Aspera’s digital file transfer technology

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When it comes to transferring large digital files, the common concerns are speed, security and integrity—ensuring content reaches its destination in a safe, timely fashion, its original form intact.

We’re discovering this in our PRO-TEK film preservation business as our movie studio clients are going digital. Whether a movie is recorded in analog or digital format, the need for long term management and archiving remains. Like every other storage medium, digital formats also degrade over time. Also, we now offer high-resolution motion picture film scanning services. Reliable, high speed transfer of large digital files has become an issue for all of us in the industry, from creation to post-production work to distribution to archiving.

Large file management has become a persistent headache for many enterprises, but perhaps none of them feel the pain as acutely as commercial movie studios and other media companies. Digital filmmaking and video production entail many unique data transfer characteristics:

  • Daily transfer of files that are tens of gigabytes to multiple terabytes in size.
  • Vast geographical distances and multiple steps—production, studio review, post-production editing, distribution, storage and archiving.
  • Demanding schedules often driven by stringent deadlines.

Common complaints usually concern costs—which can be exorbitant—and technology limitations that can be frustrating. But one solution for high-speed data file transfer—Aspera from IBM—is becoming something of an industry standard thanks to its advances in developing a better transport technology.

Aspera high-speed file transfer technology

Aspera incorporates a patented transport technology it calls FASP, for Fast and Secure Protocol. FASP can achieve speeds much faster than FTP and HTTP while delivering better security, integrity and bandwidth control. Aspera FASP, launched in 2004, has achieved this status, as the company says, by “eliminating the underlying bottleneck altogether.”

According to IBM, FASP enables large data set transfers over any network, regardless of conditions or distance. You can get a sense of this capacity based on your organization’s circumstances using the performance calculator on the Aspera website. Variables you can enter include file size, network bandwidth, starting and ending location and network packet loss (typically 1-2% but as high as 10% over satellite connections.)

Aspera’s client base covers a wide range of industries, from government to finance to oil and gas, and it has become a major player in media and entertainment, counting many leading motion picture studios and post-production houses as clients, not to mention broadcasters, cable networks, on-demand networks and other content providers.

Aspera on Cloud review

At the 2018 NAB Show, IBM unveiled a hosted service, Aspera on Cloud, to transfer and exchange content anywhere, with features and capabilities that include:

  • Drag-and-drop ease for finding, organizing and distributing files.
  • Consolidation of cloud and on-premise storage in a single interface, including IBM Cloud, AWS, Azure and Google platforms.
  • Real-time visibility to manage file transfer activity, storage usage, user groups and more.
  • Multiple gigabit-per-second speeds for fast data transfer over global, wide area networks and full utilization of available bandwidth, without affecting other traffic.

Aspera on Cloud comes in three flavors, scaling from low to high requirements: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. Standard offers 1 TB of storage; Advanced supports up to 10 TB. The Enterprise Plan starts at 60 TB pre-committed transfer volume for large organizations with multiple user groups and simultaneous projects.

Aspera “direct-to-cloud” technology and built-in clustering scales to capacity and offers the ability to pause, resume and cancel a transaction. Along with a desktop application, remote user access and mobility are enabled through support for web browsers and mobile devices.

The fast, reliable transfer of large digital files has become a persistent headache for many enterprises, including movie studios and other media companies. That pain is alleviated with technologies like FASP that save time and money through reliable, high-speed, global transfer of large digital files like movies, videos and other media footage.

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