What Is MFTaaS (Managed File Transfer as a Service)?

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Conceptual illustration of application developer using MFTaaS to transfer files in the cloud
“As a service” is not a new concept for companies like Salesforce, Slack and other enterprise business application developers. However, for many organizations who are looking for managed file transfer (MFT) in the cloud, the “service” part is still not fully understood.

Managed file transfer as a service (MFTaaS) is a cloud MFT solution in which the vendor handles software updates, fault tolerance, load balancing and scaling.

Advantages of MFTaaS

MFTaaS is becoming more popular because it reduces the strain on IT teams and improves IT productivity.

Other benefits include:

  • Less downtime. If the vendor is managing the MFT software correctly, there should be little or no downtime for updates — increasing IT productivity and reducing business disruption.
  • Fast and easy scaling. Since the vendor handles scaling, your IT team can focus on more value-adding activities. There’s no need to set up servers, maintain them or add new ones to match demand.
  • High availability and disaster recovery is included. It’s time-consuming and difficult for your IT team to guarantee high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) for your MFT solution. By letting a vendor handle it, you give them back time for other projects.

MFTaaS vs On-Premises MFT Operational Costs

For decades, MFT solutions have been installed on-premises as part of a broader B2B integration architecture of systems such as enterprise service buses (ESBs) and B2B gateways. Many companies are now migrating to cloud-native enterprise integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) and want to know how MFT can align with a cloud-native integration framework.

IT leaders tell us one of the biggest problems they find with on-premises MFT is its significant capital and operational costs, such as:

  • Software deployment and patches
  • Infrastructure deployment and patches
  • Backups and high availability
  • Data security
  • Server maintenance and energy footprint
  • System administrators and support staff

These costs consume a large portion of the IT budget even in the system’s lowest use periods, making it inefficient to scale. With Thru, companies only pay for what they use. It doesn’t require any on-premises deployment and delivers continuous updates, which reduces maintenance and lets IT focus more on business and innovation.

MFTaaS Frequently Asked Questions for Thru

When we talk with customers about our MFTaaS solution, we hear questions like “When do you do releases? Can we have disaster recovery? What is the capacity?”

To explain:

  • Software Updates – We serve the same software version and everyone has it. It’s always compatible with earlier versions. There is no downtime to the service and as a customer you don’t need to plan. It’s a service, so we do all the work. On-premises node upgrades are automatic.
  • Fault Tolerance / High Availability / Disaster Recovery – These come as standard. Non-HA is not an option. We are a service and our infrastructure is designed like other cloud services to ensure we have redundancy in place. Thru guarantees high availability with no single point of failure.
  • Load Balancing / Scalability – Thru is a cloud service: We auto-scale on demand. This is the beauty of our cloud-native elastic architecture.
  • Service Pricing – Our service is usage-based. This means you pay for what you use and benefit from scale: The more you use, the less per unit you pay.

Oil and Gas Enterprise Adopts MFTaaS

This oil and gas company generates and digests massive amounts of data to report processes such as seismic activity, drilling activity and production rates. To flow large data files between enterprise and partner systems, the company was using various on-premises FTP servers.

These legacy servers became time-consuming and costly to maintain, so the search began for a cloud solution with the goal of eliminating on-premises equipment.

The company selected our MFTaaS due to its consolidation of file exchange protocols, easy user experience and usage-based pricing model. Another driver was Thru’s out-of-the-box connector for the MuleSoft Anypoint Platform™, a cloud-native integration platform already adopted by the company. This solution simplified file transfer integrations with the company’s numerous systems such as SAP and Salesforce.

After deploying our MFT service in the cloud, the company saw a 10-times reduction in operating expenses and accelerated the delivery of business-critical data by 2.5 times.

Diagram showing how Thru's MFTaaS accelerates file delivery and reduces operating expenses for oil and gas company

[Note: This blog was originally posted on August 24, 2020, and was recently updated.]

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