The first thing to do in a case like this is determine if there are one or more bottlenecks between the servers. For instance, if you're performing the copying across a network link, something like this should be done with 100 megabit or 1 gigabit Ethernet, full duplex, and with as little intervening hardware as possible (i.e., via a crossover cable). The program performing the copying may not be the real issue. Another option, rather than using file-level copying, would be to image the data to be moved to tape or CD/DVD and copy it that way. CD/DVD may be the fastest in terms of raw copying speed, actually.
This was first published in September 2004