• Subject: Dialling out to PCs from AS400
  • From: Evan Harris <spanner@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 23:03:01 +1300

Hi guys

At a clients request I am evaluating the possibilities regarding pulling 
data from PC's (OS is a mix of 95/98/NT) stationed at 27 different 
locations onto the AS/400 for data massage and update routines. The data 
collection is to happen every night for all 27 locations.

Currently a PC dials out to all the PC's and collects the data using a RAS 
type utility and the resulting files are uploaded via a series of batch 
files for each location. Very labour intensive and very error prone. Having 
the transfer initiated from the PC end is not really an option.

The proposal we are considering is to use dial-on-demand from the AS/400 to 
dial out to the PC's and collect the data using FTP. We know we need to 
check the AS/400 hardware to ensure the comms card can handle this and we 
know that the PC's will all need some type of FTP Server capability. To 
support this we will create some kind of control file with dial out 
details, data transfer details and then on a nightly basis "do the rounds" 
of each connection.

To make this reasonably flexible we planned on generating an FTP script on 
the fly for each transfer connection and using another file to control what 
operations are performed for each location including a default list of 
actions. This will allow us to extend the system to adding additional files 
to be picked up or transmitted, and maybe even have operations run on the 
remote PC.

I believe the data is fixed format and we will also look at building in 
some data format validation routines prior to subsequent processing on the 
AS/400.

The system we wish to implement should also deal with retrying any 
connections problems (preferably after cycling through all the other 
connections) and providing some audit trails of which locations were/were 
not retrieved etc.

The only part of this I have not done before is configured dial-on-demand 
on an AS/400 PP connection. I know that theoretically this can be done but 
how robust and practical is it ? Will the scenario we are looking fly ? 
What are the kinds of problems we are likely to strike with the remote PC's 
? Is there another (better) way ?

I have not ruled out a third party product, so any vendors out there with a 
product that may do what we require can also feel free to drop me a line 
directly in addition to any discussion or comment they post on the list.

Any vendors that do contact me directly, please use address: 
evan.harris@infinity.co.nz

Thanks in advance

Regards
Evan Harris

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