Modify an SFTP (external) delivery

After you create an external SFTP delivery, you can view and modify the fields that define the object.

An external SFTP server resides outside of Activator and is not managed from the Activator user interface. you can use an external SFTP server to deliver files to a trading partner or back-end application.

SFTP settings tab

  • SFTP server – The name of the external SFTP server to which you connect to up load files.
  • Port – The port on which the server listens for incoming connections. The default is 22.
  • Current public key – The RSA or DSA public key for the SFTP server. Activator uses the key to authenticate the server.
  • New server public key – Select this option to select a new RSA or DSA public key for the SFTP server. Activator uses the key to authenticate the server. If the server is modified to use a new public-private key pair, the public key must be updated.
    • Retrieve public key from server – Click Get Key to have Activator retrieve the public key for the SFTP server. The server name and port number entered on this page must be correct for this option to work.
    • Server public key file – Type the path to the file containing the public key for the SFTP server or click Browse to locate the file. You may have to ask the server administrator for the file path.
    • See Public-private key and password authentication.
  • Use password authentication – Password authentication requires entering the user name and password for connecting to the server. The user name and password are sent over an encrypted connection to authenticate the user to the server. Although this option offers ease of administration, the password is vulnerable because it is sent every time a connection is made. The password could be compromised if the server is ever compromised.
  • See Public-private key and password authentication.
  • Use public/private key pair authentication – Public-private key pair authentication requires entering the user name of the server here.
  • If this exchange is for a community, add the private key to the community. If this exchange is for a partner, add the public key to any community that will be trading with the partner.
  • To add a key, click Certificates in the navigation graphic at the top of the community summary page. Select the SSH keys tab. Click Add an SSH key, follow the prompts and click Add. Select the key as the default SSH key after it has been added.
  • See Public-private key and password authentication.
  • Use host-based authentication – This field is not used.

Directories tab

  • Delivery directory – Type the path of the directory on the external server where messages are picked up by partners or back-end applications.
  • 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.
    • 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 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 inbound messages directed 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 delivery 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.

Message attributes tab

See Message attributes tab.

Inline processing tab

See Inline processing tab.

Schedule tab

See Schedule tab.

Filenames tab (delivery)

Delivery file name definition

  • Preserve original filenames – (default) Select this option if you want the original file names to be preserved when Activator delivers messages.
  • Preserving original file names enables your back-end application to process binary messages based on their file names.
  • Generate unique filenames – Select this option to have the system provide a unique file name (instead of using the original name).
    • Automatically generate unique filenamesActivator appends to the file name a hex representation of a monotonically increasing file name counter that is maintained in the database. Names are guaranteed to be unique across all nodes in a cluster. In addition, if the original file name had an extension, the same extension is appended to the unique name the system generates.
    • Example with the original file extension:
    • dabeed45_4cb.edi
    • Example without the original file extension:
    • z47e4120_4ce
    • Define custom filename constructionActivator generates a file name using a pattern that you specify. Enter the pattern in the Pattern field.
    • For additional information about entering renaming patterns, see File renaming patterns.

Advanced tab

  • Maximum concurrent connections – Default = 100. The maximum number of concurrent connections Activator can open to the external SFTP server to upload files.
  • Retries – This is the number of times Activator will retry connecting to the partner’s transport if the initial attempt to connect and send the message failed. A common reason for triggering retries is the connection attempt failed immediately for a reason such as host not found.
  • Retries occur according to an algorithm that starts at 5 minutes. The interval between retries increases with each subsequent retry in this pattern: 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes. The interval plateaus at 60 minutes. This means if the retry value is greater than 5, the fifth and each subsequent retry occurs at 60 minute intervals.
  • For example, if retries is 3, the system will try connecting again in 5 minutes if the initial connection attempt fails. If this retry attempt also fails, the system attempts a second retry in 10 minutes. The third retry attempt is made 15 minutes later. If the third retry attempt fails, the message is given a failed status. So after four attempts (the first attempt plus 3 retries), the message fails. You can search for and manually resubmit failed messages in Message Tracker.
  • Retries do not occur precisely at these intervals because each connection attempt takes some seconds, which varies by computer. So retries actually occur after the connection attempt time plus the interval.
  • This control applies only to retrying to send messages, not receiving. It applies only to retrying to send related to transport issues. It does not apply to successfully sent messages for which receipts have not been received as expected. Another control, re-sends, determines how many times the system will resend a message when a receipt is not received from the partner. For information about resends, see reliable messaging in the collaboration settings chapter.
  • Use custom retry intervals – Select this option to override the default retry intervals with intervals of your choice for this delivery exchange. Default intervals are 5, 10, 15, 30, and 60 minutes. When you select this option, you must enter at least one interval (in minutes) in the Custom retry intervals field. You can enter as many intervals as you like, separated by commas. Activator applies the intervals between successive retry attempts. If necessary, the last interval you list is repeated until either the delivery is successful or the number of permitted retries is reached.
  • Read timeout (seconds) – Time in seconds Activator waits to read data from the delivery exchange before terminating the connection.
  • Override SSH ciphers – Select this option to specify the specific ciphers supported for the server, using the Add and Remove buttons. If not selected, all ciphers are supported by default. The default is less secure than specifying only certain ciphers. This option is available for delivery exchanges.
  • The default order in the Available column is the preferred order of use. Once ciphers are moved to the Selected column, you can arrange the order. Activator uses the ciphers in the order listed.
  • Maximum block size per downloading packet – Sets the maximum size of the packets that can be downloaded from an external SFTP server by the SFTP client within Activator. The minimum packet size is 512 and the maximum size is 32768 data packet units. The default value is compatible with most SFTP servers.
  • The client downloads messages in a series of data packets. By default the maximum But when handling messages of a certain size (2-3 megabytes or larger), some servers cannot process many packets of the default size and downloading hangs. If this occurs, reduce the packet size maximum. Adjusting the value is a trial-and-error process. You may have to test several values depending on the size of the messages being processed. For example, when messages are approximately 3 MB in size, the maximum packet size can be set at 4096. This field is available only on the trading and application pickup exchanges.
  • Override HMAC algorithms – Select this option to restrict the server HMAC algorithms to preferred (secure) ones. If not selected, all of the listed HMAC algorithms are supported by default. The default is less secure; therefore, use the Add and Remove buttons to specify only the algorithms that should be available.
  • Back up the files that go through this transport – Indicates whether the system backs up copies of the messages it sends to or consumes from the FTP server.
  • Backing up files is strongly recommended. This is required for the system to perform fail-over operations such as attempting to send messages again (retries) in case of a transport connection failure. Without backups, a message in process cannot be recovered if the server or a processing node stops or restarts. Backups also are needed if you want the ability to resubmit messages to a back-end application or resend messages to partners.
  • Backup files are stored in <Activator_common_directory>\data\backup, unless you specify otherwise.
  • Post-processing script – The full path to an executable file that contains post-processing commands. This field is available for both application and trading deliveries.
  • See Post-processing of consumed messages.

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