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Introducing Ex Libris Secure FTP Service

The Ex Libris Secure FTP Service provides a homogeneous FTP solution to all institutions while simplifying operations, improving security, and user experience. The service allows you to store data on the Ex Libris cloud platform. 

Available as of the December 2020 release. 

In this post we’ll demonstrate how to set up an FTP connection to Ex Libris Secure FTP Service. 

 

Generating a Private Key 

In Alma Configuration, locate the S/FTP Definitions page under General -> External Systems. The top of the page contains the details of the Ex Libris Secure FTP Service, which includes the following, non-configurable properties: 

  • Server – the FTP hostname and port (e.g. custdata-dc04.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com:10022) 
  • User – the FTP username (e.g. alma_01abc_inst_production@customers.na) 
  • Sub-directory – the FTP root directory that will be accessed by Alma (e.g. “production”). 

Copy down these properties. 

Next, press the “Generate Private Key” button. Alma will work for a short while, after which a private RSA key file will be downloaded to your computer. Note its location. 

    

 

Using the Ex Libris Secure FTP Service 

From UNIX shell

From FileZilla 

Open FileZilla’s “Site Manager” (ctrl-s) and configure a new entry with the host, port & user copied from Alma.

Protocol – “SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol”

Logon Type – select “Key file” and browse for the file download from Alma.

Click on “Connect” to save the credentials and log in.

Converting Your Private Key to PuTTY Format 

Some FTP clients, such as the one we will demonstrate, accept only PuTTY Format private keys. If your client supports RSA keys, you can skip this step. If not, before configuring your FTP connection, you will need to convert your RSA key to a PuTTY key using the Putty Key Generator. There are several sites that explain how to do this. I converted my RSA file using the instructions here and saved my PuTTY key as alma.ppk.  

 

Configuring Your FTP Connection 

For the purpose of this example, I will be using the WinSCP client.  

Following the instructions here, I defined a new site using the SFTP protocol, entered “custdata-dc04.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com” as my hostname, 10022 as my port, and “alma_01abc_inst_sb@customers.na” as my user name, leaving the password empty.  

 

Then I clicked on ‘Advanced’, and, following the instructions here, I navigated to the Authentication section, and in the Private key file I selected my alma.ppk file: 


Under ‘Directories’, I entered ‘/production’ as my remote directory so that the session will open in the right place: 

 I I then saved my new connection as “Alma – Production”: 

 

Working with the Ex Libris Secure FTP Service 

Once you generate your private key, you can configure various Alma tasks and jobs to use this FTP configuration. FTP integration is ubiquitous throughout Alma. For the purpose of this demonstration, we’ll use the Export Bibliographic Records job as an example.  

Create (or modify) an Export Bibliographic Records job configuration (see documentation) and select the ‘Ex Libris Secure FTP Service’ for your FTP configuration (it will always appear at the top of the FTP configuration list) and define a subdirectory (if it does not already exist, Alma will create it):   

Run the job, and open your FTP client to the subdirectory you defined. The file should appear under /production/ExportBibs1: