Tidal Workload Automation Adapter for FTP

Adapter Overview

Enterprise Adapter for FTP reduces many of the complexities associated with incorporating file transfer protocol (FTP), secured file transfer protocol (SFTP), and file transfer protocol SFTP (FTPS) jobs or batch processes into enterprise job schedules. Built on the industry-leading Workload Automation, it offers an easy-to-use, powerful solution for managing FTP dependencies within job schedules and the application integration they support. IT operations staff can manage file transfers as an integral part of a critical workflow business processes.

This is an excellent scheduling solution for environments that handle FTP jobs, because it can improve efficiency by directly addressing critical FTP-related scheduling challenges discussed in the following section.

The File Transfer Challenge

Increasingly, businesses are working to integrate their internal operations and also to develop closer links with partners and customers. Companies in financial services, insurance, healthcare, and retail, among other industries, depend on seamless data exchange to integrate their operations with others and to allow them to respond with the speed and accuracy the market demands. Today, approximately 70 percent of data and application integration is accomplished through batch jobs. As a result, automated application integration and file transfer capabilities are vital to accomplishing the twin goals of reliability and cost effectiveness.

FTP is the technology most commonly used to exchange data or transfer files among applications and partners. As the enterprise extends business processes across its value chain, the reliability and security of data exchange with partners and customers is increasingly important in meeting business goals. Transmission delays, breached security, and corrupt data can impact not only the business but also relationships with partners and customers. The exchange of data between applications, partners, and customers must be so reliable and secure that it can be taken it for granted. To achieve these objectives, data and file exchange must be an integral part of the enterprise-wide business process. And because there is a close relationship between data exchange and batch job processes, both must be seamlessly and simultaneously managed to attain high levels of automation, security, speed, recovery, and accuracy.

Manual FTP Management: Error-prone and Insecure

In many companies, processing file transfers is still a manual process. For example, a company may have a workflow in which a customer sends a file containing all orders for the day via FTP. During the day, IT operations staff manually checks to see if the file has arrived. If it has, they submit a series of jobs that process the order, or they may use scripts they have written to manage this process.

This manual business process creates the following issues, and failure to meet service level agreements (SLAs) with customers and partners may incur costly financial penalties and erode end-user satisfaction:

FTP is not secure and transfers data without encryption. User names, passwords, FTP commands, and the files themselves can be viewed using packet sniffers. The process of recognizing that the file has arrived and then incorporating it into a job step is inherently error prone and time consuming. Scripts are costly to create, document, and maintain. If scripts are used, user IDs and passwords may be embedded in them, creating additional exposure to security risks. If the process of managing FTP is related to financial reporting, additional issues are involved in auditing it. The operator may be required to implement the manual procedure and another to verify that it was followed. The need for a job scheduler and an FTP product adds unnecessary cost and complexity. FTP may require that an additional agent is installed on both the sending and receiving ends, increasing system complexity. No single point of control manages both FTP requirements and the job scheduling process.

Features and Benefits

Using Tidal Workload Automation Adapter for FTP can dramatically simplify the process of scheduling, tracking, and managing workflows with FTP dependencies, because the solution:

  • Incorporates FTP processes into the larger enterprise-wide workflow management environment
  • Supports both FTP and SFTP using SSH2 and FTPS using SSL/TLSAvoids sending data “in the clear” by supporting Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple DES (3DES), and Blowfish encryption techniques
  • Provides “script-free,” scheduled FTP processing to avoid further security exposure created by embedded user IDs and passwords when scripts are used
  • Supports FTP job dependencies based on number of files and volume of data transferred, dropped files, and duration of transfer
  • Manages file attributes and their directories
  • Requires a single FTP server rather than an FTP agent on the sending and receiving ends
  • Provides a single point of control for managing business processes dependent on FTP and batch jobs

Workload Automation provides an integration platform for all job scheduling needs. When batch jobs finish, users can automatically transfer files as part of a larger business process. In addition, when files arrive, they can trigger one or more jobs to process the data transferred. Users can now eliminate the manual steps and scripting that undermine service levels and inflate the costs of managing IT. And Workload Automation makes it easy to accomplish these objectives by using the same interface to manage FTP jobs and dependencies that it uses for all jobs and dependencies.