We are very pleased to announce that OxFile, our new service to support the exchange of large files, is now available for general use.
OxFile is a web service that supports the exchange of large files with people inside and outside of Oxford University, and is fast and simple to use. It has been designed to assist users who need to exchange files that are too large to send via the University’s Nexus email service, too large to upload to WebLearn or SharePoint, or that need to be exchanged with people who do not have access to WebLearn or SharePoint.
Example Use Cases
Some of the use cases that OxFile was designed to support include:
- Sending print-ready documents such as Alumni magazines and academic articles to press / publishing houses
- Receiving academic data sets from collaboration partners and commercial suppliers
- Thesis submission
- Upload of MP3/MP4/AVI files such as recordings of lectures for inclusion in a web site
- Sending large files for technical assistance (e.g. RAR files that cannot be decompressed, or system logs for analysis)
Developed in Response to User Suggestions
Development of this service was triggered by the Innovation Team at OUCS. The Innovation Team receives and responds to service suggestions sent to OUCS, and in this case recommended that a project be established to commission a new service to meet reported user needs. It has been a long while since the original approval was given, during which time a lot of software development and user testing has been carried out.
Our goal has been to provide a service that is as easy to use as the many commercial and free alternatives, but which meets the unique requirements of Oxford users. We are grateful to everyone who helped test this service – the fact that the first round of user testing resulted in a major reworking of the user interface is testament to the importance of your input to the development.
How big is a “large” file? OxFile will accept individual files upto 20GB, and when exchanging multiple files together you can have upto 40GB in a bundle. Many users exchange data that would fit on a DVD, but which is too large for most other immediate / free options (including Dropbox which has a limit of 2GB for the free offering).
These limits have been set primarily to reduce the impact of inadvertent errors on other users, and will be reviewed periodically.
At this stage it is hard to predict with much confidence how heavily this service will be used. Accordingly we have given it a substantial initial transfer capacity (290GB), but will monitor this closely during this early life of the service and make adjustments to accommodate greater volumes if required and possible.
Complementing Other Services
As mentioned above, OxFile provides functionality similar to that available from a number of existing OUCS services. We have designed OxFile to complement, rather than compete with, these other services. At the time of writing, WebLearn has a per-file upload limit of 60MB (uploading via the web interface; WebDAV accepts files upto the site limit, typically 1GB), Nexus email and the Oxford message submission service have message size limits of 100MB, and SharePoint has a web upload limit (thought to be about 80MB) and a default site limit of 5GB.
Of course, OxFile can only be used to hold files for a few days, and does not offer the rich process-specific functionality available in these other services.
If you wish to read more about the service then the following pages may be of interest:
Any other enquiries about the service should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.