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complete newbie question

 
Daniel Wepplo
Occasional Contributor

complete newbie question

Hi, I guess I'll just jump in and expose me ignorance.

We have a machining cell that is controlled be a server running OpenVMS Alpha (TM) Operating System, Version V7.1.

Everything works well regarding the communication between the server and the machine. The problem is communicating with the server from our network. We have to transfer machine code to the server file by file using a telnet termianal emulator. Again it works but it is very time consuming.

Our IT dept does its best but I was hoping I could give them a push in the right direction by offering a possible solution to make this system a little more user friendly.

Is there an application available allowing us to drag and drop text files from our microsoft pc's to the VMS server?

Thanks for any help or guidance,
Dan



16 REPLIES 16
Bill Hall
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Dan,

I'd be willing to bet that this system was installed about 11 years ago and your IT department hasn't done anything to since. VMS 7.1 was released in early 1997. There has been a new OS release every 12-24 months on average since then...

I don't know what "transfer machine code to the server file by file using a telnet termianal emulator" means. The easiest solution might be to use a terminal emulator that has a built-in gui ftp client. That wouild only require your IT department to configure the ftp server that might already be installed but not configured on the server.

Using Advanced Server or even CIFS makes file transfers really easy (almost too easy). These two applications make a VMS server look like a Windows file server to your pc. Your IT department would need to do a series of OS upgrades to get to the current version that would support either of these options.

Bill
Bill Hall
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Dan,

There are a variety of ways that this could be done. Which is best depends on what network connectivity there is between the OpenVMS system and the rest of the network.

As has been mentioned, there are several possibilities. One question is whether there is TCP/IP support present, or is TCP/IP connectivity being provided by a gateway. Even if such a gateway is in use, a package such as C-Kermit (available for little/no charge from Columbia University) would allow automation of the file transfers.

Key here is what level of OpenVMS expertise is available in-house. If, there is limited expertise in-house, it might be wise to obtain a small amount of outside assistance to discuss the options and assist in ensuring smooth implementation [Disclosure: My firm provides such services, as do several other regular contributors to this forum].

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

I don't think drag-and-drop is entirely appropriate here; that involves setting up file shares and CIFS/SMB/Samba and a whole lot of upgrades. That's probably counter to a machine control environment.

Here, I'd probably look to install some IP tools on the local Windows boxes and use ftp to transfer files around. This because you're probably much more willing to corrupt or crash the Windows boxes than spend time and effort and risk on the OpenVMS box. Something akin to FileZilla or various other ftp-aware packages are around and useful.

OpenVMS Alpha apparently already has telnet configured, which means it probably can also have the ftp server configured (or has ftp server configured) in whichever IP package is in use here, and ftp will give you easier file transfers between various platforms.

I'd tend to encourage not just a look at the IP network and network configuration here, but at the archives, disk backups, ECOs, disk fragmentation and related here; OpenVMS often runs without intervention fairly well, but it's not entirely maintenance-free. Some regular maintenance is required for best outcome.

That's an ancient OpenVMS version, FWIW.

Brian Reiter
Valued Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Hi Daniel

If you could use FTP then perhaps something like FileZilla (runs on the PC) which puts an explorer type interface on top of FTP may be useful. FileZilla copes reasonably well with OpenVMS directories.


cheers

Brian
Willem Grooters
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

>transfer machine code<
...
>drag and drop text files<

That is confusing. Are you transferring binary code, of plain ASCII text (eg. source code).

Stated by others: FTP would do, but you will have the least problems if your code can be copied in one blow; it means your code needs to be stored in one directory tree - and just those files that need to be transferred.
Another possibility is to zip al your files on a PC, copy the ZIPfile to VMS and extract it, but you'll have to experiment with the right options on either side to make the files usable on VMS (if the files are binary, it's pretty straigh foreward but in case of text files, it may not work at all)

Willem Grooters
OpenVMS Developer & System Manager
John Travell
Valued Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

>>transfer machine code<
>...
>>drag and drop text files<
>
>That is confusing. Are you transferring binary code, or plain ASCII text (eg. >source code).

Not necessarily... Some of the NC machines I have seen are controlled by a program that reads plain text files containing an encoded series of actions and co-ordinates.
Within the NC programmer these are referred to as 'machine code', in other words, a set of codes sent to the NC machine...
Just not 'machine code' as WE know it Scotty:-)

Concur about the suggested options for solving this problem.
JT:
Willem Grooters
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Never too old to learn something new :D.
Willem Grooters
OpenVMS Developer & System Manager

Re: complete newbie question

Aye, Captain. "Code" does not mean "binary". For example, printers can do amazing things with PostScript or HP PCL, both of which are ASCII text.

Note: While I am an HPE Employee, all of my comments (whether noted or not), are my own and are not any official representation of the company

Accept or Kudo

Daniel Wepplo
Occasional Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Thanks for all the advice.

Yes the IT support here is not the best regarding VMS. They recently installed a new server and reinstalled Version V7.1??

From my experience with them they won't be extremely receptive to upgrading the OS on the server.

We do have TCP/IP support. When they installed the new server the ip address was wrong and we couldn't communicate with it over the network.

Right now we use TNVTPlus it is a FTP program dated to 1998. If I understand correctly we should be able to install a more user friendly FTP program (filezilla).

Our current FTP parameters are:
Connect using: Telenet
Terminal Type: VT140, VT320, VT220
Transfer Type: KERMIT
...


