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Part XII: IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) and Protocols

Part XII: IBM Systems Network Architecture (SNA) and Protocols

Description Along with the OSI Model, the Systems Network Architecture (SNA) proposed by IBM, is one of the most popular network architecture models. Although the SNA model is now considered a legacy networking model, SNA is still widely deployed. SNA was designed around the host-to-terminal communication model that IBM’s mainframes use. IBM expanded the SNA protocol to support peer-to-peer networking. This expansion was deemed Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking (APPN) and Advanced Program-to-Program Communication (APPC). Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking (APPN) represents IBM’s second-generation SNA. In creating APPN, IBM moved SNA from a hierarchical, mainframe-centric environment to a peer-to-peer (P2P) networking environment. At the heart of APPN is an IBM architecture that supports peer-based communications, directory services, and routing between two or more APPC systems that are not directly attached.

The IBM SNA model has many similarities with the OSI 7 layers model. However, the SNA model has only 6 layers and does not define specific protocols for its physical control layer. The physical control layer is assumed to be implemented via other standards. The functions of each SNA layer are described as follows:

  • Data link control (DLC) -- Defines several protocols, including the Synchronous Data Link Control (SDLC) protocol for hierarchical communication, and the Token Ring Network communication protocol for LAN communication between peers. SDLC provided a foundation for ISO HDSL and IEEE 802.2.

  • Path control -- Performs many OSI network layer functions, including routing and datagram segmentation and reassembly (SAR)

  • Transmission control—Provides a reliable end-to-end connection service (similar to TCP), as well as encrypting and decrypting services

  • Data flow control -- Manages request and response processing, determines whose turn it is to communicate, groups messages, and interrupts data flow on request

  • Presentation services -- Specify data-transformation algorithms that translate data from one format to another, coordinate resource sharing, and synchronize transaction operations

  • Transaction services -- Provides application services in the form of programs that implement distributed processing or management services

The following figure illustrates how the IBM SNA model maps to the OSI 7 layers reference model.

Figure 2.49. IBM SNA vs. OSI Model

The IBM main protocols are listed as follows:

Table 12.32.

Reference Systems Network Architecture Inside APPN and HPR - The Essential Guide to the Next-Generation SNA SNA APPN Architecture Reference


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