Five Ways to Access IFS Data from a Windows PC without FTP
August 10, 2005 Hey, Joe:
I’ve been asked to investigate a way to transmit files from an AS/400 to a CREST messaging system using an Infrastructure for Financial Markets (IFM) gateway. The problem is that I have been asked not to use FTP to transmit these files between the two systems. Apart from FTP, what other options can I use to copy files from the IFS to my PC?
The beautiful thing about the OS/400 and i5/OS operating system is that it’s probably the most well-connected system in existence. If you can’t move data between an AS/400, iSeries, or i5 machine and the outside world using one technique, there are plenty of other methods you can use. Here a list of some non-FTP techniques that thousands of OS/400 shops use every day to move data between OS/400 and a Windows system. Hopefully, one of them will be able to help you solve your problem:
1. The QNTC file system. QNTC is a file system residing in a subsection of OS/400’s Integrated File System (IFS). It is shipped with OS/400 and i5/OS and its sole function is to provide access to data and objects that are stored on Windows servers that are running Windows NT 4.0 and above. This feature allows OS/400 commands and applications to read and write stream data directly to stand-alone Windows servers. It can also be used to access Windows servers located on local or remote Integrated xSeries Server for iSeries setups. To read more about QNTC, check out the following links:
Windows NT File System (QNTC), IBM iSeries Information Center
Moving ASCII Data Between IFS and Windows, IT Jungle
2. iSeries Access for Windows Data Transfer. This feature has been available for years in both iSeries Access for Windows and the earlier Client Access products: Client Access Express for Windows and Client Access for Windows. The Data Transfer feature has two functions: Data Transfer from iSeries Server and Data Transfer to iSeries Server. In addition to providing access for exchanging OS/400 data with PCs in a number of different formats, including Microsoft Excel, ASCII, and comma-separated values, these functions can be called as a plug-in from within Microsoft Excel. The Data Transfer functions can also be started from within PC5250 sessions. For more information, check out the following articles:
3. AS/400 NetServer. AS/400 NetServer is an OS/400 server that enables Windows clients to access shared OS/400 IFS folders and output queues as Windows options by using standard Windows desktop functionality. Because NetServer supports the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol used in the Microsoft world, users do not have to load any special software onto their PCs to access IFS data. They can map an OS/400 folder directly to a PC network drive and start using it for data access the same way they would use any other Windows network drive. Here are some references for using NetServer:
AS/400 NetServer, IBM
The AS/400 NetServer Advantage, IBM Redbook
4. Using SQL and ODBC/OLE DB/JDBC connections to access OS/400 data from custom programs or off-the-shelf programs. IBM provides ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC drivers for creating connections to OS/400 data from many PC-based programming languages that use SQL for data access. DB2/UDB access can also be provided by using these drivers in several off-the-shelf programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access.
5. iSeries Navigator. iSeries Navigator provides options for copying files directly from an IFS folder to the Windows clipboard. You can also cut and paste IFS objects to the clipboard for export to other Windows applications. There are also options for editing IFS files directly from the Windows Notepad and other Windows applications.
Managing OS/400 with Operations Navigator V5R1, Volume 1: Overview and More, IBM Redbook (check out Chapter 8, File System components)
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to copy OS/400 IFS files to the Windows desktop. It’s just a matter of finding the one that works best for your shop and going with it.