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Settings for the FTP Inbound Adapter

Provides reference information for settings of the FTP inbound adapter, EnsLib.FTP.InboundAdapterOpens in a new tab.


The inbound FTP adapter has the following settings:

Group Settings
Basic Settings External Registry ID, File Path, Delete From Server, File Spec Delimiter, File Spec, Archive Path, Call Interval, FTP Server, FTP Port, Credentials
Connection Settings Protocol, SSL Configuration, SSL Check Server Identity, SSL Use Session Resumption, UsePASV, Stay Connected, Connect Timeout
FTP Settings Command Translate Table
SFTP Settings SFTPAuthenticationMethods,SFTPPublicKeyFile, SFTPPrivateKeyFile, SFTP Server Character Set, SFTP Local Character Set, SFTP Passphrase Credentials, SFTPInteractiveDTL
Additional Settings Use FileStream, Server List Style, Subdirectory Levels, Charset, Append Timestamp, Confirm Complete, File Access Timeout, Semaphore Specification

The remaining settings are common to all business services. For information, see Settings for All Business Services in Configuring Productions.

Append Timestamp

Append a time stamp to filenames in the Archive Path and Work Path directories; this is useful to prevent possible name collisions on repeated processing of the same filename.

  • If this value is empty or 0, no time stamp is appended.

  • If this setting is 1, then the standard template '%f_%Q' is appended.

  • For other possible values, see Time Stamp Specifications for Filenames in Configuring Productions.

Archive Path

Full path name of the directory on the InterSystems IRIS® server to save a copy of each file received from the FTP server. This directory must exist, and it must be accessible through the file system on the local InterSystems IRIS machine.

If not specified, InterSystems IRIS stores the local copy of the file in a temporary location and then deletes it after processing is completed.


When you purge message bodies from the system, any files in the Archive Path that are referenced by message bodies are deleted. For more information, see Purging Production DataOpens in a new tab.

Call Interval

The polling interval for the adapter, in seconds. This is the time interval at which the adapter checks for input files in the specified locations.

Upon polling, if the adapter finds a file, it links the file to a stream object and passes the stream object to the associated business service. If several files are detected at once, the adapter sends one request to the business service for each individual file until no more files are found.

If the business service processes each file synchronously, the files will be processed sequentially. If the business service sends them asynchronously to a business process or business operation, the files might be processed simultaneously.

After processing all the available files, the adapter waits for the polling interval to elapse before checking for files again. This cycle continues whenever the production is running and the business service is enabled and scheduled to be active.

It is possible to implement a callback in the business service so that the adapter delays for the duration of the CallInterval between inputs. For details, see Defining Business Services in Developing Productions.

The default CallInterval is 5 seconds. The minimum is 0.1 seconds.


Specifies the character set of the input file. InterSystems IRIS automatically translates the characters from this character encoding. The setting value is not case-sensitive. Use Binary for binary files, or for any data in which newline and line feed characters are distinct or must remain unchanged, for example in HL7 Version 2 or EDI messages. Other settings may be useful when transferring text documents. Choices include:

  • Binary — Binary transfer (the default for the FTP adapters)

  • Ascii — Ascii mode FTP transfer but no character encoding translation

  • Default — The default character encoding of the local InterSystems IRIS server

  • Latin1 — The ISO Latin1 8-bit encoding

  • ISO-8859-1 — The ISO Latin1 8-bit encoding

  • UTF-8 — The Unicode 8-bit encoding

  • UCS2 — The Unicode 16-bit encoding

  • UCS2-BE — The Unicode 16-bit encoding (Big-Endian)

  • Any other alias from an international character encoding standard for which NLS (National Language Support) is installed in InterSystems IRIS

  • @TranslationTable, where TranslationTable is the name of a translation table (in this case InterSystems IRIS uses the given translation table)

For background information on character translation in InterSystems IRIS, see Localization Support in the Orientation Guide for Server-Side Programming.

Fatal Errors

For record map services, determines whether the system stops processing a message when it encounters an error such as a validation error in an individual record. When configuring the adapter, choose one of the following options:

  • Any — This is the default. If InterSystems IRIS encounters an error when saving an individual record, it stops processing the message.

  • ParseOnly — If InterSystems IRIS encounters an error when saving an individual record, it logs the error, skips the record, and then continues parsing the message. The log includes the position in the stream of the invalid record. Additionally, if Alert On Error is enabled, the system generates an alert.

