IBM Aspera Faspex 5 Released

PacGenesis_IBM_Faspex_5_Released
Aspera / IBM

IBM Aspera Faspex 5 Released

Introduction

Aspera Faspex is a widely-used web application with an easy-to-use email-like interface for sending and receiving digital packages, utilizing the FASP high-speed data transfer technology.

IBM has released version 5 of Faspex, which brings many new enhancements for administrators and users.

All-New Interface

The user interface has been completely redesigned, based on the IBM Carbon Design System.

The new interface is a single-page application and gives a streamlined user experience. Users of Aspera on Cloud will be immediately familiar with the app. Navigating between apps and views, sending and receiving packages, and monitoring in-flight transfers are all available in a seamless and responsive view that works well in desktop and mobile browsers.

Transfers continue to use the free Aspera Connect client. The Transfer Activity slide out pane on the right side of the app gives easier access to monitoring currently running transfers and recent history without switching windows.

A new Admin interface gives helpful information about your Faspex system in a simple dashboard.

The Dropbox feature in earlier Faspex versions has been renamed Shared Inboxes, and continues to allow popular functionality such as customized metadata fields. Package submitters are prompted to provide metadata about the content they are sending. Administrators can define free form text fields, option lists and date fields, each can be marked as required or optional.

Architecture and System Changes

Faspex 5 uses a new platform architecture and is fully containerized. The installation will run multiple containers for system functions.

The containerized architecture allows for easier system automation and HA deployment. A MariaDB container is included with the installation, but utilizing a compatible external DB (MariaDB v10.7.3+ for the Faspex 5.0.0 release) will be useful for HA scenarios.

Faspex 5 now uses nginx instead of Apache httpd for a front-end web server.

Faspex 5 also includes full support for the Aspera HTTP Gateway. The HTTP Gateway provides a mechanism for users to continue uploading and downloading files over HTTPS, even if they are unable to install the Aspera Connect client.

Faspex 5 also includes a separate Admin Utility application. This interface is entirely separate from the main web app and provides these admin functions:

  • Backing up the database
  • Restoring the database
  • Migrating the database
  • Managing local (non-SAML) admin credentials
  • Determining duplicate email addresses
  • Monitoring database performance

For more information about the Utility, please visit our separate blog post at:

https://pacgenesis.com/accessing-the-faspex-5-utility-application/

API Changes

Faspex 5 is fully REST API driven. All functions of the web interface leverage the API, so automation and integrating with the rest of your workflow is easier than ever.

The new API is documented at:

https://developer.ibm.com/apis/catalog/aspera–ibm-aspera-faspex-5-0-api/api/API–aspera–ibm-aspera-faspex-api

Breaking Changes

Some features from previous versions of Faspex have changed or are no longer available.

  • No direct support for LDAP or Active Directory – for security purposes, Faspex no longer makes direct LDAP connections for user authentication. Administrators must use a SAML IdP for single sign-on, backed by your user directory
  • Rake tasks are no longer available – the new Faspex API can be used for this functionality
  • Post-processing scripts are no longer available – the new Faspex API can be used for automation

For a full list of breaking changes, please see the Release Notes in the Faspex 5 Admin guide at:

https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/aspera-faspex

Future Enhancements

Faspex 5 is the new foundation for web applications in customer-managed deployments. In the future, functionality currently available in Aspera Shares such as transferring and sharing directly from storage are expected to be made available as a new application inside of Faspex 5.

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