Host Integration Server 2000 : An Overview

Executive Summary


A comprehensive integration platform, Host Integration Server 2000 enables you to embrace Internet, intranet, and client/server technologies while preserving investments in existing systems. This document lets you to learn what makes Host Integration Server the easiest, most affordable application integration platform for an enterprise company.

Host Integration Server 2000, the follow-up release to Microsoft's highly successful SNA Server, extends Microsoft Windows to other systems by providing application, data, and network integration. Host Integration Server lets you quickly adapt to new business opportunities while preserving existing infrastructure investments. With its enterprise-class scalability, performance, and reliability, Host Integration Server can support the most demanding business needs.

Host Integration Server 2000 is Microsoft Corp.'s new SNA gateway for the end-user to Internet, intranet or client-server environments, permitting the integration of existing mainframe application and database information into new Windows applications.

The platform is the Windows 2000 upgrade of the SNA Server that performed the same function for the BackOffice Suite on Windows NT systems - plus features unique to Windows 2000 that are geared toward high-end use.

Applications are integrated using COM+, XML and SOAP technologies. The new product makes it possible to make multiple data copies and move them to varying locations while automatically synchronizing data. It permits a two-way relationship between Oracle and SQL Server databases and also is designed to integrate with SQL Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000 and Commerce Server 2000.

In March/2000, Microsoft entered into an agreement with Software AG ( to use its COM Transaction Integrator (COMTI) on Host Integration Server in order to covert Customer Information Control System (CICS) 3270 applications on IBM mainframes into running on a Windows 2000 or Windows NT Server.

This is a high-level overview that explains the features and functionality offered with Host Integration Server for comprehensive and flexible managed host access, and as an application integration tool that is an adaptable, easy, and affordable solution.

Where can you use HIS?

An estimated 70 percent of all corporate data is stored on host systems, such as IBM mainframe and AS/400 computers. Yet, increasingly, organizations rely on personal computers together with Web-based and Windows-based applications for everyday productivity and line-of-business solutions. Companies have discovered that Web and Windows solutions often are easier to learn and quicker to implement than comparable host-based applications. To preserve their time and capital investments in host technology, organizations must either migrate all of their host-based resources to the Windows platforms, which can be expensive and time-consuming, or integrate their host-based resources with more efficient Windows-based and Web-based solutions.

Integrating host-based data and applications with Web-based and Windows-based applications offers significant benefits, including:

  • Preserves investment in currently deployed host and PC technology while taking advantage of new architectures and products being offered for the PC platform.

  • Allows rapid deployment of custom, high-performance solutions, using a choice of Windows-based development tools and leveraging a large pool of qualified developers who do not need to know or learn host programming.
  • Lowers administrative resources and reduces hardware expenses, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO).

Whether companies want to create data warehouses to improve decision-making, develop Web-based applications that perform transactions using host-based data, or allow users to include archived data in reports, Microsoft Host Integration Server 2000 offers integration components that make it easy to achieve those goals.

To help its customers achieve these benefits, Microsoft has offered a host integration solution since 1990, when it introduced Communication Server 1.0 in partnership with Digital Communications Associates. Microsoft SNA Server 2.0, which followed in 1992, allowed system administrators to send local area network (LAN) and SNA networking traffic across the same network infrastructure. 

Since then, Microsoft has continued to improve SNA Server based on customers' needs, developing it into a complex and feature-rich product. Host Integration Server 2000 builds on the strengths of SNA Server 4.0 and offers a range of mature technologies that help companies solve their host integration challenges.

This is a high-level overview that explains the features and functionality offered with Host Integration Server for comprehensive and flexible managed host access, and as an application integration tool that is an adaptable, easy, and affordable solution.

HIS Features

What is HIS 2000?