Header Count

For record map services, determines the number of lines that the service ignores as prefix lines in incoming documents. Ignoring prefix lines enables the services to parse reports and comma-separated values (CSV) files with column headers.

Confirm Complete

Confirm complete receipt of each file, if possible. This setting handles the case where the file is not completely available on the server at the time downloading begins. When configuring the adapter, choose one of the following options:

  • None — May provide fastest performance for small files because no extra FTP directory listing request needs to be done for each file download attempt

  • Size — This is the default. Size means keep reading more data for a file until the size reported for it in the server directory listing does not increase. This option is only reliable when the Charset is Binary, because in text mode, the file position used for downloading may become corrupted by the insertion or removal of line feed characters.

  • Rename — Keep trying to read more data for a file until the server allows us to rename it. This option only works if the FTP server grants the rename privilege to InterSystems IRIS for the download directory, using the Credentials configured on this adapter, and if the file permissions on the file itself are set so that the FTP server has privilege to rename it. If not then the Rename attempt always fails, and the download never completes.

  • Size & Rename — The Size option alone may not be sufficient when the FTP servers or source application is sluggish. If the server reports the same size for the file twice, sequentially, 2 seconds apart, InterSystems IRIS considers the download complete. Therefore, the Size & Rename setting is preferable if the server supports rename.

If you are working with the ConfirmComplete property programmatically, each option has an integer value from 0 (None) to 3 (Size & Rename). The default is Size (integer value 1).

Command Translate Table

For FTP Protocol, the translate table to use for the command channel, specifically for the filename/pathnames. Normally this should not be specified in which case if the FTP server supports UTF8 then the adapter uses it for the filename/pathnames, if the server does not support UTF8 then the adapter uses RAW mode and just reads the bytes as sent. It is possible for a server to provide the filename list in RAW and for it to support UTF8. In this case it might be necessary to set the Command Translate Table to RAW to override the detected UTF8. The values shown in the list are the internal table names.

Connect Timeout

Number of seconds to wait on each attempt to connect to the FTP server. The default is 5 seconds.


Identifies a production credentials entry that can authorize a connection to the FTP server. For information on creating production credentials, see Configuring Productions.

Delete From Server

True or False. If True, delete files from the FTP server after successful processing. If False, the adapter ignores files already processed until something else deletes them from the FTP server. The default is True.

External Registry ID

ID of External Service Registry entry. Leave blank if you are not using the external registry. The registry endpoint sets the FTPServer, FTPPort, FilePath, and SSLConfig properties. For more information, see Configuring ESB Services and Operations in Using a Production as an ESB.

File Access Timeout

Amount of time in seconds that the system waits for information from the source application before confirming the complete receipt of a file. For more information, see Confirm Complete.

If you supply a decimal value, the system rounds the value up to the nearest whole number. The default value is 2.

File Path

Full pathname of the directory on the FTP server in which to look for files. This directory must exist, and it must be accessible using the Credentials provided. If SubdirectoryLevel is greater than 0, this setting cannot be blank and must specify the top-level directory where the search begins.

File Spec

Filenames or wildcard file specifications for file(s) to retrieve from the FTP server Multiple file specifications can be entered separated by a delimiter. It is necessary to enter the delimiter used in the File Spec Delimiter setting. Enter the FileSpec as one line. Maximum length is 2000 characters. For the wildcard specification, use the convention that is appropriate for the operating system on the FTP server machine.

File Spec Delimiter

If this is nonempty then it will be used as the delimiter to split the File Specification setting into multiple filename/wild card searches.

FTP Port

Identifies the TCP port on the FTP server to connect to. The default value is 21.

FTP Server

Identifies the FTP server to connect to. This can be the IP address or server name, as long as the domain host controller can resolve the name.


Indicates whether to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or SFTP (SSH File Transfer Protocol). If the protocol is FTP, it is possible to use the SSL Configuration setting to configure FTP over TLS. If the protocol is SFTP, then:

  • UsePASV and ServerListStyle settings are ignored.

  • FTP Port setting should ordinarily be set to 22.

  • You must supply a value for the Credentials setting.

  • If you supply values for the SFTPPublicKeyFile and SFTPPrivateKeyFile settings, the adapter attempts key pair authentication. It does this in conjunction with the username and password supplied via the Credentials setting, using the password in the Credentials as the passphrase for the private key. If you do not use the KeyFile settings, the adapter attempts only username/password authentication based on the Credentials setting.

