IBM Arabic Language Problem (Host integration Server)

May 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm 6 comments

IBM mainframe zSeries and midrange iSeries programs store data in visual or physical order, with the shapes laid out and reversed into Arabic blocks, that is, Englishcibara.
Microsoft® Windows® 32-bit applications store data in logical or spoken order, that is, EnglishArabic.

IBM DB2 of z/OS, and IBM DB2 for OS/400 are frequently configured to use EBCDIC code pages, for example EBCDIC 420 (Arabic). Microsoft® Host Integration Server includes support for most EBCDIC code pages for purposes of EBCDIC-to-UNICODE-to-ANSI, ANSI-to-UNICODE-to-EBCDIC, and EBCDIC-to-UNICODE-to-EBCDIC conversions.

With Host Integration Server, Microsoft SNANLS library converts strings (UNICODE< EBCDIC, ISO, OEMPC, ASCII, ANSI), typically performing a MultiByteToWideChar conversions, using system-provided National Language Support (NLS) tables.

What is Host Integration Server?

Microsoft® Host Integration Server helps customers integrate IBM host applications, data sources, messaging and security systems with new solutions developed using the Microsoft Windows Server System™ platform.


Host Integration Server and Arabic Support

The Microsoft® Host Integration Server team is committed to enabling Microsoft enterprise customers to integrate their line-of-business data stored on IBM mainframe zSeries and midrange iSeries computers with new solutions based on Microsoft Windows® desktop and server operating systems. Therefore, in Microsoft Host Integration Server, a bi-directional layout conversion for Arabic strings was added. This new TrnsBiDi library is called from the SNANLS library, when the features listed below are configured for host EBCDIC 420 Arabic coded character set identifier (CCSID). At runtime, the feature sends Arabic strings to SNANLS, then in turn to TrnsBiDi for processing. TrnsBiDi parses the strings, determining the storage order, based on direction of data movement, then transforms any visual segments to logical segments. The ability to parse and determine the storage order is estimated to be 95% accurate. This conversion is supported within the features listed below. This is also offered as a separate Win32 feature of the SNA Server Software Development Kit (SDK) by way of the TrnsBiDi.dll as part of the SNANLS API.

•    SNA Print Service
•    Transaction Integrator
•    Managed Provider for DB2
•    OLE DB Provider for DB2
•    OLE DB Provider for AS/400 and VSAM

In this Blog, i will configure OleDB / ODBC connection with Mainframe for Arabic language support. Before this we need to do little changes in user locale to support Arabic language.

Setting the User Locale to Arabic and Installing Arabic EBCDIC Fonts

To set the user locale in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003

1.    From the Control Panel, double-click Regional and Language Options to open the dialog box.
2.    On the Regional Options tab, change the selected language to any Arabic country (Figure 1).

3.    On the Advanced tab, change the Language for non-Unicode programs to any Arabic country (Figure2).
4.    Choose 204020 (IBM EBCDIC – Arabic) from the Code page conversion tables list (Figure2).
5.    Check the Apply all settings to the current user account and to the default user profile option and then click OK (Figure 2).



Configuring OLE DB and ODBC Provider for Arabic Support

Note: Host integration Server 2004/2006/Latest version must be installed to do the following configuration.

Microsoft® Host Integration Server provides efficient data integration support for IBM DB2 databases, mainframe, and AS/400 file systems. Host Integration Server offers a new DB2 network protocol client (DRDA AR) over which the ODBC, OLE DB, and managed data providers communicate with the remote DB2 database server. A new Data Access Tool is also provided to create and manage connection definitions to DB2 and host file systems.

To create new data source:

1.    In the Data Access Tool right-click Data Sources, and then click New Data Source.
2.    On the Welcome to the Data Source Wizard page, click Next.
3.    Select the data source platform from the dropdown menu, select a network type then click Next.
4.    Configure your network parameters as desired.
5.    Configure your data source parameters as desired.
6.    On the Locale screen select your host CCSID and PC Code Page. Normally it should be EBCDIC – Arabic [20420] for host CCSID and ANSI – Arabic [1256] for PC Code Page as shown in Figure


7.    Click Next.
8.    Configure Security and Advanced Options parameters as desired.
9.    Validate your connection, create the required packages, and then click Next.
10.    Type a Data Source name and choose a Data Source type then click Next.
11.    Click Finish.

That’s all. Now, you can use this ODBC or OLE DB connection as a data source to communicate with IBM Mainframe. Well i used it with SQL Server Integration Services(SSIS) in Business intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) IDE to get data from Mainframe-DB2.

Note: HostFront Enterprise Server provides full Arabic EBCDIC code page 420 (XBASIC) support to IBM mainframe zSeries and midrange iSeries host environments making it the perfect companion to Microsoft Host Integration Server and BizTalk® Server.

Technorati Tags: Host integration Server,HIS,IBM Arabic,Mainframe Arabic Support,Reading Data from Mainframe IBM,SQL integration Services,using BI Services in SQL Server 2008,Codepage problem in Mainframe,Locale settings for IBM,ODBC connection for Mainframe IBM.


Entry filed under: Business intelligence (BI).

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ammar  |  May 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    very informative post Usman. thanks for sharing.

  • 2. Bachar  |  February 10, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks for the posting, we have worked with Microsoft on the white paper for the Arabization and HIS integration support for the Mainframe and AS/400. Are you also working on future projects with the Arabic support integartion?

    • 3. uatif  |  February 10, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Thanks for your nice comments, i hope it helped you.
      Ya, i am working two more projects for GOVT here in kuwait.


  • 4. Isabel Love  |  May 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    If only more people could read this.

    • 5. Ahmed  |  October 23, 2017 at 9:02 am

      could you please call me 99338149

      • 6. uatif  |  October 23, 2017 at 9:35 am

        I am outside Kuwait at moment, please share what you want to ask. Or add my what’s app number i.e. 99780671

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