If you need to transfer large amounts of data to multiple remote computers, you know the problems associated with using a program such as FTP (e.g., interrupted transfers that require you to start over or binary data that is mistakenly sent as ASCII data). If your company uses slow-speed WAN links, transferring one file to a remote site can take hours. StarBurst Multicast, from StarBurst Communications, is a network communica- tions program you can use to reduce the time required to transfer large files to remote sites.
StarBurst Multicast lets you transfer data to multiple recipients simultaneously. If you transfer a large inventory file to four remote sites using FTP, you probably perform a serial transfer (i.e., you connect to one site and transfer the file and repeat this process for the other three sites). With StarBurst Multicast, you perform a parallel transfer (i.e., establish a connection to all re- mote sites simultaneously and transmit one copy of the data over a communications link).
Installation Is a Snap
StarBurst Multicast has three components: the proprietary protocol engine, server, and client. You must install two components--the protocol engine and the server or client software--on each computer you use. To install the components (each of which arrives on a 3.5" disk), run setup.exe on each disk. If you intend to perform unattended transfers at night and need to remind employees to launch the software before they leave, the setup program can install a shortcut in your Start menu.
After installation is complete, you can use the software. Running the server software yields a Main Menu window that contains functional icons. When you click the Transfer icon, the software prompts you for the name of the file you want to transfer, the remote filename you want to save the file as, and other configuration and informational parameters. When you click Start, the transfer commences.
Using the Software's Components
You must install the proprietary protocol engine on every client and server on your network. The protocol engine provides the increased throughput necessary to transmit data quickly to remote locations. The server component transfers data to recipient systems. The client component (or recipient system) resides on your WAN, monitors the network, and listens for transfers. When the server announces an impending transfer to a group of clients, the client systems send a registration message to the server. This message tells the server that the clients are ready to receive the data, and the transfer begins. After the file transfers successfully to each client, the clients notify the server. Screen 1 shows the Transfer Statistics screen, which provides information about the data you are transferring.
The server component contains the Monitor Transfer screen. This screen lets you view the number of clients in your multicast group and the number of clients registered (i.e., online and available to receive files). The Monitor Transfer screen provides statistics about how many clients have completed, aborted, or declined transfers; the longest and shortest transfer times; and file summary information (e.g., file size and total bytes per second transferred).
A Job Well Done
StarBurst Multicast recovers from transmission errors quickly. When the software transfers a file, it divides the file into blocks. Each block contains multiple frames. If a client receives a bad frame, the server resends the frame (but not the entire block) to the client on a subsequent file transmission.
StarBurst Multicast is a multiplatform client/server application. You can use the server software on Windows NT and UNIX servers and the client software on DOS, Windows 95, and some UNIX systems.
StarBurst Multicast addresses the needs of companies that must transmit one file to multiple destinations. StarBurst's multicasting features save you time; however, the high price tag might deter you from purchasing it.
| Contact: StarBurst Communications * 978-287-5560 or 800-585-3889|
Price: $400 per server for 250 servers
System Requirements: Windows NT 3.51 or 4.0 or Windows 95, 486 processor or better, 8MB of RAM