FileCatalyst as an FTP Replacement

Why Should I Replace FTP?

In truth, you might not need to. But if you learn a bit about FTP, you will be armed to make that decision.

A Brief History of FTP

FTP dates back to 1971, when the first specification was proposed. In 1972, RFC 354 standardized commands that remain in the protocol today. The last major revision came in 1985 with RFC 959, the basis for today's FTP implementations. Nobody in 1971 (or even 1985) could have predicted today's large file sizes and incredible connection speeds.

So how has FTP kept up?

It hasn't. FTP—based on TCP—relies on sending and acknowledging packets in sequence (see Accelerating File Transfers). This process is influenced by link speed and latency (RTT) such that both faster speeds and more latency cause TCP to use less of your available bandwidth. Low speeds pose less of an issue; using 2.7Mbps of a 3Mbps connection is 90%! However, using 3Mbps of a 100Mbps link is 3%.

How Has the World Changed?

We have broadband connections our 1985 selves hadn't dreamed of. 10Mbps—where FTP really starts to falter—is common for residences. Enterprises may have WANs with 100Mbps and even 1Gbps speeds. However, latency has stayed the same. The net result is that for sustained transfers, TCP (and therefore FTP) spends more “waiting” than sending data. Only a fraction of available bandwidth is used.

Some Reasons to Consider Migration

  • Speed has become an issue. If file transfer is a critical process and every minute counts for productivity and delivering a final product, FTP may no longer be up to the task.
  • Long transfers have become unreliable. Dropped connections are not automatically resuming; resumed connections are not continuing where they left off.
  • Security with FTP-based solutions isn't high enough, either in the protocol itself or in accountability for file transfer.

The FileCatalyst Solution

If you are beginning to feel that FTP might need replacing, feel free to Contact Us at any time for a voice-to-voice discussion about the suitability of the FileCatalyst platform. Meanwhile, here is some more information to help you on your way:

FileCatalyst Technology

FileCatalyst uses UDP as its underlying protocol. You can read a longer explanation on our site, but the short version is that UDP is not affected by packet loss and latency. By building our own reliability and integrity measures into the FileCatalyst protocol, it is even more reliable than FTP while being able to use your full available bandwidth.

In addition to speed and reliability improvements, the FileCatalyst Server provides a number of other benefits, including increased security, a far greater set of management tools, and seamless cross-platform compatibility.

FileCatalyst Products

The FileCatalyst platform is at the core of all our products. However, you will require different tools and a different user experience depending on your needs. If you are considering replacing FTP with FileCatalyst, be sure to learn about (and have a free trial) our product line:

  • FileCatalyst Direct is a point-to-point file transfer solution with a highly flexible range of client options. Although different in many ways, it is the most similar to a straight-up FTP solution.
  • FileCatalyst Workflow is a web application that allows users to submit files to your organization's workflow.
  • FileCatalyst Webmail solves the problem of large file transfers, using a web application and email to send large files to anyone with an email address.