Shutting down FTP services

Those of you who have been around for a while may remember a time when you used to be able to mount directly as a partition on your system using NFS (or even SMB/CIFS). The Wayback Machine shows that this was still advertised some time in January 1998, but was removed by the time the December 1998 copy was made.

Let's face it -- while kinda neat and convenient, offering a public NFS/CIFS server was a Pretty Bad Idea, not only because both these protocols are pretty terrible over high latency connections, but also because of important security implications.

Well, 19 years later we're thinking it's time to terminate another service that has important protocol and security implications -- our FTP servers. Our decision is driven by the following considerations:

  • The protocol is inefficient and requires adding awkward kludges to firewalls and load-balancing daemons
  • FTP servers have no support for caching or accelerators, which has significant performance impacts
  • Most software implementations have stagnated and see infrequent updates

All FTP services will be shut down by the end of this year. In hopes to minimise the potential disruption, we will be doing it in two stages:

  1. service will be terminated on March 1, 2017
  2. service will be terminated on December 1, 2017

If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact (ah, the irony).

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