FTP Client Automation Module Description
FTP Client Automation, FTP CA, is
a comprehensive solution for automating FTP client file
transfer traffic in the AS/400 environment. It provides
all the functions and features needed to automate any FTP
client file transfer transaction and the related pre- and
FTP CA is an optional module of the Manycom Message product.
It provides among the other things the following advanced
features needed in automated FTP client operations:
- possibility to create, maintain and
control FTP transfer jobs from terminals and applications
- 'continuous' regular transfer jobs
starting automatically after specified time intervals
- MCM transfer directory to save and
show all transfer job requests
- automatic execution of transfer jobs
in batch mode
- several transfer jobs can be running
simultaneously with the same or different FTP servers
- extensive transaction and error logging
- execution of the transfer jobs is
controlled phase by phase with return and status codes
- possibility to give priorities to
the transfer jobs
- scheduling of transfer jobs
- automatic retries with retry limits
- possibility to attach and start pre-
and post-process for the transfer jobs
- extensive security controls
FTP CA transfer jobs can include all
FTP client subcommands and functions provided by IBM in
the OS/400 FTP client feature. Since this is not enough
for automation purposes, special FTP CA script functions
are provided facilitating other features, e.g. passing
file, library and directory names as parameters, renaming
files in many different ways, using file operations with
generic file names (e.g. GET abc*), attaching pre- and
post-processes before and after each file transfer transaction,
and so on.
The flexible structure and rich functions
of FTP CA together with the MCM Base and Advanced Automation
modules make it possible to execute and automate practically
all FTP client file transfer needs - even the most complicated
ones - which you could encounter in today's eBusiness environment.
FTP CA always operates in the FTP
client mode sending and retrieving files with the remote
FTP servers. This means that FTP CA establishes the connection,
and via the OS/400 client feature requests FTP 'services'
from the FTP server with the FTP subcommands such as PUT,
GET, DIR, RENAME, etc. See the following figure.
Notice, that if your local AS/400
needs to be the FTP server, which is called from the remote
FTP clients, you should select another module of MCM, the
FTP Server Automation, FTP SA, which makes it possible
to secure and automate the FTP server operations. FTP CA
and FTP SA together provide an extensive solution for automating
all kinds of FTP file transfer transactions.
Features of the Advanced Automation,
Data File Conversion and Encryption modules can be used
with both FTP modules in order to complement the solution.
For more information about automating the FTP server operations,
see the corresponding module description MCM FTP Server
Compatible with all standard FTP
FTP CA operates via the FTP client
feature provided by IBM in the OS/400. This allows communicating
with any standard FTP server whether it runs in AS/400,
AIX, UNIX, Windows, IBM host or other system. FTP CA doesn't
set any special requirements for the FTP server or communication
connection type. The TCP/IP connections are configured
in the ordinary manner.
MCM transfer jobs
In order to send or retrieve files,
you need to define and create a MCM transfer job (request).
The transfer job is saved in the MCM transfer directory.
MCM transfer jobs can be created both
from the 5250 terminals with the MCM user interface displays,
and from user applications (batch or interactive) via the
FTP Client API.
Transfer jobs can be created also
automatically (without the need to add API calls to the
applications) by allowing the MCM Advanced Automation module
polling the desired libraries, directories and output queues
to identify the files to send out. When the specified file
is found, a transfer job request is created automatically
with the pre-configured parameter values. For more information,
see the MCM Advanced Automation module description.
For more information about the MCM
transfer jobs, transfer directory and other basic concepts
of MCM, see the MCM Base module description.
Normal jobs and continuous jobs
You can create both normal (one-time)
and continuous (regular) transfer jobs. A normal job is
executed only once (with specified retries in error situations),
but a continuous job is started and executed automatically
by MCM after the specified time interval has elapsed. For
example, you can define a continuous transfer job to send
a named file or files (or files starting with letters abc*)
every 15 minutes or once in a day to the desired FTP server.
Background operations in batch mode
FTP CA takes care of execution of
the MCM transfer jobs created from the user interface screens
or via the FTP Client API. FTP CA starts the transfer jobs
running in batch mode as background tasks in the specific
MCM subsystem. The MCM subsystem and monitors are stopped
and started automatically, and they are active only in
configured weekdays and at specified times.
An example of a FTP CA transfer job
After the system administrator with
proper authorities has once pre-configured certain base
settings through the configuration menu such as the server
name, IP address of the server, MCM user ID allowed to
use MCM and the specified server definition, FTP user ID
and password to login to the specified server, script files
for specifying the remote and local file renaming rules
and for attaching pre- and post-processes to the transfer
job, the defined MCM user ID, which can be a 5250 terminal
user or an application can easily create a FTP CA transfer
- automatically logs in to the remote FTP server (e.g.
Windows NT or UNIX) with the defined FTP user ID and
password at the specified time,
- retrieves the desired file(s) from the desired remote
directory to the desired local directory or library (the
file name can be generic, e.g. abc*),
- renames those remote files, which were transferred
successfully to other names along the pre-configured
remote renaming rule, or deletes or copies them to another
directory in the remote system, or starts the defined
post-process in the remote system with a remote command,
or a combination of the above options,
- renames the retrieved local files according to the
pre-configured local renaming rule,
- and finally starts the defined post-process in the
local AS/400 as an immediate interactive job or with
a submitted CL command as a scheduled batch job; the
post-process can run any process needed to handle the
received files, and among other things include a call
to the FTP client API in order to create automatically
a new transfer job, which could for instance send (forward)
the retrieved files to a second FTP server in a third
system, or call the MCM Email API in order to create
a new transfer job to send an Internet email message
to the system operator telling that the FTP transfer
job ended successfully, or call both APIs, if needed.
The variations are practically unlimited. Notice, that
the success of the execution of the transfer job is checked
in every phase, for instance after each FTP client subcommand
and call to the local pre- and post-processes. A 'checkpoint'
message can be sent to an operator in any phase of the
job, if needed.
Status controls and logs
Extensive status controls and logging functions are the
most important features of the automated systems. The users
and operators must have an easy way to control and follow
the execution of all transactions.
MCM controls the execution of the transfer job with the
internal MCM status codes and FTP subcommand return codes.
The job continues only if the previous phase was successful.
MCM also logs all transactions, and sends messages to the
operator when needed. The transfer job descriptions and
status data are maintained in the MCM transfer directory
for viewing any time during or after the execution of the
All created transfer jobs get a unique job ID, and they
are saved in the MCM transfer directory for the pre-defined
time. Authorized Manycom users can control (view, change,
copy and delete the job descriptions, and hold, release
and restart) the transfer jobs and show their status data
and log entries on the MCM displays. User applications
can retrieve the status data of the created transfer jobs
by calling the MCM Status API with the given unique transfer