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Workload Automation

18 Posts authored by: Robin Reddick
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Big Data is a mega trend that is changing how data centers and businesses operate.  It is being influenced by other technology mega trends -- like Cloud and Mobile.  Shamoun Murtza, the CTO for financial services at BMC Software, has been researching how big data affects organizations -- and how big data is impacted by other technology megatrends.  He recently talked with us about what he is seeing in the marketplace when visiting with companies of all sizes.

 

This blog shares some of the highlights from the discussion with Shamoun.

 

What’s Changing

 

Big Data is one of several major technology mega trends that are shaping the world’s data centers and how organizations operate.  Whether it’s an insurance company, financial institution or government agency, big data is giving new insights that help businesses to seek new opportunities, enter new markets, protect from security breaches and even reduce cost.

 

Shamoun Murtza.png


What’s changed?  Users are changing and how they use data is changing.  You need to rethink that – because mobile is so impactful.  An example of this is a story from a bank in Australia. Quarter over quarter, the bank was seeing a 10 percent reduction in Teller transactions.  Yet for the same period of time, online transactions increased 400 percent.  It’s a completely different usage pattern along with a very different volume of transactions.  So what does this do to your backend processing?

 

Hear more about the nexus of these mega trends in this 3 minute video.


Getting Started with Big Data


Murtza states the first thing you need to do is identify a problem.  This can be a new problem or one that you have not been able to solve with traditional solutions.     There are three main areas that need to be considered:

 

  • Data acquisition.

Identify the data sources and where the data can be acquired.  There can be a lot of considerations for data acquisition – based on the problem you want to solve.

  • Data store.
    There are choices for data storage, but there is a clear winner emerging in the big data area and that is Hadoop.
  • Analytics.

There are a lot of start-ups in this area – in particular when it comes to data visualization.

 

Map these three areas out and begin implementation.  Don’t start large.  Start small and bring in the right data scientists
to help you determine the best approach.data scientists at work.png


If you strip aware the buzz from big data – what you have is batch processing.  This is good news as batch processing is a well-known and established process.


Big data opens a lot of new doors.  That is what is getting companies excited.   Hear more in this 2+ minute video.

 

 

Connect Hadoop to the Enterprise

 

How do we actually extract data out of Hadoop.  You need a method that is resilient and reliable.  So how do we do that?


HDFS – is the Hadoop distributed file system where you store the data.  MapReduce is how you get data out of HDFS.  It is a java-based programming language that works with HDFS.  It processes and gives a result set very fast and very efficiently.  The reality?  It is all batch processing.

 

How do you manage all of the batch processing in Hadoop?  Because of the volume of data and complexity of the analytics, processing in Hadoop can become very complicated very fast when looking at large clusters.  The good news – this is a known problem – i.e., managing batch processing. This is what workload automation solutions are designed to do.  No need to waste your time finding a new solution for Hadoop.  Spend your time on solving the new problems that Hadoop now lets

you solve.

 

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See how Control-M can help you with your Hadoop batch processing needs.  It natively supports Hadoop and various Hadoop projects.  So you can now manage Hadoop with the same solution you use for managing all of your other enterprise batch processing.  Don’t spend your time re-inventing the wheel.

 

Many organizations are doing big data to gain a competitive advantage.  If you are not doing big data, does that mean that others have a competitive advantage over you?

 

If you want to listen to the series of thought leadership videos by Shamoun Murtza, here are the links:

 

Think Forward:  Big data and other mega trends

Think Forward:  Get started with big data

Think Forward:  Control-M connects big data to the enterprise

 

It is an exciting time to be in the technology industry.

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If you are like many millions of folks around the globe, you are making a New Year’s resolution today.  And like most (I am sorry to report), you will more than likely fail in fulfilling your resolution.  As we forge into the New Year, we make promises about eating better, exercising more, and living healthier lifestyles – but only 8% of the well-intended will be successful in reaching
their goal.

 

The most popular New Year’s resolutions are centered around health – losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier – to name a few.  Nobody understands this better than the folks at ChipRewards (http://www.chiprewards.com/company/).  ChipRewards uses a balanced formula of technology, science, people and process to incent folks to choose healthier behaviors – and ultimately live healthier lifestyles.

