Alliance Enterprise Class FTP

Alliance FTP Manager, from Patrick Townsend & Associates Inc. (Olympia, Wash.), offers automation, data conversion and security enhancements designed to turn the native AS/400 File Transfer Protocol (FTP) application into an enterprise-class FTP.

According to Patrick Townsend, the company’s president, users who do not have significant programming expertise need to acquire an FTP solution such as Alliance to enable their enterprise-level applications. “If you need to do any kind of FTP for e-commerce, you either have to program it, or you have to buy it,” Townsend says.

FTP Manager supplements some of the functions AS/400’s native FTP does not provide, he adds. It is designed to allow users to carry out large-scale file transfers to remote locations, to clients or between AS/400s, without requiring extensive programming.

“The AS/400 got serious as a machine for e-commerce about two years ago, and that’s when we started noticing this need,” Townsend says.

Alliance FTP Manager expands on the capabilities of AS/400’s native FTP in three primary ways. First, it automates many of the tasks involved in file transfer procedures. It builds audit trails and a permanent log and allows scheduling for periodic or off-hours transfer of files. It also features a library scan function, which allows users to designate one library from which all files will regularly be transferred according to a user-defined schedule.

The second area in which Alliance offers added functionality is in data conversion. Included with the FTP Manager package is Patrick Townsend & Associates’ Alliance CrossData/400. CrossData/400 can covert outbound files to Excel CSV, tab-delimited, or fixed ASCII format, and can convert inbound files to AS/400 relational database files. It allows automatic conversion of zoned, packed, binary and floating point data.

“It’s likely that you’ll need to do some manipulation of data to transfer files, so we were finding out our customers needed all those components and that’s really why we bundled them together,” Townsend says.

Finally, Alliance FTP Manager offers enhanced security for file transfers in an AS/400 environment with Alliance FTP Security, also included in the overall solution. This product uses exit point security as recommended by IBM. It allows controls on a group or individual basis at both the library and file levels. Townsend said he believes additional security features should be considered by all AS/400 FTP users.

“In an intimate environment the AS/400 FTP server is a real security risk,” he explains. “… If your AS/400 is not on the Internet, it’s not as much of a threat, but it is something we still tell our customers they need to be aware of.”

Alliance FTP Manager runs on any AS/400 model with OS/400 V3R3, V3R7, V4R1 or later. Services may include installation, software maintenance and electronic support, as well as on site installation, configuration and training. The product is priced from $2,000.

Related Information:

  • Patrick Townsend & Associates Inc. (new window)
  • Alliance FTP Manager Product Information (new window)