How to scan mainframe platforms (EBCDIC)



Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code (EBCDIC) is an 8-bit character encoding used mainly on IBM mainframe and IBM midrange computer operating systems.

EBCDIC descended from the code used with punched cards and the corresponding 6-bit binary-coded decimal code used with most of IBM's computer peripherals of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
It is also employed on various non-IBM platforms such as Fujitsu-Siemens' BS2000/OSD, HP MPE/iX, and Unisys MCP.

IBM Mainframes and Midrange computers that use EBCDIC: IBM System/3, System/34, System/32, System/36, System/38, and AS/400 ranges
Non-IBM platforms that use EBCDIC: Fujitsu-Siemens' BS2000/OSD, HP MPE/iX, and Unisys MCP

This article shall show how to enable 'EBCDIC mode' within both Card Recon and Enterprise Recon in order to scan these platforms.

What are mainframe and mid-range computers?

Mainframe computers are large and powerful computers used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations for critical applications, to perform complex bulk data processing such as census, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and transaction processing.

Midrange computers, or midrange systems, are a class of computer systems which fall in between mainframe computers and microcomputers.
These computers are more powerful than personal computers but less powerful and capable than mainframe computers.

The class emerged in the 1960s and machines were generally known at the time as minicomputers - especially models from Digital Equipment Corporation (PDP line), Data General, Hewlett-Packard (HP3000 line), and successors), and Sun Microsystems (SPARC Enterprise).
These were widely used in science and research as well as for business.

IBM favored the term 'midrange computer' for their comparable more business-oriented System/3, System/34, System/32, System/36, System/38, and AS/400 ranges

Since 1990s, when the client–server model of computing became predominant, computers of the comparable class became universally known as "servers" to recognize that they usually "serve" end users at their "client" computers.

IBM mainframes and midrange computers typically use EBCDIC encoding to store files.



Enabling EBCDIC mode in Card Recon

* Please note that EBCDIC mode is only available in CR Advanced. 

  1. Copy the files from the mainframe to a supported platform (i.e. Windows).
  2. Run Card Recon (GUI)
  3. On the main page, click the 'Custom Rules' button

  4. In the following window, click on the 'Add' button and select 'Enable EBCDIC mode'

  5. Go back to the main page and click on the 'Targets' button

  6. Make sure you edit/add the directory where the files from your mainframe system are stored

  7. You may now begin your scan


Enabling EBCDIC mode in Enterprise Recon

  1. Login to the Enterprise Recon Web console.
  2. Under Scanning, select Data Type Profiles and click 'Add' in the top right-hand corner of the console.
  3. Give your Data Type Profile a Label.
  4. Select and/or customise your Data Type according to your requirements.
  5. Under the Options tab, select Advanced Features.
  6. Switch Enable EBCDIC mode to on:
  7. Click OK to save your new EBCDIC data type profile.
  8. This profile will now be available to select whenever you setup a new scan schedule.



All information in this article is accurate and true as of the last edited date.

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