Our customers have different needs and use cases, but they all appreciate the flexibility of Thru’s client/server functionality. This blog post will describe an SFTP file transfer and explain how we help you meet your file transfer use cases.
Before diving into how the file transfer happens, let’s review the differences between a server and a client, as shown in the following table:
|Higher processing power||Lower processing power|
|Has resources shared by every user on the network||Used by individual users on the network||Stores information and fulfills requests from client||Requests information from server|
|Passive – never initiates requests||Active – always initiates requests|
|Examples: database server, file server||Examples: PCs and laptops|
How a File Transfer Between an STFP Client and an SFTP Server Works
Together, the server and client make up a request-response messaging pattern, in which one party requests the data and the other responds. The term “direction of connection” describes which computer initiates the connection.
In this example, the direction of connection is from an SFTP client to an SFTP server. This is how the transfer works:
- The server listens for connections on a specific port, typically the TCP (transmission control protocol) port 22. Steps 2-4 describe how the TCP handshake establishes the connection.
- The client sends a message (called a SYN) to the server to check its presence.
- The server sends an acknowledgement, called a SYN ACK, to the client.
- The client sends another acknowledgement message to the server.
- After the TCP handshake, the client provides credentials to authenticate the user and server.
- The file is transferred and available for download. Users may be able to see additional transfer information, including time/date, size, permissions, etc.
Thru’s Client/Server Functionality
Thru can act as a client or a server to help you meet two types of requirements:
- Business requirements
If you and your partner only use servers to transfer files, Thru makes the connection possible.
- Security requirements
If a partner prohibits inbound connections for security reasons, they can use a client behind their firewall to push files to Thru, which acts as a server.
With Thru, you can transfer files in any server-client combination:
- Source Server Endpoint to Target Server Endpoint »
- Source Client Endpoint to Target Client Endpoint »
- Source Server Endpoint to Target Client Endpoint »
- Source Client Endpoint to Target Server Endpoint »
1. Source Server Endpoint to Target Server Endpoint
Thru pulls files from a source server endpoint and pushes them to a target server endpoint.
2. Source Client Endpoint to Target Client Endpoint
Note: In Thru, client endpoints require a FTPS/SFTP client application to authenticate, upload and download files.
The source client endpoint pushes files to Thru, then the target client endpoint pulls them.
3. Source Server Endpoint to Target Client Endpoint
Thru pulls files from a source server endpoint. Then, the target client endpoint pulls files from Thru.
4. Source Client Endpoint to Target Server Endpoint
The source client endpoint pushes files to Thru, which pushes them to a target server endpoint.
Client-Server Relationship for File Transfers
Organizations are sometimes limited by the client-server relationship. Because client-to-client and server-to-server file transfers are not possible without an entity in between, the IT team creates and manages more endpoints to perform the necessary transfers.
However, by having both client and server functionality, Thru removes endpoint limits and simplifies partner onboarding. In addition to integrating with clients and servers, Thru integrates with integration platforms, productivity apps and more. Learn more about our file transfer integrations »