Slow, Stalled And Stuck Media Files?

By Mike Nash, Director of Product Management, Signiant

Welcome to the “Zettabyte Era”
The flow of data across the Internet is steadily and constantly increasing. According to a Cisco report, annual global IP traffic is predicted to reach 4.8 ZB by 2022.
That’s a lot of video. Granted, much of it will likely still be pet bloopers and teenage antics, but professional content created and distributed by the Media & Entertainment industry will take up its share as well.

Standard Internet Protocols like FTP struggle with today’s media file sizes
At the same time that traffic is increasing exponentially, so are the media file sizes we’re attempting to move over IP networks. Already 4K files are huge and trends in higher resolution are pushing that mark ever higher. With each jump between 2K, 4K and 8K, pixel rates (and file sizes) square incrementally. Where 4K = 8 megapixels, 8K = 32 megapixels.
The problem is, compared to general traffic, large files are much more taxing for TCP, the standard Internet Protocol that moves data from one point to another and the foundation protocol for FTP (File Transfer Protocol). A 40+ year-old technology, FTP what was once the easiest and most cost-effective way to transfer large files, but there are some growing challenges with FTP in today’s media landscape.

The bigger the file, the slower and less reliable FTP becomes
Any file between 500MB and 1GB approaches a threshold where FTP starts to break down in speed and reliability. Why does FTP struggle so? TCP/FTP use a relatively unsophisticated mechanism to move files, sending only a fraction of the file’s data and waiting for acknowledgement that the data has been received on the other end before sending a bit more, and so on. With anything 1GB and beyond, FTP requires an increasing amount of back and forth to send the entire file, slowing the transfer and risking data loss and failure.

With such poor UX, files aren’t the only things getting stuck
FTP is often thought of as a complete file transfer solution. But FTP is merely the protocol (a set of rules for communication between computers) around which pieced-together solutions are built. FTP alone lacks many basic business needs — like security, notifications, checkpoint restart, storage allocation and management dashboards — requiring ad hoc software written by developers or purchased software add-ons. The result is usually a clumsy solution that is difficult to scale and update, and is beyond the help of even the best user experience (UX) designer. This impacts more than just the people doing file transfers. End users, media operations teams and IT are all impacted by the poor UX of FTP.
Depending on the setup, FTP users and managers run into all types of frustrations. FTP stalls and fails without notifying you, it will not automatically restart where it left off if interrupted, and it doesn’t notify recipients when new files are ready to download.
Media ops and IT managers, on the other hand, know the tediousness of trying to manage storage and bandwidth allocation, keeping an eye on security, onboarding new users and keeping track of all the unsanctioned (and unsecure) “free” file transfer alternatives that employees take to using out of frustration with FTP. All of this adds up to stalled and stuck users, managers and businesses.

Media Shuttle: The file transfer solution for the Zettabyte Era
Companies currently using FTP have two options — replace existing FTP systems with a modern file transfer solution or augment their FTP with a single solution that provides increased speed, reliability, ease of use and security. Signiant’s Media Shuttle can do both.
With over 500,000 users in more than 25,000 businesses moving petabytes of data every month, Media Shuttle is the cloud-native SaaS solution that has become the trusted solution across the global Media & Entertainment industry, fitting the needs of companies large and small.