FTP (external) transport configuration

The FTP transport can be used as a partner trading or back-end application transport. Back-end application transports do not support the SSL options.

Note   This topic describes configuring an external FTP server. For an embedded FTP server, see .

To enable partners to send messages to your FTP server, first set up the account, user ID and password for the FTP server where Activator retrieves files. Any partner who intends to receive messages from you by FTP also must also perform this step.

Caution   If you use Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) for the FTP server, make sure it is updated with the latest patches from Microsoft. Large files (approximately 1 gigabyte) may fail unless IIS is up to date.

Information-level messages about FTP client-server interaction write to the Activator trading engine log file. For more verbose messages to aid in troubleshooting FTP issues, you can change the message level to debug. Open the following:

log4j2.xml file in <Activator_install_directory>\Activator\conf

Search for the following entry, change the value from info to debug, then save and close the file.

The debug setting logs each meta-command (for example, Send), followed by each primitive command as it is sent to the server (Rest, Stor, Rnfr, Rnto, and so on). Also, a message is logged each time a data connection is initiated or accepted. Each file name received during List operations is logged. For more information see System logs.

When used for back-end application delivery or sending to partners, default settings are in place to preserve original file names and sequentially number duplicate file names. With these settings, Activator uses a file naming convention to defeat conflicts arising from multiple nodes feeding identically named documents to the same FTP directory and server. Files are renamed in the following format:

<original file name>__<unique message ID>.<original file extension>

Configure FTP settings page

Use the following fields in the exchange wizard to configure this exchange.

  • FTP Server – The name of the FTP server.
  • Port – The port on which the server listens for incoming connections. The default is 21 (embedded FTP default is 4021).
  • Pickup directory – Type the path of the directory on your server where messages are picked up. When Activator polls the server for files, it only looks in the pickup directory, not an inbox directory.
  • If connecting to a partner’s Activator embedded FTP server, use mailbox if picking up. Leave the field blank if delivering.
  • Use temporary files to avoid read/write collisions – We recommend using this option to prevent Activator from attempting to retrieve partially written files. When this is selected, you must select one of the two following options. There may be some specialized servers, typically running on mainframes, that support only part of the FTP protocol (). In such cases you may have to clear this option and take steps of your own to make sure collisions do not occur. If connecting to a partner’s Activator embedded FTP server, clear the option.
    • Use separate directory for temporary files -Type the full path of an inbox directory (for example, c:\data\inbox). Files are uploaded to this directory. When fully written, files are moved to the pickup directory for retrieval.
    • Do not put the inbox under the pickup directory unless you use a period at the beginning of the inbox name. Activator and other applications ignore directories and files that begin with periods.
    • For example, do not use the following directory structure:
    • c:\data\pickup\inbox
    • But you can use the following because a period is the first character of the inbox directory name:
    • c:\data\pickup\.inbox
    • When receiving files from a partner, we recommend that your partner write files to the inbox directory first and then move them to the pickup directory when they are ready to be retrieved. This process is automatic if your partner also uses any of the Axway products B2Bi, Interchange, or Activator. If the partner uses other software to upload files to your server, the software should be configured to initially upload the files to the inbox directory and move them to the pickup directory when they are ready to be retrieved.
    • For outbound delivery from the back end, the back-end system must write the message to the inbox and then move it to the pickup directory.
    • For delivery to the back end and for sending outbound to partners, Activator writes to the inbox and then moves the message to the pickup directory.
    • Use special extension in pickup directory for temporary files – If you prefer not to use an inbox, select this option. When a file is being written to the pickup directory, a temporary extension is added so that the system knows not to retrieve it because the file is only partially written. Once fully written, the temporary extension goes away and the file can be retrieved.
  • User name – The user name to connect to the server.
  • Password – The password to connect to the server.
  • Confirm password – The password to connect to the server.
  • Preserve original filenames – (Delivery exchange only) Select this option if you want original file names to be preserved when Activator delivers messages.
    • Overwrite duplicate filenames – This option is available when you select the Preserve original file names option above. If duplicate file names are detected, the trading engine overwrites the existing file.
    • Sequentially number duplicate filenames – This option is available when you select the Preserve original file names option above. If duplicate file names are detected, Activator appends a number to the new file. For FTP and SFTP the appended number is hexadecimal, with the format: filename_c4.
  • Clients must use SSL to connect to this server – (For trading partner configuration only.) Select this for FTPS. The Secure Sockets Layer protocol is in use during connections. The server presents a certificate for verification. To do this, a certificate in a profile must be designated as the SSL certificate. The server must support SSL. If this is not selected, connections are not encrypted.
  • Enable host name verification – (For trading partner configuration only.) If selected, Activator compares the name of the SSL server to the name in the server’s certificate to ensure they are the same.
    • Use implicit SSL – (For trading partner configuration only.) Select this option if you want to use implicit SSL rather than explicit SSL, which is the default mode. FTP supports two methods to accomplish security through a sequence of commands passed between two computers. The sequence is initiated with explicit (active) or implicit (passive) security.
      • Explicit security – To establish the SSL link, explicit security requires the FTP client to issue a specific command to the FTP server after establishing a connection. The default FTP server port is used.
      • Implicit security – Implicit security begins with an SSL connection as soon as the FTP client connects to an FTP server. The FTP server defines a specific port for the client to be used for secure connections. Not all FTP servers support implicit security. Check the documentation for your server.
  • File collision handling section
  • Use temporary files to avoid read/write collisions – We recommend using this option to prevent Activator from attempting to retrieve partially written files. When this option is selected, you must select one of the two options listed below:
  • There may be some specialized servers, typically running on mainframes, that support only part of the FTP protocol (RFC 959). In such cases you may have to clear this option and take steps of your own to make sure collisions do not occur.
  • If you are connecting to a partner’s Activator-embedded FTP server, do not select this option.
    • Use separate directory for temporary files – Type the full path of an inbox directory (for example, c:\data\inbox). Files are uploaded to this directory. When fully written, files are moved to the pickup directory for retrieval.
    • Do not put the inbox under the pickup directory unless you use a period at the beginning of the inbox name. The trading engine and other applications ignore directories and files that begin with periods.
    • For example, do not use the following directory structure:
    • c:\data\pickup\inbox
    • But you can use the following because a period is the first character of the inbox directory name:
    • c:\data\pickup\.inbox
    • When receiving files from a partner, we recommend that your partner write files to the inbox directory first and then move them to the pickup directory when they are ready to be retrieved. This process is automatic if your partner also uses Axway products B2Bi, Interchange or Activator. If the partner uses other software to upload files to your server, the software should be configured to initially upload the files to the inbox directory and move them to the pickup directory when they are ready to be retrieved.
    • For outbound application deliveries, the back-end system must write the message to the inbox and then move it to the pickup directory.
    • For inbound application and sending outbound to partners, the trading engine writes to the inbox and then moves the message to the pickup directory.
    • Use special extension in pickup directory for temporary files – If you prefer not to use an inbox, select this option. While a file is being written to the pickup directory, a temporary extension is added so the system knows not to retrieve it because the file is only partially written. Once fully written, the temporary extension goes away and the file can be retrieved.

Click Next to name the exchange.

After you name the exchange, Finish.

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