 

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Technology is so pervasive in our daily lives today, that we don’t often think about how technology affects our ability to be successful with our short or long term lifestyle goals.  But it is there.   The treadmills we use have technology that is used to emulate a run through the hills or flatlands – at a pace we choose.  We monitor and collect data about our bodies using computerized bracelets like Jawbone and Fit.  And we may even choose to track our caloric intake using a free app on our mobile phone or tablet.  

 

ChipRewards takes all of this data and a lot more-- known today as big data – to develop incentive programs that help folks modify their behavior.

 

ChipRewards uses BMC Control-M to manage the workflows that collect and analyze the very large volumes of data required to have the insight needed to modify behavior.   With the use of BMC Control-M Workload Automation, ChipRewards is able to analyze health related data associated with individuals and use both a carrot and stick approach.  Because the data collected comes in unpredictable volumes, ChipRewards uses Control-M to build a Cloud infrastructure stack that lets them service their data processing needs and then decommission the Cloud stack once processing is completed.

 

By using BMC Control-M to automate the proprietary analytic programs and other proprietary applications, ChipRewards is
successful in designing programs
that help individuals take the necessary
steps for modifying their behavior.

 

 

chiprewards logo.png

 

It is always nice to be associated with products (like Control-M) that helps improve the lives of others.


Whether or not you made a health-related New Year’s resolution – or one at all, the BMC Control-M team wishes you a healthy and successful year.  May 2014 be your best year yet.


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Is change good or bad?  You never know.  But what we do know is that whenever there is a change – everyone wants to analyze why it happened and what it means.  BMC is going through a change – from being a public company to a private company.  And, of course, there is plenty of speculation as to why and what the future holds.   

 

 

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I will leave it up to others to discuss why the change was made and I surely don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future.  But many say the past is an indicator of the future.  So it is worth taking a few minutes to revisit the big changes that BMC has gone through in the past –how the change was handled and the results.

 

 

 

The 1980's

BMC was founded in 1980.  This was a time when most major companies owned and relied on a mainframe and IBM thought of itself as a hardware company.  The founders of BMC, Scott Boulette, John Moore and Dan Cloer, realized an opportunity that no others had.  IBM sold hardware and gave away the software tools needed to make use of their hardware. 


The BMC founders recognized the investment that company mainframes.png

ies were making in IBM mainframes and realized they could help them get a better return on their investment by giving them software tools that en

 

hanced performance and lowered the unit cost of processing on the mainframe.  This is the foundation from which BMC was developed.  BMC invented and dominated the market for third-party mainframe performance tools in the 1980’s (and beyond). 

 

 

 

 

The 1990's

The 1990’s was the era of distributed systems.  There was a lot of speculation about the death of the mainframe along with BMC’s future since its roots and business were mainframe software tools.  In 1994, BMC entered the distributed software market with the purchase of Patrol -- application event management for distributed systems.  This was soon followed by a series of new products and solutions in the distributed market – both through acquisition and organic development.  BMC’s stock increased about 10-fold as did its revenue.

 

 

stock history chart.png

 

 

2000 and Beyond

The next big challenge was overcoming the technology bust in 2000.  With the technology industry in a tail-spin, companies of all sizes and types were affected.  BMC developed a strategy called Business Service Management (BSM).  Geoffrey Moore documents this transition in his book “Escape Velocity” – Case Example:  Creating Company Power at BMC – 2001 to 2010 (See pages 88-93.  Check out the book on Amazon.com and search inside the book for BMC Software).

Escape velocity.pngAs Geoffrey Moore outlines, it was a bold move that required fortitude and management strength.  The results did not begin to materialize immediately.  In fact, company revenue dipped from $1.72B in 2000 to a low of $1.29 in 2002.  Once again – it looked like the future of BMC was in jeopardy.  But BMC continued to deliver on its vision and BSM became a reality.  BMC ended the decade at $1.92B annual revenue.

 

 

Great companies are able to rise to the challenge of market change.  BMC is one of those great companies.  As we move into a new decade, BMC is once again faced with change.  If the past is any indicator of the future – BMC continues to have a bright and successful future. 

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IT is going through a cycle of innovation once again as organizations adopt Big Data.  And Hadoop is the technology that is enabling this.  It has been a long time since IT has offered business a competitive advantage – and big data is changing that.

