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-by Joe Goldberg, Control-M Solutions Marketing, BMC Software Inc.

 

Imagine you’re an IT Operations dude or dudette. You’ve been working twelve hour shifts for three nights straight and tomorrow is Friday. You have a great long weekend planned.

 

Suddenly, you get a notification that job PYPWCR12 aborted. You snap into action and call the duty programmer, anxiously waiting until the problem is fixed and you can breathe a deep sigh of relief.

 

You are a dedicated employee and your company’s production is important to you but you also happen to know that PYPWCR12 is the job that makes the bank deposit that will ensure you can cash your payroll check and truly enjoy that weekend you have planned. Not only do YOU know it but that duty programmer also knew it and probably responded just a little faster than normal; perhaps for similar reasons to yours.

 

How did you know? Well, because you have standards in your installation. The first two characters of a job name must be a valid application (PY is payroll) and “P” means it’s a production job (this is for real and not just some programmer running tests), it’s the Weekly job that does Check Reconciliation.

 

Of course you know standards are important for more than just letting IT Ops folks plan for a great weekend.

 

Standards are critical for all kinds of reasons such as ensuring consistency, simplifying administration and security and making important information known to all interested parties. But how exactly are standards enforced? For batch job and workload definitions, usually the answer is manually and that is not a great answer. Let’s look at a simple example in that scenario above. QualityControl.jpg

 

What if your organization enforces security for job access? That on-call programmer can only look at jobs that are part of the production payroll application. Recently, a change was made to one of the jobs and instead of starting the job name with PYP…, a typographical error was made and the job name was PYBWCR12. When that job failed, perhaps it was not identified correctly as being part of production payroll? If it was properly identified, perhaps the on-call programmer could not access the output. Perhaps the failure itself was due to some check for the job name (very common in z/OS environments).

 

I mention z/OS because job name validation in this platform is a common practice that has evolved over decades but is almost completely absent in other environments. Standards enforcement is largely a manual process subject to all the challenges that manual processes present.

 

I’ve focused on job names but of course standards are critical for almost every character or attribute of a job.

  • If the “Run As” user is invalid, the job will likely fail security validation
  • If the filepath is invalid, the required script will not be found or even worse, the wrong script may be executed
  • If the wrong email address used for failure notification, no one will respond to correct a critical problem
  • If the application or sub-application name is incorrect, the job may not be seen by its owners or the folks repsonsible for fixing problems.
  • If documentation is omitted, Operations may not have proper instructions for handling the job

 

The list really does go on and on.

 

What makes this situation even more challenging is that many organizations have multiple standards. z/OS job names are eight characters and may be very similar to PYPWCR12 but in the very same flow, there may be Unix jobs that have names like “Payroll_Check_Reconcilliation_Bank_Deposit”. It’s common to have different standards for Windows versus Unix/Linux versus ERP versus File Transfers and so on. This makes it exceedingly difficult to remember all this and to get it right for application developers who submit requests or for centralized operations teams who build or modify job definitions.

 

A great way to deal with this problem is to make the workload automation solution smart enough to know your standards and to enforce them when job requests are submitted and when jobs are modified or built. That’s the idea behind the Site Standards facility of BMC Control-M Workload Change Manager. You can define any number of Site Standards you require. You can allow users to select standards or you can set a specific standard for a folder. If request submitters, usually application developers or business analysts, are very familiar with the site standards, you can insist the requests comply with the standards, or, if your users are not that knowledgeable, you can accept requests with errors.

 

Here’s the thing; standards are also enforced for schedulers working with the Workload Automation client so that validation must be performed and passed before changes are committed. No more guessing, hoping and relying on only human eyeballs to stand between managing job definitions and job failure.

 

If you have a solution that you have implemented or if you are suffering with a process that is less than perfect, tell us all about it and share with the community.

 

 

The postings in this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of BMC Software

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-by Joe Goldberg, Control-M Solutions Marketing, BMC Software Inc.


Google calls online decision-making for product purchases the Zero Moment of Truth — ZMOT. Snap39.jpgIt is the trend we see all around us that has completely changed the way we purchase goods and services both as consumers and as enterprises. BMC Control-M Workload Automation is bringing this approach to enterprise workload automation. We began with a test drive for Control-M Self Service and are now extending it to our newest component BMC Control-M Workload Change Manager.

