Situation: Inefficiency, Expense and Non-Compliance

29 06 2010

Job Scheduling: Heterogeneous Inefficiency

Most enterprises implement multiple job scheduling solutions depending on platform type, application, data center and business owner. Aside from standards like cron, at, SAP’s, CCMS, i5/OS Advanced Job Scheduler, Oracle’s DMBS_Scheduler, HP’s Netbatch for NonStop servers, and others, more than 30 vendors add job scheduling solutions to the enterprise mix. While a diverse mix of job scheduling software may address the needs of individual business owners, that same mix presents a barrier to consolidated job scheduling.

File Transfer: Exorbitant Pricing and Non-Compliant Adoption

Despite growing budget constraints, many organizations cling to expensive enterprise-class file transfer solutions – some requiring dedicated connections. Often, the file transfer software is so costly that an organization deploys it only sparingly, allowing internal users to initiate FTP – a serious issue of audit compliance. Although there are a great many solutions for B2B communications security, MFT satisfies basic needs with minimal complexity. Simply put, MFT solutions are frequently overpriced.

Learn more. Read the white paper.





What Causes A Disparate Job Scheduling Environment?

24 06 2010

While I have touched on the causes of a complex and disparate job scheduling environment in past posts, let’s take a more in-depth look at some of leading causes:

  1. Acquisitions  – For many companies that integrate acquisitions, consolidating IT tools such as scheduling is not their highest priority. Although, it will save money in the long run, it is a big project that poses risks. Consequently, scheduling staff members are burdened with managing multiple schedulers.
  2. Departmental Purchasing – The lack of centralized purchasing or company-wide standards often results in the independent departmental acquisition of different job scheduling solutions that are unable to interoperate with each other and existing tools.
  3. Access to Tools – Application departments circumvent standard tools and use easier scheduling tools such as Cron. It is simple and easy to set up a Cron tab or schedule a process in Windows, but it is only a quick fix. Moreover, these one-off fixes decrease overall business visibility.
  4. Built-in application capabilities: This is one of the biggest culprits. Companies deploy applications and tools, such as backup products, due to the perceived benefits of a self-contained system that can be managed by its own tools. This thinking ignores the fact that most applications are not self-contained. In fact, they “touch” other applications by exchanging data and have dependencies based on the overall business workflow. Implementing these “point” solutions prevents the ability to control business workflows from end-to-end.
  5. Lack of management mandate – Without clear mandates from senior management, there is no ability to enforce centralized control. Thus, departments and application developers will take the path of least resistance.

In many cases, sooner or later, IT operations inherit these different applications and tools and are stuck with managing them. With vendor-independent technology, IT organizations can avoid these pitfalls, while saving money, time and resources.





Technology Independent Scheduling Agents: Part Two

8 06 2010

Besides minimizing risk and costs, vendor-independent technology enables you to simplify your IT infrastructure by standardizing processes to execute workload automation anywhere in the environment. Moreover, if business requirements dictate a new workload tool, the standard process is transportable, saving your original investment in configuration, training and deployment. This is all accomplished without getting locked in to a single vendor, which has negative implications for both price and functionality.

For example, assume you have two schedulers and each has its own proprietary agent technology. These schedulers each need to run processes across shared systems. Without vendor-independent technology, this would require a proprietary agent from each of the two schedulers installed on each of the systems, which not only creates significant cost but also  causes complexity for scheduling and operations staff. Vendor-independent technology can speak to each of these systems, requiring only one agent, while receiving processing requests from the two schedulers. This significantly simplifies the communication in your job scheduling environment.

By using vendor-independent technology, there is no need to retrain employees on new schedulers. You can re-use your existing technology investments in software, processes and skill sets, while simplifying your environment. You gain control over your job scheduling infrastructure while providing greater visibility in your production environment.





Job Scheduling Agents at a Reasonable Cost: Feed Your Piggy Bank

3 06 2010

Are expensive scheduling agents preventing you from meeting you Job Scheduling requirements?