This setting specifies whether to use FTP or SFTP. If it is left blank, then FTP is used, unless the SSL Configuration setting is !SFTP. In this case, SFTP is used irrespective of the Protocol setting.

Semaphore Specification

The Semaphore Specification allows you to indicate that the data file is complete and ready to be read by creating a second file that is used as a semaphore. The inbound FTP adapter waits until the semaphore file exists before checking the other conditions specified by the Confirm Complete requirements and then processing the data file. This allows the application creating the data file to ensure that the adapter waits until the data file is complete before processing it. The adapter tests only for the existence of the semaphore file and does not read the semaphore file contents.

If the Semaphore Specification is an empty string, the adapter does not wait for a semaphore file and processes the data file as soon as the conditions specified by the Confirm Complete requirements are met. If you are using a semaphore file to control when the adapter processes the data file, you should consider setting the Confirm Complete field to None.

The Semaphore Specification allows you to specify individual semaphore files for each data file or a single semaphore file to control multiple data files. You can use wildcards to pair semaphore files with data files, and can specify a series of patterns matching semaphore files to data files. The adapter always looks for a matching semaphore file in the same directory as the data file. If the adapter is looking for data files in subdirectories, the semaphore file must be in the same subdirectory level as its corresponding data file.

The general format for specifying the Semaphore Specification is:

[DataFileSpec=] SemaphoreFileSpec [;[DataFileSpec=] SemaphoreFileSpec]...

For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


It means that the ABCTest.SEM semaphore file controls when the adapter processes the ABCTest.TXT file and that the ABCdata.SEM semaphore file controls when the adapter processes the ABCdata.txt file.


In a semaphore specification, the * (asterisk) matches any character except dot. In a file specification, the asterisk matches any character including the dot.

You can have one semaphore file control multiple data files. For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


The DATA.SEM semaphore file controls when the adapter processes all *.DAT files in the same directory. When the adapter is looking for data files and corresponding semaphore files, it loops through all the data files at a polling interval. With the previous Semaphore Specification, if it started looking for DATA.SEM for the ABC.DAT file and does not find it, it continues looking for the semaphore files for the other files. But, if during this process DATA.SEM is created and it is looking for a match for XYZ.DAT, it finds the corresponding semaphore file. But the adapter defers processing XYZ.DAT until the next polling interval because a preceding data file, ABC.DAT, was waiting for the same semaphore file.

If you specify multiple pairings, separate them with a ; (semicolon). For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


The semaphore file MyData.SEM controls when the adapter processes MyData.TXT, but the semaphore file MyData.READY controls when it processes MyFile.DAT.

The adapter finds the corresponding semaphore file for each data file by reading the Semaphore Specification from left to right. Once it determines the corresponding semaphore file, it stops reading the Semaphore Specification for that file. For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:

VIData.DAT=Special.SEM; *.DAT=*.SEM

The adapter looks for the semaphore file Special.SEM before it processes VIData.DAT, but it does not consider VIData.SEM as a semaphore file for VIData.DAT. It does consider stuff.SEM as the semaphore file for stuff.DAT because stuff.DAT did not match an earlier specification. Consequently, if you are including multiple specifications that can match the same file, you should specify the more specific specification before the more general ones.

The data file target pattern is case-sensitive and the semaphore pattern case sensitivity is operating system dependent, that is *.TXT=*.SEM .is only applied to target files found ending with capitalized .TXT but the operating system may not differentiate between *.SEM and *.sem. If the operating system is not case-sensitive, the adapter treats semaphore files ending in any case combination of *.SEM and *.sem as equivalent but only uses them as the semaphore for data files named *.TXT. It cannot distinguish case in the semaphore files but can distinguish it in the data files.

If you only specify a single file specification and omit the = (equals) sign, the adapter treats that as the Semaphore Specification for all data files. For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


This is equivalent to specifying a single wildcard to the left of the = (equals) sign:


In this case, the semaphore file MyFile.SEM controls the data file MyFile.txt and the semaphore file BigData.SEM controls the data file BigData.DAT.

If no wildcard is used in the Semaphore Specification then it is the complete fileSpec for the semaphore file. For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


Then the DataDone.SEM semaphore file controls when the adapter reads any data file with the .DAT file extension.