 

Every organization that manages workload automation (basically every company that manages an IT environment) deals with a constant challenge when it comes to implementing changes to batch services. Usually, Application Development and IT Operations must collaborate and these groups do not speak the same language. When the time comes to make such changes, AppDev submits a request to IT using some negotiated process that almost never has any connection to the workload automation tools used by the organization. Instead, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, email and other such methods are used to submit information. Finally, job definitions are built by schedulers. The process is completely manual. The requestors usually don’t know all the information that is required so mistakes are common. Because the jobs are hand built, yet another opportunity for errors is introduced. And if any required information is omitted, the request is rejected and the process repeats this entire cycle, frequently many times.

 

Meanwhile, the AppDev requestors are frustrated. The IT schedulers receiving erroneous or incomplete requests are frustrated. Operations that has to fix failed jobs resulting from manual entry errors is frustrated. And worst of all, the business is not getting its new applications and digital services so the CxOs and the shareholders are frustrated.

 

ENOUGH, you say. YES, I have that problem and I’m sick and tired of it. Can you show me a better way?

 

Well, I thought you’d never ask! BMC DOES have a better way and we want you to see it for yourself! Take a few minutes and take the Control-M Workload Change Manager Test Drive ("faire un essai" or Probefarht; yes it is available in French or German too) I guarantee that within ten minutes, you will be creating job flows even if you never used Control-M before. And, after you have had that experience, ask all your AppDev folks that submit those requests today to also take our Test Drive. I know they will thank you and your business will thank you. And you can claim some street cred with your procurement folks for exercising your electronic consumer rights and bringing ZMOT to your workload automation acquisition process.

 

The postings in this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the opinions or positions of BMC Software

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New Day is arguably the most critical process in Control-M/Server.  Analyzing how your New Day performs and seeing new features in version 8.0.00 can help you more quickly start your daily job flows.

 

On April 16th in the Connect with Control-M webinar series, Rick Hansen will discuss New Day Best Practices and Enhancements.  Following the event there will be a live Q&A session.  Don't miss this chance to learn about New Day improvements, functionality, and best practices, and get your questions answered.   See registration information below.

 

Connect with Control-M: New Day Enhancements, Best Practices and Troubleshooting

 

April 16 2014 @ 9:00 am US Central Time

 

Register using the following link

 

http://bit.ly/CwCNewDay

 

Hope to see you there!

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A structured, managed workload change process with the power of automation

Join us to learn how to bring new visibility, efficiency, and speed to your workload change processes in this free 30-minute webinar.

  • Give users clear visibility into your workload automation environment
  • Help users and IT communicate and collaborate more effectively
  • Automate the generation of agreed-to workflows

This session is the second in a three-part webinar series, “Simplify Workload Creation to Get Applications Faster,” designed to help you deliver applications more quickly, at a lower cost. Register today for “Let Users Show You How Their Jobs Should Look,” as well as for “Get Hands-On with BMC Control-M Workload Change Manager,” the final session in the series. You’ll also gain access to the first session in the series on-demand—to learn how to streamline and automate your workload change management processes.

Let BMC show you the way.


APR
22
April 22, 2014
11:00am - 11:30am CT

FEATURED SPEAKER:

Robby Dick
Lead Technical Marketing Consultant
BMC Software

REGISTER

 

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Think about the creation and modification of jobs in your batch workload environment for a second. How is it done?  Is it streamlined and efficient?  Is it perfect?  Or is there room for improvement?

 

We know the process you use today for this might not be the best.  It might involve lots of back and forth between application developers and the scheduling team.  It might require many different forms, diagrams, helpdesk tickets, and voicemails or emails that need to be transcribed and translated and demystified! It might be something you have made more manageable with processes and procedures, but how about a shot in the arm? A little booster perhaps that will make some of the pain go away?

 

Well, that boost is now here.  Meet BMC Control-M Workload Change Manager.  It is a collaboration tool that simplifies the creation and modification of application batch workflows.  With features like sites standards, site customizations, notes and drag and drop job creation it aims to take much of the time (and pain) away from the job creation process.  Here is a brief introductory video:

 

 

But before you jump over to the BMC Control-M Workload Change Manager web page tell us your story! Add a comment to this blog post that describes how painful new job creation (or job modification) is in your environment today.  Don’t spare us the details….let us know how error prone and inefficient it is.

 

If your comment receives the most “likes” you will win an Apple iPad mini!

 

In order to be eligible for entry into the Sweepstakes, you must be a legal permanent United States resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and 18 years of age or older at the time of entry.

 

Contest runs through April 30, 2014.  Full contest rules can be found here.

 

Let the stories begin!

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The recorded video is now available for the recent Connect with Control-M Webinar : No Down Time Agent Upgrade. Recorded March 20th 2014.

