(Gawkwire) – Partner Patrol, a cloud service that monitors the secure file transfer and managed file transfer servers companies use to exchange bulk data with trading partners, was announced today by File Transfer Consulting, LLC ("FTC").

“Partner Patrol immediately adds value to any existing file transfer deployment,” said Jonathan Lampe, President of FTC. “It allows end users to gain visibility into the reliability of their trading partners while providing a valuable troubleshooting utility to both partners and clients.”

The service allows users to import file transfer partner profiles from their existing software or build profiles by hand through a web interface. Profiles are grouped into projects, which can then be monitored as a group or shared with other people.

“The ability to import and share partner profiles with colleagues was incredibly important to the design,” said FTC CTO Andy White. “We felt the managed file transfer community could use a service that’s more about choosing and using than retyping yet another configuration.”

Partner Patrol currently supports profiles imported from the popular RhinoSoft.com FTP Voyager and FileZilla Client packages but support for more than a dozen software packages is expected before the service exits beta.

"Support for Ipswitch’s MOVEit Central managed file transfer engine will be ready next week and we plan to add support for a new secure file transfer or managed file transfer technology about once a week after that," said White.

Monitored partner sites are displayed in a configurable web-based dashboard which can be viewed and edited from modern desktops and tablets. Each panel on the dashboard contains a bar graph and percentage of recent uptime. Clicking on panels drills down into reports that detail downtime by server, protocol and time of day.

Weekly or monthly reports are automatically sent to each registered user. These reports allow Partner Patrol users to compare actual uptime against internal expectations or specific partner service level agreements (SLAs).    Near real time alerts are also sent when Partner Patrol detects that a monitored partner is no longer accessible from the Internet.

Unlike general-purpose monitoring services, Partner Patrol always performs a full protocol connection. For instance, if the SFTP protocol is selected, Partner Patrol will negotiate a full SSH session (not just the TCP port) and access the SFTP subsystem before declaring the attempt a success.

“Even though it makes up 80% of an enterprise’s traffic flows, file transfer is still often just a second class citizen in many IT environments,” said Lampe. “What’s refreshing about Partner Patrol is that it serves the needs of transmissions specialists first.”

The first edition of Partner Patrol entered production this week as a private beta (prior permission required to use), and a public beta is expected soon. Full access to Partner Patrol is available without a fee during the expected three month beta period and some level of free access is envisioned for the life of the service.   

“We intend to add a paid tier for power users and add additional capabilities for trading partners who host file transfer servers by the end of the year,” said White. “At that point we will conclude the beta program, though we intend to grandfather our early adopters into free accounts and maintain several free offerings for new users forever.”

Throughout the beta period Partner Patrol is also encouraging file transfer developers to use its RESTful API to help import, share and export profiles from its database.

“RESTful interfaces are great because they let developers pick the right programming language for the job,” said Lampe. “By exposing APIs in this fashion, Partner Patrol opens the door to low-cost, easy-to-use community management that nearly any file transfer developer can leverage.”

File Transfer Consulting, LLC ("FTC") is North America’s first consulting firm completely focused on managed file transfer issues. Though allied with four leading product vendors (Ipswitch, Linoma Software, Flux and RhinoSoft.com), FTC’s project-based engagements and add-on technology afford FTC staff the flexibility to look beyond off-the-shelf technology and tailor solutions for specific business needs.   

To apply for the Partner Patrol beta program (scheduled to run through November 2011) or sign up for the service, please visit http://www.partnerpatrol.com.

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