So I finally got apache running on one of our production servers for internal backup usage. I’ve found that it there is almost nothing GNU/GPL out there that does compression on the fly. So on the server side is apache with mod_deflate on a “random” port w/ a virtual directory of the database backups I want. Client side is a small perl script, curl, and zlib.
So downloading 5.5 gigs took only 2 hours to download (over a 1.5M DSL line). The way I get away with this is because the database backup files are mostly empty space they compress to 20% of original size (or less).