Any ideas-quickest way, how to transfer a 200GB mdf file from one server to another?

  • Does this belong on ServerFault?
    – SLaks
    Feb 11 '10 at 14:22
  • 1
    Are they in the same network?
    – fretje
    Feb 11 '10 at 14:23
  • 1
    An external drive? Feb 11 '10 at 14:24
  • @Vincent: an external drive connected how? USB 2.0 is quite a bottlenect given today's HD speeds. Feb 11 '10 at 14:30
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    @Michael eSata would seem the obvious answer
    – Andy
    Feb 11 '10 at 14:52

Massimo recently asked a question that is somewhat similiar, albeit he was talking about a high-latency network. You don't specify what kind of network it is (gigabit Ethernet LAN, some kind of WAN, etc), but the answer I gave there might give you some ideas, as well.

In particular, the uftp utility that I suggested gave Massimo some pretty decent-looking results on his high-latency WAN. I haven't gotten a chance to test it yet over a gigabit Ethernet LAN but from its description it sounds like it would do a pretty good job of filling up a pipe.

It uses multicast IP to do the copying, so if you only end up needing to copy the file to multiple locations this tool would be a "win" immediately since the file only needs to traverse the network once to be received by an arbitrary number of destinations.


I would make moving it safely the first priority, and speed second. Safest way is to backup and restore, that could be made faster using backup compression tools such as litespeed - would result in a smaller file to copy / restore.

Less-safe options will be dettach / attach etc.


I would probably use the Microsoft eseutil tool. It's not specifically for this purpose (it's a tool to move large exchange databases around) but can be used for other databases and logs.

From Microsft: "Depending on disk and network conditions, copy file mode may be able to copy a file up to 20 percent faster than a normal copy because the copy file mode in Eseutil copies files in larger blocks of data."

More info at Microsoft here.

  • "The Exchange Server Database Utilities (Eseutil.exe) /Y copy file mode is optimized to copy very large files efficiently. You can use the /Y switch to copy a database file or log file. However, the mode is not suitable as a general purpose copy utility. "
    – icky3000
    Feb 11 '10 at 14:37
  • I read it that the utility can be used for database and log files, but not for other general purpose copies? Feb 11 '10 at 15:04

Well my first thought would be netcat, if you are on a Gigabit Network this should work rather quickly. Netcat Examples


Richcopy seems a good alternative (from this post) if you can guarantee your local network runs at a decent speed.


Given that a mdf is mostly text (unless you're storing binary images etc in the tables, in which case you should take a good hard look at what you're doing), zipping up the file will give some pretty impressive results. In the past we've zipped a 80gb mdf down to 10gb - this makes it a lot easier to copy around.

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