RealTime IT News

Ipswitch Floats New FTP Features

File Transfer Protocol has been a stalwart standard of the Internet protocol for many years. Now, Ipswitch has upgraded its WS-FTP server to do more than send files over the Internet.

"We're looking at how to link the movement of data to a business process," Ipswitch COO Bill Pollack said in a statement. "We're making it possible for anyone in a business setting to automatically be notified the second any data files integral to his or her success are updated."

The Ipswitch Notification Server tool alerts authorized users that a file has been received, uploaded or downloaded. The notification can occur via an e-mail that includes relevant information like transfer time and file size.

The system also allows for notification through short messaging service and pagers. The system will also integrate with other client applications like customer relationship management software.

Ipswitch launched its first FTP client software in 1992 and recently hit the 40 million-user milestone. Besides notification, the new WS-FTP server bolsters the security with new features including, Clear Command Channel (CCC) and Rule Engine and Server Management Control, additions that give IT managers more control over who uses their FTP servers.

"We're incorporating what we've heard from customers is needed," Kevin Gillis, the WS-FTP product manager at Ipswitch, told internetnews.com. "That is incorporating business rules and workflow into an application that is more intelligent than just moving files across the pipes."

According to Gillis, the problem of FTP notification is something the Ipswitch itself had to grapple with internally and was also part of the motivation for the notification server.

"You send a file through an FTP server and then the next thing you do is send an e-mail, or you IM somebody or you pick up the phone to tell them the file is there and where it is," Gillis said. "We're automating that."

WS-FTP operates in an increasingly competitive space with open source FTP projects and new technologies like the peer-to-peer BitTorrent, aiming to erode WS-FTP's market position.

"The idea of doing peer to peer is exciting but at the same time with all the compliance and regulations issues, a lot of companies are not willing to give that up and probably never will," Gillis said. "They need to have logging and archiving, they need to have more control over it."

Gillis believes that there is pent up demand for this type of functionality, especially in an era when most companies no longer want to use e-mail attachments for file transfer.

"FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol and that's what it should be used for," Gillis said.

The next version of Ipswitch's client FTP software, WS-FTP Pro version 9 is expected to be released at the end of June. For the first time, it will integrate PGP encryption directly into the product allowing users to encrypt/decrypt and transfer files securely all from one application interface.