 

What Was

In 2004, Nicholas G. Carr wrote the book, Does IT Matter?  Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage

 

Carr discusses how IT was a competitive advantage in the 70’s and 80’s, citing examples like American Airline’s Sabre reservation system, Reuter’s Monitor Money Rates service, and American Hospital Supply’s ASAP purchasing system – all custom applications that gave these businesses a big competitive advantage.

 

does it matter pic.png

 

By the end of the 90’s, IT had become a commodity item with companies buying packaged enterprise systems, which became known as “companies in a box.”  His point – IT no longer offered a competitive advantage. 

 

As the cost of packaged software became more attractive, organizations were willing to sacrifice custom applications and the potential advantage offered in exchange for cost savings.  This began the era of IT cost reduction vs. IT innovation.

 

 

What’s Coming

Then along comes Hadoop and Big Data Analytics.  Businesses are once again investing in
writing a plethora of custom applications that provide competitive advantage.  These applications let them analyze their
business in ways never before feasibly possible.

hadoop elephant.png

Hadoop was derived from Google’s MapReduce and Google File System technology – which was designed to handle the massive parallel processing required for web searches, social networking and mobile commerce to run quickly.  Until Hadoop, processing massive volumes of data was cost-prohibitive.

 

Today, businesses are finding a variety of uses for Hadoop and big data analytics and using it for business decisions and strategy, security – and yes, more cost reductions.

 

Be Ready.

Determining how to implement Hadoop, what type of analytics and other processing it can be best used for is still being determined my businesses.    According to a recent study done by CIO Magazine, nearly 50% of the organizations surveyed have a big data/Hadoop implemented or are in the processing of implementing.  The remaining organizations plan to have big data implemented in the next 24 months.

 

cio chart 1.png

 

If you are implementing Big Data/Hadoop, watch the informative on-demand webinar.

 

Access now.

 

Enjoy.

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tom glass.pngTom Glass has worked with workload automation solutions for 27 years – both as a user of workload automation solutions in IT Operations and as a vendor representative helping organizations evaluate and implement workload automation solutions.   The information in this blog is from a paper Tom has written to explain how the concepts of ITIL apply to Control-M. 

 

 

Using Control-M to Facilitate ITIL Best Practices

 

The basis for success in any IT endeavor is starting with best practices. As a general rule, best practices are built on an ITIL foundation following the precepts of:

 

  • Service Strategy
  • Service Design
  • Service Transition
  • Service Operation
  • Continual Service Improvement

 

Service Strategy Service Strategy begins with identifying IT customers, the services they require to run the business and the personnel, applications and infrastructure to support it. To quote a document from the ITIL official web site.

 

The lifecycle starts with Service Strategy – understanding who the IT customers are, the service offerings that are required to meet the customers’ needs, the IT capabilities and resource that are required to develop these offerings and the requirements for executing successfully. Driven through strategy and throughout the course of delivery and support of the service, IT must always try to assure that cost of delivery is consistent with the value delivered to the customer.

 

Applying strategy to Control-M requires a deliberate thought process and will involve multiple groups and multiple levels of management. This phase of the process is integral to the success of the whole endeavor and must be conducted with deliberation and interdepartmental cooperation. Traditional Control-M customers are application developers: the DDA application, the Loans application, Mortgage application, etc. These application development areas are typical IT customers. But in today’s world IT customers also extend to the application owners. Checking and Savings accounts, Loan & Mortgage services are the services banks offer their consumer customers, Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public and the application owners want to know the status of their workload at any given point in time.

 

So it is important to understand what services Control-M provides in order to support the Service Strategy portion of ITIL: Control-M Services

  • Single integrated graphical interface for managing cross-platform and cross-application workload
  • Secure access to workload based on customers’ security authorization and standards
  • Job creation forms and templates which make designing complex workflows quick & easy
  • OS jobs for zOS, Unix, Linux, Windows, iSeries, HP-NSK,HP-OpenView, Unisys


mr m patform pile.png

  • Automated File Transfer (AFT) to move files from one location to another in a secure and re-startable manner
  • ERP integration to imbedded schedulers in PeopleSoft, SAP and Oracle eBusiness and .Net applications
    into workload processes
  • Cloud and virtualization integration to leverage BMC BladeLogic, Amazon EC2 and VMware scripts for provisioning management, cloning, power management and compliance management as part of a workload process
  • Database integration to JDBC compliant databases to integrate processes such as stored procedures, SQL scripts, SQL queries and SSIS jobs into a workload process
  • Utilities and APIs which may be imbedded in applications to extend the capabilities of Control-M beyond basic workload management

 

To read the rest of this paper, see the attached document.

