BOSaNOVA Connects LAN, AS/400 Worlds

When Microsoft wanted to facilitate LAN-based client access to AS/400 VSAM data stores, it developed a technology called “Thor”—now rechristened the OLE DB Provider for AS/400—as a means to do so. “Thor” requires the intervention of Microsoft’s SNA Server platform, but for AS/400 managers who want to provide their users with file transfer capabilities to and from AS/400 VSAM data stores without the intervention of an SNA Server gateway, version 5.0 of BOSaNOVA from Better On-line Solutions Inc. (BOS, Scottsdale, Ariz.) just might do the trick.

BOSaNOVA is a TCP/IP TN5250e emulation software suite that provides Windows 9x, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 users on local or remote TCP/IP networks with access to AS/400 hosts. BOSaNOVA TCP/IP attaches directly to a client/server network without the need for a router or other SNA gateway device.

BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0’s biggest selling points are its proven TN5250e emulation capabilities, as well as its ability to provide native AS/400 file transfer services, which can eliminate the need for a Windows NT, OS/2 or NetWare server to function as an SNA gateway. In addition, BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0 offers network printing (LPD) and SCS printing emulation.

Also new in BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0 is the addition of what BOS calls Data Transfer Functions (DTF), a powerful new 32-bit Windows utility that provides a GUI-based method of transferring data in either direction between a PC and an AS/400 or S/390 host. While the vanilla DTF functionality alone is nothing to laugh at, BOS’ DTF implementation also includes a scheduling service that allows administrators to define automated transfers that run on a specified schedule or are otherwise triggered by a predetermined event.

According to BOS CEO Israel Gal, BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0’s advanced file copy and user management features deliver unique functionality that simply isn’t provided by similar such solutions from his company’s competitors.

“The new data transfer and user policy components in our popular TCP/IP emulator serve to further enhance the usability of the product,” Gal maintains. “The ease with which data transfer jobs can be defined and executed is unrivaled in the industry.”

Moreover, BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0 users can use DTF to create profiles—predefined file copy, file movement or data replication schemes—as well as to view both profiles and profile lists, and to automatically initiate data transfers between PCs and AS/400 hosts. BOSaNOVA also provides a Windows 95/NT wizard-like interface that can help users to build data transfer profiles and facilitate the browsing of AS/400 files in their native data description specification format. Finally, BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0’s DTF utility features a scheduling component that can initiate data transfers based even on a predefined screen trigger.

BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0’s user administrator component brings a Windows NT 4.0-like look and feel to AS/400 administration, allowing AS/400 managers to create groups, assign users to groups, and define Windows NT-like access control lists that permit or prevent specified users or groups from running or configuring certain applications. In addition, the system administrator can configure the emulation software on a user's PC remotely from the system administrator's PC, using a preset configuration.

Finally, BOSaNOVA TCP/IP 5.0 also includes a utility—dubbed “Host Explorer”—that leverages a Windows Explorer-like interface to facilitate the copying of files between AS/400 and PC file folders. Users can also use Host Explorer to run applications associated with AS/400 files and—in an ironic twist on the traditional SNA-to-LAN model of printing—to leverage a Twinax emulation solution as a means to configure a standard PC printer to function as an AS/400 virtual printer.

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