Host Integration Server 2000 is the next version of Microsoft's SNA Server 4.0 and is a comprehensive gateway and application integration platform that provides an organisation with the best way to embrace Internet, intranet, and client/server technologies while preserving investments in existing host based systems. HIS 2000 is the first product to extend the definition of a host-to-Web gateway to include a state-of-the art applications integration platform in one affordable, manageable product.

Host Integration Server 2000 provides comprehensive bi-directional services for integrating Windows with legacy systems. Host Integration Server 2000 extends Windows to other platforms by providing interoperability in three areas:

  • Application Integration Services 
  • Data Integration Services 
  • Network Integration Services

The following diagram shows an overview of the major features provided by Host Integration Server 2000.


Why did Microsoft change the name from SNA Server?

The name change reflects the full scope of functionality offered by this product and highlights Microsoft's commitment to providing support and integration possibilities for back-end and host systems through increased performance and ease of configuration for DB2 access, COM+ support for integrated CICS/IMS transactions, and support for Microsoft Message Queue Server 2.0 and IBM's MQSeries 5.1 for messaging-oriented middleware integration. These features allow users to build more scalable and reliable integrated solutions while maintaining transactional integrity. In addition, this product has been updated to take advantage of features inherent to the Windows 2000 platform. 

How does HIS 2000 fit in with BizTalk?

The solutions are complementary. The BizTalk Initiative and associated BizTalk Server 2000 product, along with Host Integration Server 2000, provide essential integration frameworks and technologies for a complete end-to-end solution for customers. The BizTalk Framework helps create standardized formats that make it easier for business-to-business process integration. BizTalk Server 2000 will provide the necessary routing, transformation and business process integration tools and services. Host Integration Server 2000 provides the enterprise technology adapters that will allow new applications the ability to seamlessly "plug-in" to existing systems. The use of these three aspects together provides Microsoft's complete application integration solution.

Also, Host Integration Server 2000 does take advantage of new Windows 2000 features such as Active Directory, but you will also be able to take advantage of other new Host Integration Server 2000 features if you're running on Windows NT.

Services for the Mainframe Environment

Host Integration Server 2000 offers a comprehensive host integration solution that provides the best way to embrace Internet, Intranet, and client/server technologies while preserving investments in existing enterprise computing platforms and technologies. Host Integration Server 2000 allows you to connect, integrate, and Web-enable heterogeneous legacy applications, data, and transaction environments for a variety of Microsoft products and technologies. 

Systems Network Architecture (SNA) is a proprietary networking architecture developed by IBM that defines a set of communication protocols and message formats for managing network data. SNA defines methods for terminal access to mainframe computers, file transfer, printing, and peer-to-peer communications that allow applications to exchange data over a network.


Typical mainframe network environment

In mainframe networks, Host Integration Server 2000 appears as a cluster controller, PU 2 (physical unit type 2) device. Host Integration Server 2000 can also attach directly to the host via a high-speed data channel. The figure above shows a typical configuration in a mainframe network environment.

The following table describes the services available for hierarchical Host Integration Server 2000 networks:

