Background File Transfer Program (BFTP) (RFC1068)
Original Publication Date: 1988-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-15
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
A.L. DeSchon: AUTHOR [+1]
This RFC describes an Internet background file transfer service that is built upon the third-party transfer model of FTP. No new protocols are involved. The purpose of this memo is to stimulate discussions on new Internet service modes.
Network Working Group A. DeSchon Request for Comments: 1068 R. Braden ISI August 1988
Background File Transfer Program (BFTP)
Status of This Memo
This memo describes an Internet background file transfer service that is built upon the third-party transfer model of FTP. No new protocols are involved. The purpose of this memo is to stimulate discussion on new Internet service modes. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
For a variety of reasons, file transfer in the Internet has generally been implemented as an interactive or "foreground" service. That is, a user runs the appropriate local FTP user interface program as an interactive command and requests a file transfer to occur in real time. If the transfer should fail to complete for any reason, the user must reissue the transfer request. Foreground file transfer is relatively simple to implement -- no subtleties of queuing or stable storage -- and in the early days of networking it provided excellent service, because the Internet/ARPANET was lightly loaded and reasonably reliable.
More recently, the Internet has become increasingly subject to congestion and long delays, particularly during times of peak usage. In addition, as more of the world becomes interconnected, planned and unplanned outages of hosts, gateways, and networks sometimes make it difficult for users to successfully transfer files in foreground.
Performing file transfer asynchronously (i.e., in "background"), provides a solution to some of these problems, by eliminating the requirement for a human user to be directly involved at the time that a file transfer takes place. A background file transfer service requires two components: a user interface program to collect the parameters describing the required transfer(s), and a file transfer control (FTC) daemon to carry them out.
DeSchon & Braden [Page 1]
RFC 1068 August 1988
Background file transfer has a number of potential advantages for a user:
o No Waiting
The user can request a large transfer and ignore it until a notification message arrives through some common channel (e.g., electronic mail).
o End-to-end Reliability
The FTC daemon can try a transfer repeatedly until it either succeeds or fails permanently. This provides reliable end-to- end delivery of a file, in spite of the source or destination host being down or poor Internet connectivity during some time period.
o Multiple File Delivery
In order for background file transfer to be accepted in the Internet, it may have to include some "value-added" services. One such service would be an implementation of a multiple file transfer capability for all hosts. Such a facility is suggested in RFC-959 (see the description of "NLST") and implemented in some User-FTP programs.
o Deferred Delivery
The user may wish to defer a large transfer until an off-peak period. This may become important when parts of the Internet adopt accounting and traffic-based cost-recovery mechanisms.
There is a serious human-engineerin...