ChevronTexaco is to deploy Digital Fountain’s technology to speed data transfer from its remote sites. The primary application will be transferring 1-5 GB data files from platforms and onshore drilling sites in an effort to speed up the interpretative process. Such data was previously transferred to tape, and sent by courier services. Bandwidth limitations also led to the use of in-country professionals to perform analysis at considerable cost. Digital Fountain’s (DF) technology claims to optimize the use of existing bandwidth which, according to DF is ‘saddled with the performance issues associated with TCP where high latency and loss are major issues’. DF’s flagship product Transporter Fountain is described as a ‘no compromise’ data delivery product that provides speed without sacrificing reliability. Digital Fountain claims that its solution ‘outperforms any standard FTP server by orders of magnitude*’.
DF leverages what is described as its ‘revolutionary’ Meta-Content technology whereby data packets do not need to be received sequentially. Meta-Content encodes data into a series of equations from which ‘an unlimited number of users can reconstruct a perfect copy of the original content’. Meta-Content is claimed to eliminate the need for retransmissions or receipt acknowledgement and makes data loss irrelevant. Transporter Fountain provides a drag and drop content management interface with support for all major attached storage file sharing systems, including NFS, CIFS, and SMB. The Fountain is available in two chassis sizes a 1 RU Fountain Server with 1.5 Gbps output and 5 GB storage and a 2 RU Fountain Server with 1.5 Gbps output and 85 GB.
Transmission rates can be adjusted to arbitrate and prioritize individual data transfers. ‘Congestion control’ is built in to the Transporter Fountain meaning that the administrator is in control of the rate of transfer, not the network conditions or the intrinsic limitations of a transfer protocol.
*Editor’s note – the ‘orders of magnitude’ claim would appear somewhat extravagant, our vanilla FTP exchanges from France to the US usually take place at speeds approaching the nominal bandwidth of our ADSL line.