Application Integration Services COM Transaction Integrator for CICS and IMS (COMTI) provides an interface between Automation components and mainframe-based applications that enables you to leverage existing COBOL applications for client/server or Web-enabled applications. Running on Windows 2000 or Windows NT Server, COMTI-created components appear as simple Automation servers that developers can easily add to their application. Behind the scenes, COMTI functions as a proxy that communicates with an application program running on IBM's Multiple Virtual Storage (MVS) operating system. This means that you can invoke a legacy application on the host and return values to a Web-based client without rewriting the host application.
MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge enables your applications to exchange messages between IBM MQSeries and Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ) easily and efficiently. MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge provides connectionless, store-and-forward messaging across messaging systems and computing platforms throughout your network. For more information, see the online guide for MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge. To access the online guide, you need to have installed MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge. For more information about installing MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge, see Microsoft SNA Server Getting Started.
The Host Connectivity Software Development Kit enables a software developer to create custom applications that leverage the power of Host Integration Server 2000's host connectivity services. All SDK documentation is provided on the Host Integration Server 2000 CD-ROM. SDK documentation includes the following guides: Microsoft Host Integration Server 3270 Emulator Interface Specification, Microsoft Host Integration Server AFTP API Programmer's Guide, Microsoft Host Integration Server APPC Programmer's Guide, Microsoft Host Integration Server Client Setup, Microsoft Host Integration Server CPI-C Programmer's Guide, Microsoft Host Integration Server LUA Programmer's Guide, Microsoft Host Integration Print Server Data Filter, Microsoft Host Integration Device Interface Specification (SNADIS), National Language Support.
Data Integration Services OLE DB Provider for AS/400 and VSAM allows record-level access to AS/400 and mainframe files. This OLE DB provider hides the complexity of APPC programming by leveraging the advantages of OLE DB as the common interface to heterogeneous data sources in a business enterprise. OLE DB Provider for AS/400 and VSAM enables rapid and cost-effective development of web-to-host and PC-to-host data integration solutions.
OLE DB Provider for DB2 provides access over SNA APPC or TCP/IP networks to a remote DB2 database. OLE DB Provider for DB2 is implemented as an IBM Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) application requester that can connect to all DRDA-compliant DB2 systems including MVS, VSE, VM, OS/400, AIX RS/6000, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, Digital/Compaq UNIX, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and OS/2. Support for issuing SQL statements and executing stored procedures is provided.
Microsoft's Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) data access interface remains the industry standard for providing unified access to relational data as part of the OLE DB specification. ODBC is also a widely accepted application programming interface (API) for database access. ODBC Driver for DB2 works with OLE DB Provider for DB2 to provide ODBC access to DB2. The underlying connectivity is based on the SNA APPC and TCP/IP transport support of OLE DB Provider for DB2.
Network Integration Services Connectivity services include configuring server properties, installing and configuring link services, configuring connections, configuring 3270 logical units (LUs), grouping LUs into pools, assigning LUs to users, and managing users.
Host Integration Server 2000 continues to provide excellent support for network integration services in the hierarchical environment, including TN3270 service, Host Print service, and Host Integration Server Remote Access Service (RAS). For more information, see Network Integration Services.
Administrative Services The administrative services available through Host Integration Server 2000 include the new Microsoft Management Console (MMC) in addition to the tried-and-true SNA Manager for graphical user interface management. You can also manage configuration files using the command-line interface, use Host Security Integration to provide single sign-on to multiple computers, and use the Bulk Migration Tool to work on multiple user accounts simultaneously. The Trace Utility tool and System Monitor tool are also provided.

Services for the AS/400 Environment

Host Integration Server 2000 offers a comprehensive integration solution that provides the best way to embrace Internet, Intranet, and client-server technologies, while preserving investments in existing enterprise computing platforms. Host Integration Server 2000 allows you to connect, integrate, and Web-enable heterogeneous legacy applications, data, and transaction environments in conjunction with a variety of Microsoft products and technologies. 

In the AS/400 environment, all components on the network can communicate with each other. Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking (APPN) is an IBM-developed network architecture that supports distributed processing. APPN defines how peer-oriented components communicate with each other, along with the level of network related services (e.g., routing services) that are supplied by each computer in the network. As shown in the following figure, Host Integration Server 2000 appears as a PU 2.1 Low-Entry Networking (LEN) node in an AS/400 environment.


Host Integration Server 2000 in the AS/400 environment

Microsoft in Host Integration Server

What is MS doing on HIS?

IBM and Microsoft Corp. are looking to help companies squeeze more value out of multimillion-dollar legacy systems by modernizing their mainframe integration offerings with new Web services and application componentization capabilities.

Meanwhile, Microsoft announced the beta version of its HIS (Host Integration Server) 2004, which adds support for XML-based Web services.

Mainframe users welcome the arrival of software that extends the life of legacy hardware and software.