If a Semaphore Specification is specified and a data file does not match any of the patterns, then there is no corresponding semaphore file and the adapter will not process this data file. You can avoid this situation by specifying * as the last data file in the Semaphore Specification. For example, if the Semaphore Specification is:


The SEM.LAST is the semaphore file for all files that do not end with .DAT or .DOC.

If an adapter configured with a FileSpec equal to *, the adapter usually considers all files in the directory as data files. But, if the adapter also has a Semaphore Specification and it recognizes a file as a semaphore file, it does not treat it as a data file.

After the adapter has processed through all the data files in a polling cycle, it deletes all the corresponding semaphore files.

SFTP Authentication Methods

AuthenticationMethods supported:

  • Empty — use public/private key if defined, otherwise use username and password from Credentials.

  • p — use username and password from Credentials.

  • k — use public/private key.

  • i — use Interactive (Challenge/Response).

If you specify multiple flags combine in the order required. For example kp leads to public/private key authentication first followed by username and password.

SFTP Interactive DTL

If specified, this is the DTL to used to handle the Interactive Authentication — also known as the keyboard-interactive or Challenge/Response authentication. This can be a DTL to create an array of answers for the challenge response authentication. See Ens.SSH.InteractiveAuth.DTLOpens in a new tab for more information. Leave blank to return just Credentials password.

SFTP Passphrase Credentials

This can be used to specify different credentials entry from which the password will be used as the Key authentication Passphrase. If this is blank the Credentials setting will be used. This separate setting allows having both Public Key and Password authentication.


File path to a file containing the SSH private key. Private keys should be PEM encoded. You need both a private and public key for use with AutheticateWithKeyPairOpens in a new tab.


File path to a file containing the SSH public key. Public keys should be in OpenSSH format. You need both a private and public key for use with AutheticateWithKeyPairOpens in a new tab.

SFTP Server Character Set

Character set used by the remote system to encode filenames. The default value is UTF8. You can set the property to "" (an empty string) to indicate that no character set translation is required for filenames. The character set that you select sets the RemoteCharset property of the %Net.SSH.SessionOpens in a new tab object that represents the relevant SSH session.

SFTP Local Character Set

Character set used by the local system to encode filenames. The default value for Windows systems is "" (an empty string), . The default value for Unix systems is UTF8. You can set the property to "" (an empty string) to indicate that no character set translation is required for filenames. The character set that you select sets the LocalCharset property of the %Net.SSH.SessionOpens in a new tab object that represents the relevant SSH session.

Server List Style

Identifies the operating system on the FTP server. This determines the type of listing format that the FTP server returns. Choose one of the following:

  • UNIX (the default)


SSL Config

The name of an existing TLS configuration to use to authenticate this connection. Choose a client TLS configuration, because the adapter initiates the communication.

To create and manage TLS configurations, use the Management Portal. See InterSystems TLS Guide. The first field on the Edit SSL/TLS Configuration page is Configuration Name. Use this string as the value for the SSLConfig setting.

You can use the Protocol setting to use SFTP.

SSL Check Server Identity

This setting controls whether the server name in the certificate must match the DNS name used to connect to the server, when connecting to an FTP server via TLS. This match is based on the rules in section 3.1 of RFC 2818.

SSL Use Session Resumption

This setting controls whether to reuse session parameters from the command channe, when making the SSL connection for the data channel. The feature of reusing session parameters requires OpenSSL v1.1.x+.

Stay Connected

A zero value means to disconnect immediately after every input event. The default of –1 means to stay permanently connected, even during idle times. Adapters are assumed idle at startup and therefore only auto-connect if they are configured with a StayConnected value of –1. The only StayConnected values that are useful in the normal case are 0 and –1. However, StayConnected can also be a positive number. If the StayConnected time is longer than the CallInterval, the adapter stays connected all the time. If the StayConnected time is shorter than the CallInterval, the adapter disconnects and reconnects at each CallInterval.

Subdirectory Levels

Number of levels of subdirectory depth under the given directory that should be searched for files. If the value is greater than 0, the FilePath setting must specify the top-level directory where the search begins.

Use FileStream

Specifies whether the adapter should use file stream for the data received. If this is false, the adapter uses a global stream. Note that regardless of this setting, a file stream will be used if Archive Path or ArchiveIO is set.


Use Passive FTP mode: server returns a data port address and the client connects to it. Most firewalls are more tolerant of Passive mode FTP because both the control and data TCP connections are initiated by the client.

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