User Behaviour and Needs Learned from 5 Years of FileSender Usage

FileSender (known as Cloudstor in Australia) has now been used in Australia for nearly 5 years, by over 22,000 users, and with over 500,000 transactions recorded. It is also in use in over 25 other countries. This paper reports on what the transactions in Australia and 3 European countries reveal about the patterns of usage and traffic flows, locally, nationally and internationally. It examines the reasons why so many users have used it and continue to use it, and why it has been adopted so widely. It seeks to draw conclusions and lessons about the nature of user activity requiring the interchange of files. It then also looks briefly at usage of AARNet's newer ad hoc cloud storage product, built on ownCloud, and branded Cloudstor+, also developed by AARNet in response to a perceived need and as a follow-on product to FileSender, to check if the lessons learned with FileSender are evident in the data on Cloudstor+ usage. FileSender is a file transfer utility that was developed by AARNet in conjunction with HEANet (the Irish NREN) and UniNett (the Norwegian NREN), and more recently SURFnet (the Dutch NREN). It was developed in response to the perceived need for an easy-to-use way of transferring large files between researchers. The traditional way of transferring files has been to attach them to emails. But most email systems will not permit files to be sent larger than 10 or 100Mbytes. And files larger than 2Gbytes are especially hard to transfer, given certain Web limitations. There is no practical limit to the size of files that FileSender can handle. Based on analyses of the FileSender log files, the paper draws what conclusions it can about what can be learned about user activity and requirements, in particular relating to needs to move data about, that might shed light on user needs, and also inform future service development. It demonstrates how these lessons have been applied to the development of Cloudstor+.


  • Alex Reid AARNet and The University of Western Australia


  • Alex Reid

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