"We have invested millions into our legacy system," said Dennis Crumb, a rapid application development analyst at Avista Corp. who uses Microsoft's HIS 2000. "Relatively inexpensively, HIS allowed us to expose that [system] without having to spend millions more bringing that to a midrange platform. So we chose to stay on the mainframe and use that for now."

IBM's server-based HATS software enables users to access host screens. With Version 5, users can define a function—a credit check, for example—from within a monolithic host application and make it available to other applications as a Web service, said IBM officials, in Armonk, N.Y.

Version 5 dynamically transforms green-screen interfaces from 3270 and 5250 mainframes to HTML. It also enables users as they build Web services to mix and match data from mainframe, AS/400 and Unix applications and to provide a single sign-on to access multiple applications, IBM officials said.

In 2004, IBM will continue to enhance HATS' ability to provide integration to back-end applications. It will also work to link the software with WebSphere, enabling Java applications and legacy applications to work better together, officials said.

Microsoft's HIS 2004 adds support for Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework. The upgrade, due in mid-2004, includes features that enable cross-platform access and improved application and data integration. It is geared toward customers looking to more efficiently integrate information from IBM mainframe and midrange computers with the systems of their partners and customers, said Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash.

Through support of the High Performance Routing/IP protocol, HIS 2004 provides connectivity for SNA applications across an IP network, a feature that helps users integrate their network infrastructure with IBM's OS/390 and z/OS mainframes.

With the tighter integration with .Net and Visual Studio .Net that is provided through a new Transaction Integration tool, users have the ability to wrap CICS applications so they appear as .Net client components.

For improved data integration, HIS 2004 provides what Microsoft refers to as two-phase commit transactions over TCP/IP to IBM's DB2 database. The two-phase commit capability lets Crumb run two transactions concurrently, even as his mainframes run in Sacramento, Calif., and his Web servers run at Avista's home office in Spokane, Wash.

"Right now, with Version 2000, it's one trip up and one trip back with HIS—in other words, we can't open a socket to the mainframe, run multiple transactions and do a commit within one unit of work," Crumb said. "We have to do one trip and come back. [The new version] will allow us to do a long trip and keep multiple transactions."

Key Benefits and Features in HIS 2000


  • Leverage investment in existing host systems 
  • Easiest, most affordable integration solutions 
  • Fastest time to market 
  • Mission-critical reliability 
  • Enterprise-class scalability and performance

Features and Functionality

Host Integration Server 2000 enables companies to respond quickly to rapidly evolving business and technology demands while preserving their investments in existing host technology. Host Integration Server 2000 includes a comprehensive set of integration components for connecting host-based data and transactions with new applications, allowing companies to design flexible solutions that meet their integration challenges.

  1. Other Data Interoperability: 
    • COM+ support 
    • Dynamic routing to configured host region based on program selection 
    • IMS access via TCP/IP through OTMA 
    • Improved performance tuning and monitoring

  2. MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge:
    • Support for Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ) version 2.0 and IBM MQSeries version 5.1 
    • Integrated setup with the rest of the product 
    • Encryption between MSMQ clients and the bridge 
    • Configuration wizard for easy installation

  3. SNA Gateway:
    • Multiple sessions for 3270 clients 
    • Better Web deployment of 3270 and 5250 clients 
    • Improved scalability of host print server 
    • Load balancing and hot backup for LU6.2 2PC applications

  4. Host Security:
    • One-way password synchronization with RACF, ACF/2, and Top Secret 
    • Better reliability and supportability using host security database based on Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) 

  5. Administrative Enhancements:
    • Scriptable SNA gateway and MSMQ-MQSeries Bridge configure/management based on Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
    • Remote Microsoft Management Console (MMC) based, multiserver administration of all functions 
    • Scriptable, modular setup based on Microsoft Installer 
    • Direct TCP/IP setup option for data access providers at desktop 
    • Greatly improved documentation