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Deciphering AS/400 Terminal traffic

Posted on 2010-08-19
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We need to look at activities by the end-user in terms of Data sent to the AS/400 applications and response received from the app by sniffing the TCP/IP data packets being sent on the wire.
Is there any document/library that gives the message formats that will enable us to do this.
Thanks
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Question by:appnomicpaddy
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by:vsg375
vsg375 earned 400 total points
ID: 33474105
Hi,

Not a specialist, but I guess this might be of some help :

http://www.ethereal.com/lists/ethereal-dev/200511/msg00275.html

Cheers.
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by:Gary Patterson
ID: 33474687
Here's a page with an overview of the protocol and links to the relevant RFCs

http://www.sdisw.com/tn5250/tn5250.htm

Google "tn5250 protocol"
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by:stevebowdoin
ID: 33475300
This is not an easy task.  You will be buried with data.
Do you want to monitor all users or a particular user?
Your question seems general.  Gary’s response is correct for that.

Steve
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by:tliotta
ID: 33478758
We need to look at activities by the end-user...

Please clarify. Are you simply needing to provide an audit? Is this intended to be surreptitious or is it going to be a public policy? Is it only "telnet"? What if a different protocol is used, e.g., remote command or ODBC?

Tom
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by:appnomicpaddy
ID: 33478805
@tillotta - This is a public policy, we are trying to measure application transaction response times across screens for all users, and trying to do that in an non-invasive way on the application.
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Gary Patterson earned 1600 total points
ID: 33479090
I've been doing AS/400 performance anlayis for over 20 years, and I can tell you that the approach you are proposing is a fairly difficult way to go about obtaining response time data.  The TN5250 datastream is relatively complex, and you may find it harder than you think to use protocol analysis as a mechanism for monitoring response time.

IBM offers built-in performance monitoring and management tools.  Why not just use those?  It is possible to monitor interactive response time in real-time, and through batch reporting.

The free, IBM-supplied performance collection utliity, Collection Services, has the ability to capture detailed job performance data, including interactive system response time and a bevy of other useful performance data.

You can use IBM (Performance Tools, Job Watcher, etc), third-party, or homegrown tools and queries to analyze the performance data that is collected.

In addition to providing transaction response time information, Collection Services can track hundreds of other performance statistics on interactive, server, and batch workloads.

Here's a short PDF that discusses the various performance tools available to AS/400 system administrators.

http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redpapers/pdfs/redp4026.pdf

- Gary Patterson

Check out my EE profile: http://www.experts-exchange.com/M_4382324.html 
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by:tliotta
ID: 33479517
The free, IBM-supplied performance collection utliity...

IMO, Gary is on target with this and the rest of his post. The built-in tools are sufficient by themselves and almost certainly far easier and more accurate than anything that would be added on by developers to capture the info.

In addition, you might consider using job accounting codes to create a parallel job accounting database. Specific points of interest might be flagged by setting an accounting code to mark the beginning of a segment and resetting it to mark an end point. The journal entries could be used either for their own data or to provide timestamps to correlate with specific performance data.

Note that essentially all of the capabilities are already present in the system. Plenty can be added if fancy queries, graphs, etc., are desired without programmer time; but costs start going to purchasing products and product learning curves rather than to programming efforts. Management choice...

Tom
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