Joe Dupree leads the marketing team at Cleo.
Everyone knows the fable of the tortoise and the hare. But in business, forget the moral of the story. When it comes to file and data delivery methodologies, companies will always bet on the hare, never the tortoise. Especially when business relies on software solutions to improve the speed and accuracy of data-driven decisions and confident execution ahead of the competition, this only makes sense. On this point, forward-thinking organizations constantly seek better approaches to move and manage information throughout integrated systems and to geographically disperse endpoints across complex business networks in the fastest possible way.
Why Speed Matters
In theory, faster data movement means business moves faster. Increasing the efficacy of business processes and operations through accelerated transfer speed is an effective pathway to increasing turnaround. That, in theory, spells a quicker ROI coming from new software or technology designed to facilitate rapid data movement.
High-speed file transfer signifies an optimal capacity to rapidly send large files to customers and other trading partners under strict time mandates. After all, time is money. In today’s business, if the data wasn’t important enough to get wherever it’s going quickly, it probably didn’t need to be sent at all.
But before all that, there was this:
The Age of the Tortoise
Predating the current state of relatively stable and comparatively quick file transfer technology was the Age of the Tortoise. The corresponding go-to tortoise methodology was enabled through single-purpose devices combined with dedicated communication connectivity to allow for bandwidth saturation in packet delivery. However, the persistent effort to enable rapid file transfer performance in this manner led to a common problem extending from bandwidth limitations and overloaded networks due to transfer congestion. Making matters worse, latency and reliability constraints surfaced if distance or pathway complexity was present. In the global economy where remote employees, international offices, and distant trading partners are most certainly present, these factors are guaranteed to be factors at play.
In the Age of the Tortoise, IT made use of available protocol and authentication standards. Despite running on specific hardware and dedicated connections, transmissions were subjected to connectivity issues giving rise to “send and pray” practices, and subjecting internal and external B2B data flows to integrity loss and dropped packets. Due to technological limitations, this flawed approach to high-speed shifted the heavy lifting to the CPU. Not only was speed reduced by a factor of 10x or more, the amount of data passing through the system ended up being limited to around 1Gb - far from a favorable transfer rate, and hard to call high-speed.
Due to the combination of factors detailed above, the best possible outcome during the tortoise years was not only slow, but at the very least hampered by performance inconsistency – never a good thing when dependability is an essential KPI. Instead of the lightning-quick rabbit businesses were hoping for, they ended up with a half-blind, sluggish, and unreliable living fossil.
The Age of the Hare
Today’s business technology climate is one influenced by emerging data security parameters that are forcing adaptation over acceptable business information and file transfer practices. For the most part, gone are the tortoise-defined days when a company would overnight a hard drive or USB. The risks of damage, loss of intellectual property, or exposing critical data outside the corporate sphere are just too great. Instead, companies are looking to new technology to handle the movement of increasingly large files and aggregate data sets.
Even as the data explosion is testing the boundaries of currently allocated file transfer tools, technology evolves in leaps and bounds. As such, we are currently in the Age of the Hare. Advances in processing speeds mean that faster data transfer techniques are continually being developed. Beyond which, software capabilities have grown exponentially, and expanded applications for traditional file transfer solutions have in many cases supplanted special purpose hardware as the basis for foundational point-to-point data movement in the business integration ecosystem.
The vested interest for businesses to speed up transfer rates is driving unmistakable innovation across the board. Software technology providers ushering in the Age of the Hare have responded to increasing file sizes with vanguard high-speed data movement solutions. And current high-speed transfer software is rewriting performance metrics around what constitutes next-generation file and data transfer techniques necessary for the next phase of business integration.
Application Scope and High-Speed Opportunity
The use of high-speed or extreme file transfer today is predominantly relegated to moving media and entertainment assets. However, potentially untapped markets including healthcare and the data-centric service industries represent expanded applications for the technology and significant growth areas for technology providers in the Age of the Hare.
Next-wave uses for high-speed data transfer tools include:
- Eliminating data silos and aggregating global business information
- Replacing outdated file transfer techniques that cannot support increasingly large file sizes (Solutions specific to the task of accelerated data movement can exceed traditional FTP by a factor of 1000x)
- Support critical, time-sensitive SLAs/KPIs for large file and aggregate data delivery
And although, more often than not, it’s out with old and in with the new in IT, the irony is, many companies are stuck on the dominant Tortoise Age technology when the parameters of doing business today calls for a much more powerful solution. For many this means trusting time sensitive data to FTP—data that is millions of times larger than the business data moved by FTP back when it was invented, in 1971.
Speed is an Edge – In Technology and Business
High-speed file transfer enablement is about more than just the technical edge of a single technology. Business performance matters more. And what matters most in business (apart from cost) is speed. To be viable, the application of hare, not tortoise technology has to realize tremendous increases in the speed while retaining deliverable reliability, and adding efficacy to essential operations. The current jump in high-speed file transfer solution capabilities will allow businesses to augment the demands of larger files and aggregate volumes that increasingly cancel out applying legacy tools or methods to try and do the job. Ultimately, speed sharpens the business edge. And as high-speed transfer capacity is the cutting edge of data in motion, businesses should keep betting on this hare.
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