 

When upgrading Control-M/Agent, stopping jobs and processes is a thing of the past. In the Control-M/Agent 8.0, we have added the ability to perform an Agent upgrade with no downtime. This applies to both upgrading the version of the Agent and applying a fix pack to the current version See the Agent upgrade with no down time in action.

 

In the continuing Connect with Control-M series, Neil McConnell hosted a live demo to cover the Control-M/Agent upgrade with no down time.

 

Watch the recording by clicking this link.

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EM V8 FP3 (PANFT.8.0.00.300) is now available, it includes new features such as the “Control-M Workload Change Manager”, “Ad-hoc job analysis” and  an enhanced user interface for Control-M for Informatica, Cognos and Hadoop.

It also includes support for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as Oracle Database 12c  and localized online documentation in French and German for Control-M Self Service web client.

Read all about the above and much more and also how to acquire it at

http://documents.bmc.com/supportu/documents/06/31/450631/450631.pdf

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-by Joe Goldberg, Solutions Marketing Manager, Control-M Solutions Marketing, BMC Software Inc.

 

This blog is a wrap up of all the questions asked during Q&A in the March 18, 2014 Webinar titled Q&A “Self Service Workflows at the Speed of Your Applications”. You can view a recording of this webinar here.

 

Q:     Can you pull from the active schedule like a workspace?

It is assumed this question relates to whether you can access existing folders (tables in pre-V8 lingo) from Workload Change Manager web application. If that assumption is correct, the answer is yes. Standard EM Authorizations apply to determine what users can see and access. Once logged in, the "Open Existing job flows" from the Home Page displays a selection dialog of all the folders to which the user has access.

 

Q:     Is there an additional cost for it?

BMC Control-M Workload Change manager is an add-on component. I strongly recommend you discuss the topic of cost with your BMC Account Manager. If you do not know who that is, please drop me a note (joe_goldberg@bmc.com) and I will make sure the appropriate person contacts you.

 

Q:     Does the creation of the job request include a place for information such as what to do when the

         job fails. Rerun instructions, etc.

Generally in Control-M, actions to be preformed when a job fails can be provided in a variety of ways including text for human consumption in either the description of documentaiton fields as well as automated actions in the "Actions" section of the job definition. With Workload Change Manager, the availability of any or all of these Control-M functions can be controlled via site customizations. Fields can be hidden or shown and can be forced to be required (even if not required by Control-M in general). Additionally, Workload Change Manager provides the Notes fucntion which is intended as a dialog between the requestor and the scheduler. If the requestor is not familiar with the Control-M paramters, for example how to code a DO Action to kill or re-run a job, or you do not wish users to code such parameters because they may not have sufficient infromation to do so properly, Notes can be used to informally describe the requirements and the scheduler can then implement the required funcitonality.

 

Q:     Would scripts that are in the job definition be able to be changed with the change manager

If jobs contain embedded scripts and your site customization has been configured to show the embedded script, then requestors will be able to modiify or create embedded scripts for jobs contained in the request they submit.

 

View a recording of this webinar here.

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Join us for the next Connect with Control-M Webinar : No Down Time Agent Upgrade. March 20th 2014 @ 9:00 am US Central Time

 

When upgrading Control-M/Agent, stopping jobs and processes is a thing of the past. In the Control-M/Agent 8.0, we have added the ability to perform an Agent upgrade with no downtime. This applies to both upgrading the version of the Agent and applying a fix pack to the current version See the Agent upgrade with no down time in action.

 

On March 20th in the continuing Connect with Control-M series, Neil McConnell will be hosting a live demo to cover the Control-M/Agent upgrade with no down time. Following the demo there will be a live Q&A session. Join us for this chance to see the No Down Time Agent Upgrade. See below for registration information:

 

Connect with Control-M: Batch No Down Time Agent Upgrade

 

March 20th 2014 @ 9:00 am US Central Time

 

Register using the link below

http://bit.ly/1gn4e9S

 

Hope to see you there!

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The Control-M/Server 8.0 FP2 is now available with some enhancements that I would like to highlight. The full list of fixes and enhancements -  along with the installation steps can be found on the Control-M/Server product home page at:    http://documents.bmc.com/supportu/documents/65/20/446520/446520.pdf

 

Here are some more details on just 3 of the enhancements in FP2: 

 

  1. Security enhancement for the utility "ctmsec" (CAR00048471)

A new security mode has been added, in which the Control-M/Server will not check authorizations of requests coming from Control-M/EM. This way the user authorizations maintenance can be done at the Control-M/EM level only. Control-M command line utilities can still be checked by the Control-M/Server authorizations(Using the ctmsec utility). The mode can be set by the Control-M/Server system parameter EM_BYPASS_CTMSEC (the default is N).