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Today is the last day to access the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Workload Automation.  Gartner is retiring this document.   

 

You can access the document here:  Gartner Magic Quadrant for Workload Automation

 

The Gartner Magic Quadrant has been a a great resource for understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the various vendors in the Workload Automation technology area. 

 

If for any reason you miss this last minute opportunity, here is a slide with a few highlights about BMC Control-M from the Gartner MQ report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There has been much discussion about aligning IT and the business over the last several years.  Companies have stopped talking about this and are now doing it (thank goodness!).  And they are using self-service apps to make it happen.

 

Unum, one of the world’s leading benefits providers, has implemented Control-M Self Service to enable application developers and business users to run and monitor their own work.  Why?  Because their users have been asking for these capabilities for a few years now. 

 

Unum describes their experience with self service in this 3-minute video

 

When talking with organizations about implementing self-service apps, many of them are concerned about losing control of their operations.  Empowering others isn’t synonymous with losing control – in fact it is just the opposite.  Unum is a great example of this.  They were able to empower their application developers and business users – and at the same time, give their operations team back the control they needed over their work days to accomplish the more complex and strategic work that they are so uniquely suited for.  The perfect win-win situation.

 

The chart below shows how quickly the Unum business users adopted BMC Control-M Self Service.  And it also shows the equally as fast drop in ad hoc requests to the help desk and operations team.

 

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Self service has proven to be a business enabler for consumer-oriented businesses (B to C) for decades now.  Just think about it – would you want to go back to standing in line to conduct basic banking transactions?  Do you want to stand in a cashier line to make a retail purchase?  Do you want to have to contact your financial broker to make a stock trade?

 

Implementing self service for scheduled processing offers the same service and benefits as these consumer examples.  Control-M Self Service empowers users to conduct their business processing needs when they need it and from where they want to.

 

With scheduled work (vs. real time) continuing to be well over half of the business processing done at almost any business, empowering business users to run and monitor their own work has repeatedly proven to be good business.   Just ask Unum.

 

Come to the webinar on March 20 at 10:00 a.m. CT – Consumerization of IT – Self Service is Leading the Way.  Unum’s operation manager, Tracey Prendergast and infrastructure engineer, Zach Warren will be discussing their self service implementation – their approach, training users, lessons learned and results.   Don’t miss this chance to learn about their experience and ask questions.

 

Register for the webinar now.

 

See you there.

 

Robin Reddick

Ease of Use is Here

Posted by Robin Reddick Feb 17, 2013
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It’s a maturity process.  But thank goodness we are there.  The days of techno-interfaces are over.   The article “Disruptions:  Design is Driving Technology Forward” depicts how design has now become the focal point of a technology purchase. 

 

As technology evolves, the differentiator today is many times the design or the way the user interacts with the technology that sets it apart.    Features and functionality are still important – but expectations have changed.  Users want robust products that are easy to use.  With "apps" creating new expectations for both usability and mobility, the pressure is on every software vendor.

 

Control-M v8 has met those ease of use expectations.  With a simple new interface, it is easier than ever to perform tasks and monitor processing.   In a recent survey, Control-M users stated ease of use as the number 1 reason for selecting Control-M -- and with v8, it is even simpler.

 

top reasons for choosing control-m.png

 

The ease of use introduced in v8 goes beyond the user interface – it’s easy to install and easy to upgrade as well.

 

You can see just how easy it is to upgrade at the Connect with Control-M webinar on February 20 at 9:00 a.m. CT.   Ted Leavitt and Rick Hansen, Control-M Customer Support, will show you just how easy it is to upgrade to Control-M v8.   Don’t miss out on this live demo and a chance to ask the experts questions.

 

 

Register now  http://bit.ly/XM1rxg

 

 

See you there!

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Workload Automation has become sophisticated enough that it now takes a team of specialized staff to ensure the workflows get properly defined, scheduled, managed and analyzed.   I recently wrote an article about this and wanted to share it.  So here it is:

 

 

Improving Collaboration

 

A few decades ago, if you needed a physician, you went to a general practitioner. Depending on the diagnosis, the general practitioner might have referred you to a general surgeon. Today, the medical profession is characterized by specialization. You may start with a family practice doctor and then be referred to specialists. To deliver quality healthcare, these specialists must communicate with each other and share information about the patient. Through effective collaboration, they can create a holistic picture of the patient’s condition so they can prescribe the right action for the best result.