Is it safe to assume if I install filezilla with my current parameters I should be able to see the directory and their contents on the VMS server?

This server is for a machining workcell. Sorry about using the word code. You are correct that it is NC machine code.

It is a simple text file but when I looked under the Kermit parameters it is sending a binary file? It also says it strips away the dirctory path??

Thanks again for the advice,
Dan
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Dan,

I recommend caution here.

The last posting would seem to imply that this is not a true FTP connection. This would appear to be a special configuration using KERMIT running over a telnet connection.

Depending upon the versions involved, KERMIT may be able to be far more friendly, or alternatively, a true FTP connection may be feasible (since there is clearly a TCP/IP stack on the system).

My usual cautionary recommendations when making changes to production systems, particularly when there is limited expertise in-house, apply. It is far cheaper to do things correctly than it is to make innocent mistake and cause problems.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

> Our current FTP parameters are:
> Connect using: Telenet
> Terminal Type: VT140, VT320, VT220
> Transfer Type: KERMIT

> The last posting would seem to imply that
> this is not a true FTP connection.

Your "FTP" appears to be a generic term for
some kind of file transfer scheme (program,
whatever), not "FTP" as normally construed
(File Transfer Protocol).

If the (intermediate) goal is to move some
files from a Windows system to a VMS system,
then several possibilities have been
suggested. Kermit would probably not be my
first choice, but at least it's using Telnet,
not an actual (slow) serial line.

I don't do much on Windows, but once, upon a
time long ago, I did use a GUI FTP client
program named SmartFTP, which seemed to be
able to handle a VMS TCPIP FTP server. (I
haven't tried it lately, so no bets).

You could try using the command-line FTP
client (in a DOS window, or whatever they
call it now), to see if you even have an FTP
server configured on the VMS system.

I gather that Microsoft Internet Explorer can
work as drag+drop FTP client, but a VMS TCPIP
FTP server tends to leave MSIE hopelessly
confused, so that's probably not a solution
unless you really have some other IP package
installed on your VMS system. (What does
"TCPIP SHOW VERSION" say?) There's also a
free FTP server (and client), HGFTP, which
can replace the TCPIP FTP server, and which
MSIE might like better.

Many things are possible. How much does your
VMS system manager know about its IP
software? How much fooling around on the VMS
system does anyone want to do? Configuring
its existing FTP server should be easy
enough. Other things (Pathworks/Advanced
Server/Samba, NFS, ...) would probably
require more work on one end or the other.
VMS V7.1 is old enough that some potential
options are probably excluded.
Brad McCusker
Respected Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

VMS 7.1? I'd pop PATHWORKS V6 on that in a heartbeat. Then it's a simple set up of a file share, a user or two, and drag and drop to your hearts content.

Only problem is buying a license - but you might already have a couple CA licenses depending on the packages purchased (remember the old NAS packages)

Sure PATHWORKS can get real complicated, real fast (I've got the scars to prove it), but, I suspect in this case you don't need many users, you don't need many shares, basic Win-NT security should be sufficent, no trusts or other domain issues, not a cluster, no license manager... It should be a pretty simple standalone server set up.

Brad McCusker
Software Concepts International
www.sciinc.com
Brad McCusker
Software Concepts International
Willem Grooters
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

or thing about Samba 2.2.8 - old version but ported to OpenVMS and (according to people that used it) usable. Since you have just a few users, it might be feasable to use that (Found it on http://mvb.saic.com/freeware/vmslt04b/samba/ with more recent versions - but 2.2.8 is known to work pretty well)

Willem Grooters
OpenVMS Developer & System Manager
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Gentlemen,

With all due respect, I disagree with the proposed solution of installing Pathworks or Samba.

As simple as many of us would find that enhancement, this appears to be a site with limited focus on the OpenVMS system. It is also a system that is, quite literally, a production system.

Since the system is ALREADY appears to be running KERMIT, and from the date, quite possibly an older version of C-KERMIT, it may already have what it needs. Certainly, a review of how to fix the difficulties encountered is certainly within the batch transfer capabilities of C-KERMIT.

Fixing this omission is far simpler than installing and configuring any additional software. This is particularly so since the problem may entirely lie on the desktop side. We simply do not have enough information (and I am always cautious about prescribing "over the phone").

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Kumar_Sanjay
Regular Advisor

Re: complete newbie question

Daniel,

Well, I always do file transfer by drag and drop in my environment.
Normally I transfer lot of application txt file or sometime VMS Patch also.

I use SSH TECTIA Client to connect to VMS server. Under SSH TECTIA you do have Option to transfer file window. Yes, you can drag and drop text files from our microsoft pc's to the VMS servers.

This is Secure communication, you server must be configured for SSH communication.


Thanks.
Sanjay Kumar.
Brad McCusker
Respected Contributor

Re: complete newbie question

Bob,

You aren't wrong, of course.

I infered from the OP's "very time consuming" statement that he was referring to the cumbersome-ness of using something like C-Kermit. We use C-Kermit all the time with some of our customers but it is still a 4 or 5 step process. With a file server you can configure your clients to map the drive on boot and your client is essentially "ready to go" all the time. A lot less time consuming than C-Kermit or similar telnet/SSH clients.

PATHWORKS can be a bear - no doubt about it. But in this case, I think it's a simple solution. (Samba probably is too - I just never really used the 2.8 version)

Brad McCusker
Software Concepts International
www.sciinc.com
Brad McCusker
Software Concepts International