MFT in 2020
Updated: Jan 10
Managed File Transfer: the method of transferring files between locations over a network. Believe it or not, the world still runs on a text file. I know because I have built several systems that are eerily dependent on big files (no pun intended) moving data between organizations on a routine basis is what it's all about. Contained within these files is important mission critical information. Use cases like rewards points, customer profile updates, new applications and so on. The only thing that has really changed in the last several years regarding MFT is the mandate to increase the volume of these transfers and to do so in a highly secure manner.
Enter the cloud and it's centralized capabilities by design. Most MFT solutions are still operating in a peer-to-peer mode, meaning every vendor subscribes to a partner and initiates either push or pull processes to transfer files routinely. The future of MFT is unknown. For the most part existing systems are working and secure. The main driver for innovation might be cost. As more and more files are sent the complexity of managing encryption keys along with credentials provided by each partner causes this business function to become more and more costly due to complexity.
Delays related to downtime or catch-up scenarios as files require processing once they have transferred are well known. Several technologies promise to help this. One of them is Message Queuing. Message Queuing aims to provide read and write capabilities real-time via web services that are exposed to partners usually over the Internet. The connections are similar and the functions perform well, but the volume becomes the bottle neck as most transaction systems are bogged down by a high level of remote transaction requests. Sometimes this problem is handled with a technique referred to as batch vs real-time. At the end of the day most environments deploy both methods using real-time MQ to get up to date results although in smaller increments. Followed by large daily file transfers that bring the entire data set over to reconcile, archive and process.
I would like to see a review of corporate MFT solutions out there. This might initiate a faster move to the cloud, in general, for all data transfers. This is something that Bigfile is activity working on. Stay tuned.