 

The data center has undergone a similar evolution — especially when it comes to workload automation. Scheduling batch jobs has gone from a relatively simple task of time and date scheduling, typically managed by a domain expert, to scheduling very complex business processes based on service delivery requirements and events — and managed by a team of skilled specialists.

 

Workload automation today typically involves many specialists — application developers, administrators, schedulers, operators, and even business users have become active participants. Managing today’s highly complex job schedules effectively requires the participation of all these stakeholders. These people must work together closely to understand service requirements, define processes, and build workflows that the workload automation solution then employs to “get the job done.”

 

To read the full article, click here: http://www.bmc.com/products/control-m/offer/strategies-for-workload-automation-success-improving-collaboration.html

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The Control-M research and development team along with product management have been visiting customers for the last year, gathering information about how to make workload automation simpler.  They observed how users work, asked about their problems, and learned how their work environments are changing. 

 

That was the genesis for BMC Control-M v8.0.  And it didn’t stop there.  As the new release was being developed, the team worked with user interaction experts and went back to the customers to validate they got it right.  There were several iterations of work, but in the end – we delivered a new version of Control-M that everyone is excited about.  Come see for yourself.

 

Join us on October 16 at 10:30 a.m. CT for a live, streaming event.  Add this event to your calendar now:  http://bit.ly/PCN0df

 

So what can you expect?  The short answer is a lot.  Some of the highlights of Control-M v8.0 are:

 

-          A new, modern user interface that simplifies the work effort and is easy to learn and use

 

-          A virtual work environment that lets you collaborate with stakeholders involved in defining and scheduling workflows

 

-          2-5 times more capacity for a Control-M server

 

-          Faster job execution and improved performance as several processes have been tuned

 

-          Zero downtime when upgrading agents

 

-          And lots of new features that make managing and monitoring scheduled work much easier --  such as more flexibility and capabilities in handling non-standard workflows and setting up alerts

 

 

Join us on October 16 at 10:30 a.m. CT for the unveiling of Control-M v8.0.  Hear what users have to say about their experience with the new release.  Get your first glimpse of the new release with a live demo. And hear from the BMC CEO and other executives how this new automation makes it easier to deliver your business services. 

 

Because this is a live event, you will have a chance to ask questions of the Control-M experts, the executives, and the customers.

 

Don’t miss out on the big event.  Here are the details for joining us:  http://bit.ly/PCN0df

 

See you there!

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Forrester Research recently conducted a survey to see what issues there are, if any, when using multiple job schedulers vs. a single workload automation solution for processing scheduled work (often referred to as batch jobs). 

 

What’s the difference between job scheduling and workload automation?  A level of sophistication and functionality.   Job schedulers were designed for a specific platform with limited integration for cross-platform and application environments.  Workload Automation solutions are designed to support many platforms, applications, and automate a vast array of business processes – all through a single enterprise view. 

 

A Little History.

 

Job scheduling has its roots in manufacturing and evolved to computers in the early days of data processing where much of the database maintenance and after business hours processing was scheduled to be done in what was and still is referred to as the “batch window”. 

As IT organizations deployed distributed systems, Unix and Linux servers came with their own scheduling tool -- Cron.  And Windows servers came with the Windows Task Scheduler.    When the era of packaged applications came – the packaged applications came with scheduling functionality.  However, none of these schedulers talked to each other. 

 

As processing became more complex, more sophisticated tools were needed so independent software vendors  began introducing more robust scheduling tools.  But even these initial ISV tools had limited cross-platform capabilities, so you still had silo’ed job scheduling environments.

 

Workload Automation solutions were introduced within the last decade, but many organizations are slow to consolidate or replace the mixed set of schedulers they have used for many years.  According to the Forrester Research Workload Automation Survey – out the 472 IT Decision Makers that responded, only 17% said they have a workload automation solution.

 

lots of schedulers.jpg

 

 

 

 

Regardless of how we got to the maze of job schedulers, companies are paying a high price for continuing to keep the mix in place.  When asked about the problems that result from using multiple job schedulers, 448 of the IT Decision Makers indicated they suffered a fairly significant business impact in several areas.