Replacing or even acquiring additional legacy scheduling agents is a costly, daunting and resource-draining task. Vendor-independent technology enables you to avoid these risks while streamlining, optimizing and modernizing your Job Scheduling environment without replacing a single agent. Not to mention you can add agents to meet your growing requirements at the fraction of the cost of purchasing additional agents from existing scheduling vendor. All of which significantly reduces cost and increases your return on investment.

Are you throwing money away with legacy scheduler agents?

Vendor-independent technology works alongside your existing schedulers and provides you with one single point of management and control for your entire environment. No matter what the scheduling tool, every agent can be controlled and monitored from one central location, providing visibility across your entire workflow. Vendor-independent technology allows you to execute programs outside of Job Scheduling, making it more than just a scheduling agent; it’s an automation tool.

Costs can increase because your scheduling vendor bases agent cost on multiple CPUs. With technology-independent technology, whether it’s one CPU or 20, the cost remains the same. You are not locked down by a particular vendor, platform or scheduling system. You gain value and additional functionality at a reasonable price that is not offered by Job Scheduling vendors.





Platform-Specific Vs. Technology Independent: A Scheduler or a Agent?

1 06 2010

The key to solving both IT and business issues is to simplify and complement your existing job schedulers by deploying vendor-independent technology across the enterprise. This technology enables you to integrate with your existing schedulers and provides a more comprehensive view of your IT infrastructure.  Vendor-independent technology enables people to work across platforms without specialization, standardizing processes and consolidating tools, improving IT maturity while significantly reducing hard and soft costs.

A simplified job scheduling environment using vendor-independent technology.

For example, suppose Scheduler A needs to communicate with three different backend applications. The cost of purchasing agents for those backend applications from Vendor A is cost prohibitive. Consequently, IT decides to use vendor-independent technology to complement the existing scheduler, enabling Scheduler A to communicate with all three backend applications at a much lower cost.

A key benefit to this approach is that you can leverage your existing investment in Scheduler A at reduced risk, cost and effort. Additionally, vendor-independent technology increases your business’s ability to support emerging technologies such as service-oriented architecture and other Web-based technologies.





When Do You Consolidate Apps?

20 05 2010

In the InformationWeek article, “The Sprawl Stops Here!,” Michael Biddick makes important points in the benefits of application consolidation. The article starts out with the statement, “Application consolidation should never go out of style.” The debate between growth and trimming maintenance and support costs seems to be an argument that will continue to polarize IT executives.  Moreover, the article states, “in terms of business justification, the case for consolidating apps is one of the easiest to make but the hardest to implement.”

Why? Most people don’t like change. Many people, may in fact, have a vested interest in an application, whether homegrown, customized or proprietary. The article states, “custom products cost more to maintain than commercial alternatives, if they exist.” To successfully consolidate application across the enterprise, all affected departments need to be on board. This often becomes challenging, especially in time of mergers & acquisitions, when tensions are high and most staff members are thinking about redundant positions or departments.  Also, preferred applications or custom-built applications will be met with much opposition due to the resources and time put into developing the app. The question becomes: “Is there business value in the app?”

Consolidation drivers are clear: reduce cost and complexity. Biddick writes, “The more complex the software and systems involved, the greater the return for consolidation.”

Applications that are interoperable can bring further consolidation. What if you were able to consolidate your file transfer along with your job scheduling processes? The result would be increased visibility enterprise-wide, better communications between departments, less complexity, and ultimately affecting the bottom line.





How Do Multiple Job Schedulers Affect Your Business?

5 05 2010

One of the most devastating effects of a multiple job scheduler environment on businesses is the delay of mission-critical business information. Having multiple scheduling systems leads to complexity. It also leads to multiple points of failure and delays in supplying the business with the information it needs to competitively operate.

How does complexity affect your business?

Additionally, unnecessary complexity leads to more money spent on IT. There are always investments in new technology needed to help businesses stay current on compete. The problem is that the money available to IT is limited. Money that could be spent on staying competitive is instead spent on operating a complex, multiple scheduling infrastructure, depleting the budget for more revenue-driving technologies.

Moreover, the complexity of multiple scheduling environments affects the mindset of IT. The effort required by IT to maintain a multiple scheduling environment requires it to focus resources on managing the day-to-day issues instead of preparing for the evolving needs of the business.

Want to learn more about how to solve these issues? Read the article.