Here is a screenshot of this parameter in the CCM: CTMS_parms.png

 

When EM_BYPASS_CTMSEC=Y,  then the Control-M/Server will NOT apply the ctmsec security settings to the
requests coming from the EM.  The Control-M/Server will still apply the ctmsec security settings for requests
that are not coming from the EM such as the command line utilities. With this enhancement, the security for EM requests only has to be configured in the EM and not also duplicated in the Control-M/Server.


2. Variables can now be used for quantitative resources, conditions, application and sub application names(CAR00048047)

When ordering a job (either via command line or the Workload Automation GUI) variables that are passed to the order command can now be used in quantitative resource names, condition names,  application and sub application names. These variables are resolved with the values at the order time.  Here is a screenshot of order the folder “New_Production_Jobs” with 2 variables (RUNNUMBER and QRCOUNTER):

variable.png


        3. Control-M Server now supports Oracle 12c

You can now use Oracle 12c for the Control-M database. At installation time you will need to have the Oracle DBA add (or verify that this is already set) the following parameter to the Servers listener file sqlnet.ora:
SQLNET.ALLOWED_LOGON_VERSION=8

 

         If this parameter is not set, then the installation will receive the following error,

"The host has refused your TCP/IP connection. Verify that the connection proprieties are correct, and that the connection is not being blocked by a firewall"

 

This parameter can be removed after the Control-M installation.  See KA405428 for information regarding this error message.

 

Customers are encouraged to apply the latest fix pack available. Additionally, the fix packs are cumulative so it contains both FP1 and FP2. If you have already installed FP1, then this fix pack will only install FP2. If you have not already installed FP1, then this fix pack will install both FP1 and FP2.

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BMC Software recently delivered a webinar on the benefits of providing self service capabilities to users in their workload automation environment.  A recording of the event can be found at http://go.bmc.com/forms/WBNR_ThinkAuto_CTM_SelfServ_Feb19

 

At the end of the webinar a number of questions were asked and answered, but there were questions that were left unanswered.  Below is a transcript of those questions along with answers.  You can also access the Control-M Self Service web page at http://www.bmc.com/products/control-m-self-service/control-m-self-service.html to research and find out more about Control-M Self Service.

 

Q.  How do you protect the business flow with Self service?  Didn't see any example of self service implementation with Batch Flows.

A.  Self Service is designed to display business flows and also allows interaction with those flows assuming permissions allow.  The initial view in Self Service is of the service view and a double click on any service will open up a tab showing the jobs that are part of that service.  These are the views that were seen in the presentation.

 

Q.  What is the difference between Control-M self service and BMC's service request module

A.  While the concept of what these solutions provide is similar, they provide it for different disciplines.  Self Service is specifically built for the workload automation discipline and BMC Service Request Management is for the ITSM space.

 

Q.  Can the SelfService View exclude BIM services?  We only want to see Folders/SMartFolders/Jobs.

A.  Not exactly.  The closest you can get to this request in the Self Service web view is to change to the list view and then sort on the BIM column.  This will sort the services into 2 sections, one showing BIM services and the other showing services that are not related to BIM.  Permissions and service naming conventions can be structured to prevent users/groups from seeing certain services (whether those services are BIM related or not).

 

Q.  Can the Mobile App filter on the job state?  For example: Only Executing, or Only Successful .

A.  The default view sorts jobs based upon job state and you can search on job state to see only jobs that match your search criteria.

 

Q.  I'm discussing self service with our Audit dept. Is there a unique audit report of all Self Service submissions.

A.  Actions taken in Self Service are audited and can be reported on, but they are not identifiable as to where they can from (installed GUI or Self Service interface).

 

Q.  How difficult is it to run reports on continuous issues by client if they are using self-service?

A.  Actions taken in Self Service are audited and can be included in the reports generated from the Control-M Reporting Facility.  The Self Service interface itself does not contain the Control-M Reporting Facility.  You can have jobs that are ordered/run via Self Service that generate Control-M reports.

 

Q.  Who builds the work flow?  is that user controlled also?

A.  The flow of jobs is built the same way you build your jobs today.  If these flows are BIM flows you will see these in Self Service (assuming permissions allow).  There is also a service definition interface in the EM GUI that allows users to write rules allowing additional services (not related to BIM) to be seen via Self Service.

