Web Farm

A “web farm” is a high availability application architecture that is common to many vendors and products.  It usually involves the use of multiple web (HTTP/S) application servers, each serving the same function, and often relying on the use of round-robin session distribution from a network load balancer (NLB).    However, the term is also often applied to other servers that provide services to the web, notably FTP/S, SFTP and AS2 servers in the context of file transfer.

Web farms are used to provide horizontal scalability at a single location (e.g., adding additional web farm nodes in Dallas to expand capacity from 20K users to 40K users).  They are also usually deployed in a multi-tier architecture, where data actually resides on “back end” database or file servers.

Managed File Transfer Web Farm

 

Web farms also fill a failover role in the sense that surviving web farm nodes can assume the duties of dead web farm nodes in an emergency.  However, this is only true when the surviving web nodes have enough capacity to serve the remaining system requirements; lose too many web nodes and you lose your failover capability too.

BEST PRACTICES: If high performance is a requirement, managed file transfer solutions with web farm architectures are preferred.  If deployed in Internet-facing servers, highly secure file transfer solutions should allow back-end data systems to reside on a separate “data zone” in a web farm configuration.   Web farms at a single location should be able to be DR recovered at a second location through the use of SAN replication from location to location.

Managed File Transfer Web Farm with SAN Replication

WS_FTP Home

WS_FTP Home was a commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  It was in the market for about five years but was retired in favor of a new edition of WS_FTP LE in 2010.

WS_FTP Home offered a two-panel user interactive user interface and batch scripts that can be scheduled with Windows scheduler.  The protocols were all variants of FTP/S.

WS_FTP Home was a stripped down version of WS_FTP Professional.  The main features missing from the stripped down version were SFTP and scripting/scheduling.

See also “WS_FTP LE” and “WS_FTP Professional“.

WS_FTP LE

WS_FTP LE is a free commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  The current edition is built on WS_FTP Home‘s code base and was reintroduced to the market in 2010.

WS_FTP LE offers a two-panel user interactive user interface and its supported protocols are all variants of FTP/S.

WS_FTP LE is a stripped down version of WS_FTP Professional.  The main features missing from the stripped down version are SFTP and scripting/scheduling.

The original version of WS_FTP LE was one of the most popular pieces of freeware ever (nearly a hundred million downloads). The original combination of WS_FTP LE and WS_FTP Professional provided one of the most successful implementations of the now-common “freemium” software business plan ever.

See also “WS_FTP Professional” and “WS_FTP Home“.  WS_FTP LE may be obtained from www.wsftple.com.

FULL DISCLOSURE: The president of File Transfer Consulting pushed through the retirement of WS_FTP Home and the return of WS_FTP LE while serving as VP of Product Management at Ipswitch.

WS_FTP Professional

WS_FTP Professional is a commercial file transfer client for Windows desktops.  It offers a two-panel user interactive user interface and batch scripts that can be scheduled with Windows scheduler.  Supported protocols include FTP/S and SFTP, plus proprietary HTTPS connections to MOVEit DMZ.

See also “WS_FTP LE” and “WS_FTP Home“.

BEST PRACTICE: The WS_FTP clients still constitute one of the most popular desktop FTP brands in the market today.  All credible file transfer applications should support file transfers with WS_FTP Professional over the FTP/S and SFTP protocols.

   
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