 

 

Impact to Business.jpg

 

 

In addition to the business impact, the IT Decision Makers indicated that it takes more full time employees to schedule, manage and monitor work with a mixture of job schedulers as opposed to a single workload automation solution.

 

 

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So we what are the benefits to moving to ditching your job schedulers and converting to a workload automation solution?  The Survey respondents indicate there are several, with the reduction in manual intervention and errors being the most recognized.

 

 

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If you are looking to move to a workload automation solution, here are the features that our IT decision makers indicated were important:

 

Features.jpg

 

 

 

If you would like to read the white paper titled “Industrializing IT Workload Automation” that Forrester Research published about the survey results, click here http://bit.ly/PjVxyY

 

 

 

 

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According to an IDC report published this month (http://bit.ly/Nwwtt7) the Job Scheduling/Workload Automation market continues to grow.  The driver behind the growth is the increasing complexity of workload processing that requires new functionality.  IDC cites Self Service as one of 3 major needs customers have for workload automation (the other 2 are dynamic workload management and increased visibility).  

 

 

 

Given that workload automation has long been the domain of the IT Operations team, it is interesting to see the rapid adoption of Self Service in this area.  Figure 1 below shows the number of Control-M Self Service users within organizations (the ones that responded to the survey that is). 

 

 

 

Figure 1.  Number of Self Service Users at Your Company

 

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What is even more interesting is the types of users for Self Service.  I have shared this chart in a previous blog, but it is worth repeating.  Figure 2 shows the types of Self Service users.  These two charts tell an interesting tale about the shift that is occurring in workload automation.  It is no longer the exclusive charter of IT Operations. 

 

 

 

Figure 2.  Types of Self Service Users at Your Company

 

Workload Automation Self Service Users.jpg

 

  

It was not a big surprise to see heavy use by Application Developers since they are very much involved in the defining of workload definitions in many organizations.  And many IT operations folks have shared that they use Self Service to stay in touch with what is happening with scheduled work while they are away from their desk or even the office.  What was surprising was the fast adoption rate by business users – those outside of IT. 

 

 

 

But companies are finding good reason to deploy Self Service to business users.  Users are empowered – they can run simple jobs like reports they need.  They also get to view the state and status of their critical jobs that IT is scheduling and running.  But equally important, it lets business users participate in the workflow process making it more efficient and auditable.  But IT shouldn’t be concerned about losing control of the scheduled work.  That number 2 item that IDC mentioned – dynamic workload management – that lets IT Operations stay in control.

 

 

 

Customers are using Self Service in a variety of ways.  One company shared that they have a policy of transparency, so they wanted to provide Self Service to all of its employees just for that reason.    The City of Long Beach uses Self Service as a way of including business users in the automated workflow.   Self Service lets the business user actively and directly participate, without having to go through the help desk.  Self Service also lets City of Long Beach track all activity and have reports for satisfying compliance.  That’s something they didn’t have when the work was managed through the help desk via phone calls and emails. 

 

 

 

You can read the story about City of Long Beach.  http://bit.ly/I7RQ28

 

 

 

 

Would uses do you have for workload automation Self Service?  How can it improve your workload automation processing?

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Business users today have moved from being passive stakeholders in IT processing to active participants.  The role that business users play in workload automation is a great example of this.

 

There was a time when IT was the sole owner and decision maker for scheduled processing.  They decided when and where jobs ran and business users were the recipients of the output.  With the pressure on IT to align with business, the relationship between the two has become much more collaborative.  Workflow definitions and scheduling decisions are many times decided amongst a team of folks that often includes a business owner, application developer, scheduler, and administrator.  

 

To facilitate this change of behavior, companies are implementing Self Service tools that enable business users to have access to processing information relative to their business domain.   In the last 12 months, nearly 20 percent of BMC Control-M customers indicate they have implemented Self Service (from BMC Control-M Enterprise Scheduling/Workload Automation Research 2012).

 

Self Service for Workload Automation is creating a structural shift, blending business and IT skills in the effort of defining, scheduling, monitoring and executing scheduled work – with the goal of better service delivery both internally and externally.   Below are the results from the recent BMC Research that asked companies using Control-M Self Service, what types of users are involved.

