GuidesJava-based FTP server good at supporting mirrored FTP sites for load balancing.

Java-based FTP server good at supporting mirrored FTP sites for load balancing.




There are a lot of FTP servers, as you can tell from the list of products
reviewed here at ServerWatch. In this crowded field, the smart companies have
tailored their servers to fit certain uses or punch up certain features to
distinguish themselves. A good example is CrushFTP, Inc. CrushFTP 3.0, which
takes the tack of providing features that allow it to play as an FTP aggregator
by providing access to directories on other FTP servers across the Internet. As
an example of this capability, CrushFTP specifically supports mirror sites that
can be used for load balancing. Its sophisticated enough to be able to switch
from a main server to a mirror server when the traffic reaches a maximum
bandwidth.

In this crowded field, the smart companies have
tailored their servers to fit certain uses or punch up certain features to
distinguish themselves.

This is a compact (about 750K), easy to install, Java based FTP server —
which means it runs on any Java-ready platform. All you need is the Java
environment, essentially JRE 1.3 and Swing. CrushFTP doesnt ship with an FTP
client but responds to most third-party browser and standalone clients. We found
the performance to be average across a test suite of files and directories.

In addition to the virtual server capabilities, Crush FTP can also handle
virtual directories, meaning you can map directories into a list used by
CrushFTP, and change names, permissions, and rights as you wish. This makes it
possible to add directories from remote servers and still have the necessary
security controls.

Given the distributed FTP capabilities, security rises in importance —
meaning that standard garden-variety login and bandwidth restrictions arent
sufficient. Fortunately, CrushFTP offers a well-designed and reasonably detailed
approach to security and server management. The primary control is through a
management module that can be used both locally and remotely. Among other
things, at the server level file extensions can be monitored, hammering is
controlled, and filenames can be blocked. Another module, the User Manager,
provides GUI access to dozens of user and group security options including
account expiration, upload purging, and IP inclusion/exclusion. On the down
side, CrushFTP does not provide SSL support.

There is no scripting, per se, but CrushFTP does have event actions — server
events — that can trigger email, file, log, and beep actions. Combined with a
long list of server variables (e.g. account information, session information) a
lot of sophisticated activity can be accomplished with this approach.

Up to this point CrushFTP is an excellent shareware product, and then we come
to documentation — there is almost none — no manual, no online help (at least
we couldnt find it in the program or at the Web site). This is not good, of
course, especially for people unfamiliar with the jargon and techniques of
managing an FTP server, although the user interface does make it possible to do
basic things (like a wizard for adding users) without needing documentation.
However this is the first program weve seen in ages that doesnt have the
(usually) ubiquitous “?” help icon somewhere in the program. We hate
to say it, but if you dont already know the territory, you probably dont
want to go here.

In a crowded FTP server market, CrushFTP distinguishes
itself as an especially good choice for those who wish to aggregate or network
more than one server. Despite the lack of documentation, its got the
management and security features it needs and a shareware pricing policy that
makes working with multiple servers less of a divot in the budget.

Pros: 7 Multi-platform, virtual server and directory support, 7 Remote
management of multiple servers

Cons: 7 Nonexistent documentation, 7 No SSL support, 7 User list
is manual entry

 

Version Reviewed: 3.0b20

Reviewed by: Nelson King
Date of Original Review: 11/28/2001
Last Updated: 5/28/02

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