Got a question? We’ve got answers. When you’re looking for more information about products and technologies, our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages are a great place to start and an excellent way to jump-start your applications. Our experienced technical support team has collected and documented the answers to questions regularly asked by BlueZone and HostFront users. Use the links below to quickly reach answers to questions applicable for your product.

Q 1. Does BZAS / HostFront encrypt data transactions?

Yes. BZAS / HostFront have built-in 128-bit bi-directional encryption capability ensures that data is securely transmitted between the client ActiveX and the BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) or HostFront Server. This capability deprives hackers the ability to gain access to the host by “sniffing” the network connection. In addition, BZAS / HostFront provide support for industry-standard Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs) such as SSL 3.0/RSA-based encryption or SecurID token-based authentication to name a few.

Q 2. How does a BZAS / HostFront Client communicate with the host?

The BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) or HostFront Server Clients communicate with host systems through the BZAS / HostFront-enabled Web Server. BZAS / HostFront reside on a Windows based Web Server and runs as a Windows service. The BZAS / HostFront service coordinates all communications between BZAS / HostFront clients and the host, and provides a persistent or non-persistent connectivity between client and host. The client communicates with BZAS / HostFront Server via TCP/IP or HTTP; BZAS / HostFront Server communicate with the host using industry-standard methods such as Telnet, TN3270E, TN5250E, VT100, and/or Microsoft HIS for remote connection. 

BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) or HostFront Clients do not communicate directly with the AS/400 or mainframe host system. The client communicates securely with the server using TCP/IP or HTTP. The Server communicates with the host system using a TN5250E or TN3270E connection.

Q 3. How secure is BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) or HostFront Server?

BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) / HostFront is very secure since it is based on a three-tier architecture, which eliminates direct interaction between the user and the host. BZAS / HostFront mediate the client-host connection. This type of architecture allows BZAS / HostFront to establish a very strict user-authentication procedure and to create an air-tight level of security through its built-in encryption services and enhanced management control. Furthermore, the architecture allows BZAS / HostFront to operate on a physically separate server offering an added layer of security when the server is placed in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) of a company’s network. This type of setup allows BZAS / HostFront to control public access to the private SNA or TN3270E/TN5250E/Telnet gateway located securely behind the firewall on the corporate intranet.

BZAS / HostFront Server provides user authentication as its first level of security. The server authentication process can be synchronized with Windows® Domain Security or RSA ClearTrust to allow a Single Sign-On process. It also works with RSA SecurID tokens to provide maximum access control. 

Built-in encryption provides BZAS / HostFront’s next level of security. All data transmission between the client and BZAS / HostFront Server is encoded using bi-directional 128-bit encryption. This deprives hackers the ability to gain access by “sniffing” the network connection. In addition, BZAS / HostFront also provide support for industry standard Public Key Infrastructures (PKIs) such as SSL 3.0/RSA-based encryption, or SecurID token-based authentication, to name a few.

Q 4. What are the benefits of BZAS or HostFront Server?

Following is a list of some of the benefits:

  • Resides on a cost-effective Windows® server platform (2008 or 2012)

  • BZAS / HostFront connects users securely to your host without the need to install terminal-emulation software on each client PC

  • BZAS / HostFront provide multiple levels of security including encryption, domain authentication, and support for RSA SecurID and ClearTrust.

  • BZAS / HostFront clients can communicate with the server over HTTP standard port 80 (or 443) only, completely shielding the host from the outside environment.

  • With a standard Web browser, users can easily access the IBM host applications by simply downloading ActiveX clients to establish Display, Print, and File Transfer sessions with the host.

  • For companies not wishing to use a browser, BZAS provides a Windows®-based Thin Client possessing a user interface that is similar to the browser-based ActiveX control

  • Centralized distribution and management of clients reduces total cost of ownership (TCO)

  • BZAS / HostFront has a server interface that can support custom communication protocols as well as EDI formats

  • BZAS / HostFront downloads very small ActiveX-based ‘thin clients’ to your browser window

  • Remote users can establish a secure session with the host application in seconds, whether they have broadband access or a dial-up connection

  • Small clients provide users with full-featured host access. Users can initiate full display emulation, conduct secure bi-directional file-transfer, and print formatted reports in a variety of languages with just the click of the mouse

Q 5. What emulation clients are supported with BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) / HostFront Server?

BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) / HostFront support three types of clients: Display, Print, and File Transfer. Administrators can selectively grant access to users depending on their required tasks. Specific features of each client are as follows:

  • The Display client offers many productivity features including keyboard mapping, local or centralized macros, hotspots, light pen, and a unified look and feel regardless of host connection type.

  • The Printer client is highly customizable and can accommodate non-standard print forms. Remote agents, partners, or employees can have their reports printed directly over the Internet, anywhere in the world.

  • The File Transfer client supports IND$FILE, APPC, 5250 and 3270 FTP. With an explorer-like intuitive interface, files can be dragged and dropped from source to destination. In addition, unattended transfers can be automated, requiring no human intervention.

Q 6. What is the responsibility of the Cluster Service?

Cluster services are an integral part of the cluster. They are responsible for the following activities:

Entry point to the cluster: Users connect first to the server that is running this service through the HTML page (AX3270.HTM, AX5250.HTM or AXVT100.HTM) using either a DNS server or any other IP Load Balancing device or solution (such as Microsoft Windows Load Balancing Service – WLBS).

Authenticating users upon sign-on: The cluster service receives the user credentials and performs the authentication task according to the client authentication type. 

Load Balancing connections among the Servers based on the actual current load.

Maintenance of real time data in the database: If the cluster service detects that one of the Servers is not working, it manages cluster fail over by automatically removing failed services from the cluster and returning them when re-detected.

You must have at least one cluster service running in your cluster regardless of the number of servers.

Q 7. Does BZAS / HostFront have a keyboard mapping utility?

Yes. BZAS / HostFront products include full keyboard mapping. BZAS / HostFront also features pop-up graphical short keys help improve user efficiency and productivity.

Q 8. Does BZAS / HostFront support printing?

Yes. BZAS / HostFront supports remote host printing over an intranet or the Internet. This includes locally connected printers and network printers. BZAS / HostFront ActiveX-based print sessions provide built-in encryption to secure data transfers over an IP network. BZAS / HostFront printer clients graphically display the status of print jobs, the sending of print jobs by the host, pages printed, and pages left to print. In addition, the printer clients provide local control of the output format and types of fonts to accommodate a variety of non-standard forms.

Q 9. What makes BZAS / HostFront so secure?

BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) or HostFront server has three-tier level of security provides organizations with security at host application, transport, and session levels:

  1. BZAS / HostFront’s user access authentication is synchronized with Microsoft’s Windows Domain Security to enable a Single Sign-On process over an intranet or extranet. BZAS / HostFront’s authentication procedure compliments the existing security offered by the Host.

  2. Host access privileges are configured and assigned to individual users. Assigning privileges such as type of session and host connection, LU name assignments can also be assigned to specific users to limit user access to specific host applications.

  3. At the transport level, BZAS / HostFront-managed client sessions, occurring over an IP network, are secured using built-in 128-bit encryption and/or industry-standard RSA encryption and SSL 3.0. Three-tier architecture also provides a natural protocol boundary between the client and host connections thereby protecting the host from any IP sniffers or trojan-like intrusions.

Q 10. Which screen sizes are supported?

BlueZone Access Server (BZAS) / HostFront supports the following screens:

TN3270E Screen Size Columns x Rows
Model 2 80 x 24
Model 3 80 x 32
Model 4 80 x 43
Model 5 1 32 x 27
Dynamic All the above