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IBM Gets High Speed Data Transfer Via Aspera Acquisition

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

If you need your big data to get somewhere quickly and securely then you want Aspera's high speed data transfer technology, or so believes IBM, which announced yesterday that it had inked a definitive deal to acquire Aspera.

Aspera focuses on one thing and that is to get data from point A to point B as quickly as possible, regardless of the size of the data, bandwidth availability, network conditions, competing traffic, client (web, mobile, embedded), or distance the data has to travel.

Aspera's website states that its high-speed bulk data transfer technology can deliver data up to thousands of times faster than with standard network protocols. It includes add-ins for Microsoft Outlook for secure collaboration when exchanging documents, a mobile app for iOS and Android that allows for content sharing, and add-on products for Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure Services. Aspera's software also provides private drop boxes for content and a remote file manager for browsing and attaching files and directories for person-to-person file exchange.

IBM's announcement stated, "Aspera's high-speed transfer technology reduces transmission times for large files or data sets by up to 99.9 percent – potentially cutting a 26 hour transfer of a 24 gigabyte file, sent halfway around the world, down to just 30 seconds."

That transfer rate might be optimistic, but a key feature of Aspera's patented fasp (fast, adaptive, secure protocol) is that it bypasses the TCP bottleneck and utilizes all available bandwidth to move data while adapting its transmission rate to avoid disrupting other standard TCP traffic. (You can view Aspera's data transfer benchmarks that show examples of transfer times for various file sizes over MAN, High Speed WAN, Satellite, Intercontinental, and Wireless.)

Aspera's long list of customers include many from the entertainment and scientific communities; sectors that create large chunks of digital data that need to be moved from one place to another securely and must arrive in the same condition it was sent in. Like any well-behaved data transfer software, Aspera resumes partial transfers and retries failed transfers. It also uses data encryption and data integrity verification to make sure that data in transit as well as data at rest is secured and complete.

Aspera's website indicates both the U.S. Military and Intelligence communities have deployed Aspera's software globally. Aside from indicating that the government trusts it to be secure (even the NSA has deployed Aspera's software), it also makes IBM's acquisition a bit easier to move forward with, since government entities tend to balk when someone who does not normally play in their space acquires a software vendor they use.

Aspera's cloud based on-demand data transport is included as a service offering in both Windows Azure Marketplace and Amazon Web Services; the company's ability to integrate its software into the cloud is certainly one of the features that makes it so attractive to IBM. This acquisition is one of several technologies IBM has added to its cloud portfolio which began in earnest when IBM acquired cloud host SoftLayer earlier this year. IBM intends to integrate Aspera's technology into its SoftLayer cloud offering later in 2014. 

IBM expects the acquisition will complete during the first quarter of 2014; no financial terms were disclosed. 

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Bill Oliver has been working in Healthcare for the past 30+ years in a variety of management roles including Material Management, Purchasing, Nurse Registry, and IT. In the past 12 years his focus has been on the business end of IT Contracts, Software Licensing and Purchasing.

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