 

Q.  Why can't bmc make it exactly like the EM GUI

A.  Self Service was not designed to replace the EM GUI.  It was specifically built with the needs of occasional or light users in mind.  The EM GUI is still the interface of choice for those that interact with workloads on a regular basis.

 

Q.  What about the jobs that are not part of BIM? We have 5000+ jobs executing but only 1500-2000 are part of BIM

A.  You can use the services definition feature in the EM GUI to define additional services that can be seen in the Self Service interface.

 

Q.  We tried to use self-service and found it difficult to control users in submitting service requests to their favorite technician, which in turn caused one technician to receive an unproportionate amount of the workload.

A.  Please contact me as I don’t understand this issue.

 

Q.  We only use Control-M/EM security.  Do we need to switch Control-M security on to be able to manage user’s access within Self Service?

A.  No, EM security alone can handle permissions related to Self Service.

 

Q.  DO you find that clients actually find Self Service useful? We have found that in our environment they thought the product would be more advanced or close to the fat client

A.  Yes, clients find it very useful.  The capabilities of Self Service and its interface were never meant to replace the installed EM GUI client.  Self Service is meant to provide an easy to use interface for users that need (or want) an interface that would let them view and take a limited set of actions without requiring an installation or any appreciable amount of training.

 

Q.  We are power users that use the Enterprise Manager GUI.  Can we also view our jobs using the mobile app without selfservice or just use the mobile app as an extension of the EM GUI?

A.  No, the mobile app requires Self Service.

 

Q.  It's been my understanding that Self Service was only available for EM jobs. Is that still the case.

A.  Self Service connects to components in the EM environment.  Any jobs you have that are viewable in your EM are able to be viewed through Self Service.

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Transferring files securely is more important than ever.  "Control-M for File Transfer" can help protect your file transfers by using the Secure File Transfer Protocol - also known as SFTP.

 

Watch the recorded webinar by Michiel Tiller from BMC Control-M Support as he addresses the topics:

  • Control-M for File Transfer Overview
  • What is SFTP?
  • Setting up an SFTP transfer
  • Key Authentication
  • Host Keys

 

The webinar includes a demo and a Q&A session. The webinar recording is 29 minutes.
You can watch the webinar at: Connect with Control-M: File Transfer with SFTP

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When the scheduling environment covers more than one timezone, having a job run at specific time can be a challenge. Control-M is able to use timezones when scheduling jobs, simplifying the scheduling environment.

 

On February 20th, join BMC in the next Connect with Control-M Webinar as Ian Warner will be hosting a live demo to cover using timezones in 

Control-M Jobs.  Following the demo there will be a live Q&A session.  Don't miss this chance to see how you can leverage using timezones within your organization and answer any questions you may have.

 

Registration information:

 

Connect with Control-M: Using Timezones

February 20, 2014 @ 9:00 am U.S. Central Time

Register using the link below

http://bit.ly/M6k1SU

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Enable a faster, simpler IT experience with self-service workload automation. End users and application developers need a better way to manage and monitor their IT workloads—without cumbersome service requests that divert the IT ops teams from more strategic work. In this free webinar, you’ll learn how a simple yet powerful self-service interface can empower users to manage and monitor their own workloads quickly and easily—right from their desktop, iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. Highlights include:

 

• Why data-driven analytics and cloud infrastructure are increasing the need for on-demand workload volumes

• How self-service workload automation can make life simpler for both users and IT

• The benefits to your business of a faster, simpler IT experience

 

FEB
19

February 19, 2014
11:00 am – 12:00 pm CT

 

Register today for “Let Users Manage Their Own Workloads—So IT Doesn’t Have To” and find out how easy it can be for users to handle their own workload automation tasks—and the difference it can make for your business.

 

Robby.jpg

 

Robby Dick
Lead Technical Marketing Consultant for BMC Control-M
BMC Software

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Transferring files securely between organizations is more important than ever.  "Control-M for File Transfer" can help protect your file transfers by using the Secure File Transfer Protocol also known as SFTP.

 

On January 30th, join BMC in the next Connect with Control-M webinar as Michiel Tiller will be hosting a live demo to cover configuring Control-M for File Transfer using SFTP.  Following the demo there will be a live Q&A session.  Don't miss this chance to see how you can leverage SFTP within your organization and answer any questions you may have.

 

 

Registration information:

 

Connect with Control-M: SFTP File Transfer

 

January 30, 2014 @ 9:00 am U.S. Central Time

 

Register using the link below

 

http://bit.ly/LpVN66

 

Hope to see you there!

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