Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I wasn't sure if this was the best place for this question, but I think it is squarely in the realm of the IT admin so that's the reason I put it here.

We need to share large files (several Gigabytes) with external clients. We need a simple way of reliably and automatically publishing these files so that clients can then download them. Our organization has Windows desktops and a Windows SBS 2011 server.

Sharing from our server is probably suboptimal from the client's perspective, because of the low upstream bandwidth of typical ADSL (around 1 Mbps) - it would take all day (9 hours for a 4Gb file) for the client to download the file.

Uploading to a 3rd party sever is good for the client but painful for us, because we then have to deal with a multi-hour upload.

Uploading to a third-part server would be less problematic if it could be made reliable and automatic, e.g. something like a Groove/SharePoint Workspace, simply drop the file in and wait for it to synchronize - but Groove has a 2Gb limit which is not big enough.

So ideally I'd like a service with the following attributes:

  • Must work for files of at least 5Gb, preferably 10Gb
  • Once the transfer is started, it must be reliable (i.e. not sensitive to disconnections and service outages) and completely automatic
  • Ideally, the sender would get a notification when the transfer completes.
  • Has to work with Windows based systems.

Any suggestions?

share|improve this question
You're asking for a service recommendation, which is off-topic. That said, Dropbox has a business product that would likely work well for you. – EEAA Feb 7 '12 at 15:07
i don't think its so offtopic. 3rd party services that can replace the need of maintenance on the own side and offload resources are a relevant factor when you are in charge of a server system. for example i am considering using amazons object oriented database service for a long time now, but still have decided not to (for several reasons). but now i have the pain in the ass of maintaining database servers, backups etc. – The Shurrican Feb 7 '12 at 15:25
@JoeHopfgartner - Read the FAQ. Product or service recommendations are explicitly off-topic. Case closed. – EEAA Feb 7 '12 at 15:48
granted. @ErikA – The Shurrican Feb 7 '12 at 16:40
Well, the answer might be a service recommendation, but it might not. I won't know that until I have an answer. I'm really interested in how other IT admins have solved this problem, which must be fairly common yet frustratingly difficult to solve given the asymmetric nature of broadband internet connections. – Tim Long Feb 7 '12 at 23:34

I assume you are looking for a server solution and not a SAAS product, otherwise this question would be offtopic.

Sparkleshare is an open source software that could satisfy your needs.

But I would recommend just using rsync to mirror to a remote server that has the bandwidth you require. You can set up this system in minutes and it does everything you want.

Just specify a source folder and drop your files in. Give your Clients web access or ftp access etc on the remote server.

I would recommend starting a shell script with an endless loop that executes rsync and sleeps for 1 second after each iteration. Compared to a Cronjob this has the advantage that you don't get parallel uploads that interfere. And with your large files this would be an issue that I see right now.

Rsync even has the advantage that the files first get uploaded as a "hidden" file with a . prefix and a random name, so taht the client only sees files that are finished uploading and have passed an integrity check.

If a file updates, rsync can also handle this efficiently.

Just this script should be perfect for you:

while [ 1 = 1 ]
rsync -arvz /my/sourcefolder/
sleep 1;

Just monitor its running, put it in autostart, etc.

You can also benefit from compression using rsync.

share|improve this answer
And for using rsync on windows I'd recommend extracting the relvant cygwin binaries. Be sure to use current rsync as older versions do have problems with longer paths. – Jonathan Feb 7 '12 at 15:28
oh you are right! sorry, i unconsciously supressed the "windows part" in my mind :D – The Shurrican Feb 7 '12 at 15:37

You can use the above - you can setup a dedicated windows box for this and create your folder structure for different clients, share those folders on your local lan, any file that goes in those folders - starts to get transferred automatically.

You can also provide your clients with a web interface url or a file catalyst client which connects to your server and downloads these large files.

Riverbed is another solution (google it).

Hope this helps

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.