[unisog] friendly, secure web based file transfer applications

Russell Fulton r.fulton at auckland.ac.nz
Tue Aug 30 21:22:30 GMT 2005

Russell Fulton wrote:
> HI,
>       We have a medical imaging group on campus who need to make large (1GB) image files available to collaborators off campus (and often over seas).
> They started out with a java based system from http://www.unlimitedftp.ca which (unbeknown to them) does all sorts of jigger-pokery with TCP to 'improve' data transfer rates. It uses aggressive acking etc to break the TCP flow control model.  There is some papers on the site that describe the process.  Anyway while this works fine on campus it breaks badly when used from outside -- I suspect that our stateful firewall is getting confused when it sees ACKs for data it knows has not been sent...
> So we are now looking for something that will work using standard protocols.  As far as I can tell the requirements are:
> 1/ secure authenticated access (e.g no plain text passwords visible on net) 
> 2/ private data transfer   i.e. encrypted data transfers
> 3/ simple straight forward interface for non technical folk (strong pref for using just a browser).
> 4/ runs on IIS.
> 5/ hmmm.... given the size of the files some form of restart capability would be nice
> standard FTP fails the first three of these requirements.
> There must be some simple SSL wrapped web based apps that do this without going to the length of having java applets.  I could write one but I don't have the time and it isn't my job!
> Anyone know of anything, either commercial or free?

A couple of people contacted me off list asking "what's wrong with a SSL wrapped, password protected web site".  That's a good question and one that I have not been able to get a sensible answer from our users about.

We don't want to go the ssh/scp/sftp route because it will involve extra software on client machines which will be scattered all over the place.  There is also the issue of shell access etc.

So, I will almost certainly recommend the simple obvious solution of dumping the files in a directory and turning on auto indexing (at least for that directory).  The fact that there are no pre built canned solutions strongly suggest (to me at least) that there is not a problem.

It is good to see that windows ssh/ftp clients are improving but until this funtionality comes build into browsers it isn't a starter for this project.

Cheers and thanks to all those who responded,


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