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IBM Aspera: good stuff!

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For all of my sins, I have too many hobbies. I like to listen to analogue music, love to read, hike, bike and run (not simultaneous) and am interested in astronomy. Astronomy, not astrology spelled with the ‘l’ as in lying.

Space travel and NASA’s missions to the moon and planets always interested me. It is said that IBM’s development of the mainframe back in 1963 was the one but greatest technical project of that time overshadowed of NASA’s Apollo flight program. Well, that is something I can live with.

Apollo 1 was the first manned mission of the lunar landing program and was never carried out as during test flights the cabin caught fire and exploded, killing the three astronauts.

On the Apollo 1 launch site a plaque memorises the three victims with the words:

“Ad astra per aspera”

which translates to “Through hardship to the stars.




Well, some introduction to IBM’s Aspera, right?

Since I started with looking back in time, I might continue with it. Perhaps it’s my age but every time there is a new technology, it brings up the question on how we did it some decades ago. Take transfer of data. Some 20+ years ago, with no internet, we exchanged data on floppy disks. From those 8” to 5¼” to the dazzling 2MB hard-cover floppy. Fast transferring data was done by the Nike-network: copying files onto the disk (or disks) and running as hard as you can (on those Nikes) to the other system and putting it on the other computer. Of course using obscure commands like

COPY A:somefiles.* C: DIR

In a later stage, I recall PC-Copy, Copying files with a null-modem cable between two systems. Wow!

Nowadays there is internet as an infrastructure to move data around. We can use http(s) or File Transfer Protocol (ftp) to name two. And we do it all the time, perhaps not even knowing it. The protocol used is TCP/IP. TCP stands for Transport Control Protocol and is designed to transfer data. A large file is cut into many packets and they are sent around. Control mechanisms are in place to recover lost packets. Typically, the receiver doesn’t acknowledge the arrival of a packet and requester sends that again. Or the packet is received damaged beyond repair and the receiver has to request a new version. Especially over long distances where the Round Trip Time (from sender to receiver and back) is rather long the TCP can slow down massive transport of files.

Like always, there is a need to do things faster. And there within lies a challenge. Files getting bigger and bigger and although the bandwidth continues, sending over a file of 100 GB or more is taking a long time, and will use a large amount of the available bandwidth, slowing down other internet activities. Furthermore it is more often than not unreliable. Today a file can be sent much faster than yesterday. And that’s only the transferring. If the other party wants changes to one single bit, the two files are out of sync. Sending them all over again is cumbersome. We all know that data is not going to be less over the coming decades and the need to transfer, copy, synchronize and above all share it, will only become bigger.

This is why IBM acquired Aspera some time ago. Aspera developed a breakthrough transfer protocol that is hundreds of times faster than TCP. Now we are talking!
Sharing data with customers and colleagues that contain a 100’s gigabytes of data, like in multimedia, healthcare, seismic data, etc, can now be used by everybody. And it is not only a nice-to-have, but in this digital world, fast and reliable movement of digital data, including massive sizes over global distances, is becoming vital to businesses success across virtually every industry.

Aspera’s solution isn’t limited to only file transferring. The portfolio also offers synchronization (High Speed Sync) and the possibility to share large files with Aspera File Sharing Suite.

And apart from the transferring, sharing and synching capabilities, the solution has built-in security as well.

You should try it, it’s free and it will make life some much easier.

IBM Aspera: Good stuff!

Digital Transformation Specialist, Presenter, Spokesman

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