handle HTTP transfers without additional web server software. It uses an embedded web server called Grizzly to serve up the HTTP file transfer web services. This embedded server may be configured to run on port 80/443 or may be linked to an existing web server like IIS or Apache using the AJP protocol. This means that organizations with an existing web server may install FileCatalyst server behind their firewall, not open any additional ports, and provide file transfer services using HTTP/S through their existing web server. In the situation they cannot open up all of the TCP or UDP ports required for acceleration, at least clients behind strict firewalls will be able to communicate with the FileCatalyst Server and benefit from its security and reliability.

FileCatalyst doesn’t implement HTTP transfers like a typical browser would. A typical browser-based HTTP upload would limit the user to selecting one file at a time, and would not provide any indication of progress during the transfer. In addition, a broken transfer cannot be resumed, and there may be limits to the size of files that are uploaded. With FileCatalyst there are no file size limits, and files may be resumed if canceled or there is a connection loss. The entire FileCatalyst suite of client applications support HTTP mode, which means users get a rich set of features that are just not available in basic HTTP based file transfer systems.

Setting up HTTP transfer from the client perspective is easy. Provide them with the normal connection parameters (Hostname/Username/Password) and a URL to access the FileCatalyst HTTP service. Once added into their configuration, HTTP mode will automatically become available to them.

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