Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the major differences between the FTP and HTTPS file transport protocols?

FTP is a method for exchanging files over the internet utilizing standard TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer. FTP is not a secure method for transporting files, therefore, customers utilizing FTP are vulnerable to potential security breaches. HTTPS is a communications protocol designed to transfer encrypted information between computers over the Internet. HTTPS is HTTP using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). All information transmitted using HTTPS is directed to a Storage Area Network (SAN) in Sun's datacenter. Protection of Suns customer information is critical, therefore, it is recommended that customers utilize HTTPS when transferring files containing security sensitive information.

2. Why was HTTPS chosen over other protocols like SSL-FTP or FTP over SSH?

When Sun did its initial review of the options available there were two primary reasons why the HTTPS direction was selected:

3. How do I upload/download core or explorer files using HTTPS?

The HTTPS method can be utilized either via a web browser or via command line interface utilizing third parties tools such as cURL (for additional details on using cURL, refer to FAQ questions 6-9).

Customers who prefer a web browser can be directed to one of the following sites:

Upload files.
Customers must choose a destination directory to upload their file to based on the customer location and type of file being uploaded. Choices are:

Download files.
Customers must choose a source directory to download their file from based on the customer location and type of file being downloaded. Choices are:

4. What is Sun's policy regarding customer upload/download requirements?

Customers are not allowed to upload and download files from the same directory. Although customers can place files in any of the destination directories at /upload and get files from /downloads, customers are not allowed to read or delete any other files within the directory they are uploading/downloading from. It is the responsibility of the support engineer in conjunction with the external customer to determine the exact file name and full path name so the file/destination folder can be appropriately identified.

5. Are there issues when transferring large files?

Standard browsers have a 2GB upload limitation, therefore, cURL is recommended for transferring files larger than 2GB. cURL is a command line tool for transferring files with URL syntax, supporting FTP, FTPS, HTTP, HTTPS. cURL compiled in 64bit mode has no size limitation. A customer can use cURL to send files automatically with HTTPS, just as files are sent automatically with FTP.

6. How does one get cURL downloaded and ready to go?

The easiest solution is to visit Sun Freeware and download the following packages:

Each of these can then be installed using pkgadd. You may also need to install the zlib and libgcc packages if you don't already have them. If you prefer these four packages can be compiled from source, although that is beyond the scope of this document. An example of using cURL follows:

     curl -T $1$2&root=$3

        $1 is the local filename
        $2 is the remote filename . no path
        $3 is the remote directory (one of the following)

7. Is openSSL also required for cURL?

The cURL package on Sun Freeware does require OpenSSL. If you are compiling cURL from source then you can proceed without OpenSSL although you will not be able to perform secure uploads using it.

8. Can we provide an alternative non-GUI option to customers

cURL is the recommended non-GUI transport option.

9. What should I do if I do not have a browser installed on the machine being affected?

The recommended tool is cURL. Alternatively, you can also move the core file to another system on the network which does have a web browser installed.

10. What is the estimated transfer rate to expect when uploading/downloading customer files?

The time it takes to upload/download files will vary depending on the size of the file, network traffic, what geographic region the customer is located in, etc. Although performance via HTTPS is generally slower than FTP, the enhanced security offered by HTTPS makes it the recommended protocol to use for customers who have security concerns with transmitting files via FTP. In general, US customers usually have somewhat better performance because the files are stored on a server located in the United States. Performance times may be slower for customers/engineers located in non-US locations.

11. Are there things I can try if I am experiencing slow transfer rates when uploading/downloading files?

Yes. Please try the following to enchance your transfer rates:

  • Compress your file before uploading.

  • Most browsers are generall set to use the highest encryption standard available, and in many cases will adopt 256-bit encryption which can be slow. If you do not have a business or security need for 256-bit encryption then you can opt for a lower grade encryption.

    Adjust your browser settings as follows:

    In mozilla try Edit -> Prefernces -> Privacy & Security -> SSL

    Click "Edit Ciphers" and go through each of the three tabs and disable anything higher than 128-bit.

    Now try reconnecting to supportfiles - downloads/uploads should be faster.

  • When a transfer is running, try using prstat to see how much cpu the browser is using. If the browser is using close to 100% cpu then it's likely that your cpu is the bottleneck in the transfer. Try running the transfer from a system with a faster CPU or select a lower grade of encryption.
  • 12. What indication is given to a customer that their file has been successfully uploaded?

    A limitation of the current client side tool is the absence of an indicator advising the user of the progress of the upload towards completion. Customers should be patient. Hitting the upload button multiple times may actually cause the file transmission to stop and be restarted. If an upload has successfully completed, the customer should see the following display on their display:

    Thanks for your upload. Your file has been stored as full file/path name on the Supportfiles service.

    13. How long will a file be stored on the various destination directories before it is deleted from the system? Can a deleted file be retrieved from HTTPS log files or must the user transmit the file again?

    Depending on the type of file, they are stored anywhere from 3-20 days on the destination directories. Once a file is deleted from a destination directory, it can not be retrieved and must be transmitted again.

    14.How do I get support or report a problem I am experiencing with the HTTPS functionality?

    External customers can click on the Feedback link that displays in the right nav bar on all pages. Fill out the feedback form and make sure to choose either 'Support Upload Issue' or 'Support Download Issue' from the Subject pull down menu. Submitted feedback forms will be routed to Sun's Support personnel for review and resolution.