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A quick tip. NCBI’s genomic files are not compressed, which translates into slow file transfer. However, the server can also be accessed via rsync, and the “-z” option in rsync makes for compressed transfers. This might save you about 70% of bandwidth.

Now that we are talking about this, web servers have the option of transmitting their information to browsers in compressed format. It’s automatic, web browsers use them all right. All it takes is a few lines in the httpd.conf, or apache2.conf, or whichever “conf” file your server uses, to allow for “Deflate“. It’s completely transparent. You don’t have to change any of your CGIs, or any of your web pages. The web server takes care that the info is transmitted in compressed form. If you have a web server, and it’s not compressing, consider that it saves my server more than 80% bandwidth. It’s very noticeable in how quickly transmissions happen. Among servers with metagenome data, The MG-RAST server uses Deflate, Camera also. Unfortunately JGI’s IMG/M doesn’t, which is quite a surprise because metagenomes are a ton of data, sure needing a lot of bandwidth (yes I have suggested them to use Deflate, but so far they don’t).

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