 

 

Workload Automation Self Service Users.jpg

 

 

It’s not surprising to see the rapid adoption of Self Service as the benefits reported by users are:

     - Fewer service requests leading to lower help desk costs

     - Faster execution of workflows by eliminating manual steps that required non-IT operations staff

     - Better business service since business users stay informed of state, status and can perform basic tasks for their domain

 

 

With 70% of all processing still scheduled, business users want to be involved and informed of the processing for their business unit.   It just makes good business sense.

 

Watch this brief 2-minute video and see what Self Service can do for your business.

 

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In the book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil introduces The Law of Time and Chaos. 

 

The Law of Time and Chaos:  In a process, the time interval between salient events (i.e., events that change the nature of the process, or significantly affect the future of the process) expands or contracts along with the amount of chaos.

 

 

This “Law” can easily be applied to workload automation.  If you are using multiple different solutions for managing your scheduled workloads, one can see that they can “change the nature of the process or significantly affect the future of the process.”   By introducing multiple solutions into a single automation process, you have no integration and introduce manual work efforts or are creating inefficient integration points by working to get technologies and processes to work together, even though that was not the original intent or design.

 

As workload automation has become more sophisticated over the last decade, many data centers have continued to evolve their workload automation solution by adding on tools for new platforms (like Linux, Virtual Machines, and Clouds) and new functions (such as adding application work, file transfers, etc.).  Most data centers today run a mix of vendor tools and manual scripts.  At a time when service delivery is essential, this is a risky route to go as it does not provide an efficient automation process, nor does it provide the basis for a highly scalable solution for the future.

 

According to Kurzweil, The Law of Time and Chaos leads to one of two very different paths – The Law of Increasing Chaos and The Law of Accelerating Returns.

The Law of Increasing Chaos:  As chaos exponentially increases, time exponentially slows down (i.e., the time interval between salient events grows longer as time passes).


The Law of Accelerating Returns:  As order exponentially increases, time exponentially speeds up (i.e., the time interval between salient events grows shorter as time passes).


Today, every data center has the option of going down the path of “The Law of Accelerating Returns” by running a single workload automation solution that offers a single view of all workloads in the enterprise.  An integrated solution –one designed to work that way – offers “order” and reduces the time interval between salient events.  As The Law Of Accelerating Returns states, you now have the efficiencies and scalability needed for service delivery and future growth.  

 

Which path are you taking in The Law of Time and Chaos for your workload automation – The Law of Increasing Chaos or The Law of Accelerating Returns?

Robin Reddick

When IT Was Simple

Posted by Robin Reddick Mar 1, 2012
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It’s hard to believe in today’s extreme information age that there was a time when computers (and very expensive ones) lived an 8 to 5 existence.  There was plenty of time for maintenance and the “batch window” was used to handle maintenance activities and overnight processing with little to no critical time constraint. 

 

One of my first jobs in IT was in 1977 working for a state bank.  (And by the way, IT was called “Data Processing” then.)  The bank used to process all of the checks at 8:00 p.m.  Processing typically took a few hours.  Then in the morning, all of the checks that were drawn on other local banks were boxed up and carried to the Clearinghouse where representatives from the local banks exchanged boxes of checks, balanced ledgers, and took their checks back to their respective banks for processing that evening.

 

It was simple, tidy and predictable.

 

Then Gordon Moore’s law became a reality and we acquired more computing capacity and power at an increasingly rapid rate.   Add to that the advent of the internet and global enterprises and business became a 24x7x365 operation with a mixture of real-time and scheduled processing.

Gartner states that well over half of the processing done today is still scheduled.  Scheduled processing has become complex, and is typically a workflow that consists of many jobs that have dependencies.  What hasn’t changed is the need for scheduled processing to be completed within a specific time period – service level agreements.

 

In the 1970’s scheduled processing was called “batch work” and was scheduled by date and time.  As distributed systems became commonplace in data centers, the terminology was changed to job scheduling.  And as the scheduled work became more complex and crossed computing platforms, workload automation solutions came into being with the ability to schedule work based on events and service levels and with the ability to manage the workflows across platforms.

 

The story about how ME Bank performs their check processing -- or should I say ATM processing in this age of electronic transaction -- provides a good contrast to just how far "batch work" has come and why the technology has transformed to what we now know as workload automation.

 

You can read the ME Bank Story here.  http://bit.ly/wsrvLR

 

 

 

Enjoy.

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