With the release of the FMW 12c, Oracle has introduced a new and very interesting component called Oracle Managed File Transfer (Oracle MFT). As its name indicates it, its main purpose is to manage and coordinate the transfer of files between several endpoints. In other words Oracle MFT is a simple and secure End-to-End Managed File Gateway.
Oracle MFT has the capability to send and receive files from several sources including : directories, ftp servers, soap based web services, Oracle SCA composites, Services Bus Proxy and Business services, B2B trading partners, Healthcare endpoints and Oracle Data Integrator web services.
Oracle MFT enriches the whole transfer process with several out of the box features. The file transfer can be done directly but it can also be scheduled to execute at a specific time. Transfers can be paused, resumed and also resubmitted in any step of the process if it is needed. It also supports the compression, decompression and PGP encryption/ decryption of files. Files inside the MFT file repository are automatically protected so unwanted access can be avoided.
Oracle MFT comes also with a monitoring tool that gives the end user several statistics regarding success and failure deliveries. It also allows the user to track every delivery that was done, follow current file transfer progress and analyse errors if there were any.
Use Cases and Transfer Patterns
Oracle MFT can be implemented in several use cases including internal file exchange between the SOA Suite and the Service Bus, external file exchange between FTB servers and B2B trading partner and even hybrid cases involving smartphones and multimedia content.
Oracle MFT defines three main file transfer use cases patterns: direct, fan-out and chained. The direct pattern receives the files from an endpoint and sends it directly to another. It can be used, for example, to send a file from Service Bus to an SCA Composite. The fan out pattern receives the file from one or more endpoints and can send it to several others in parallel. A typical scenario could involve a B2B trading partner sending a file to a Service Bus Proxy Service and to a FTP server. The chained pattern allows the interconnection of the previous two patterns into a transfer chain. For example, a file could be sent from FTP to a SCA composite and from that SCA composite to a healthcare endpoint. Also more complex and hybrid scenarios involving different endpoints such as B2B, Service Bus, ODI and SCA can be implemented.
Oracle MFT vs. other FMW technologies
It is important to mention that other Oracle FMW technologies already provide file transfer mechanisms, like the Service Bus and B2B. So why or when is it better to use MFT instead of those other technologies? Well, MFT differentiates itself from other technologies in that it is specially designed to transfer files and its better in some scenarios than the other technologies. MFT can transport very large files (1GB or more). Its multicasting feature (the fan out pattern) provides great performance and reliability. As mentioned above, it also supports unique functions such as pausing, restart and resume of file transfers.
But one aspect that has to be taking into account when deciding wherever to use MFT instead of B2B or Service Bus is that MFT is “content blind”. MFT cannot route messages based on its content like the Service Bus and cannot act on the message format as B2B. Complex routing scenarios or complex message transformations should rather be implemented with SCA, SB or B2B.
In conclusion, Oracle MFT enriches the FMW environment by providing file transfer mechanism that the other components needed and were implemented with great difficulty.
Understanding Oracle Managed File Transfer
Oracle Managed File Transfer: Enterprise File Exchange Fast and Flexible
Handling Large Files with Oracle SOA Suite and Managed File Transfer Pass-by-Reference