or half a page of scribbled lines…
The words of Pink Floyd’s ‘time’ are ageless, and likely that you can relate to them (or at least to specific sentences) no matter how old you are or what stage in life you are in. Challenges we faced ten years ago might be behind us but we still run and run to catch up with the sun, trying to meet project deadlines and to have that new application or business service up and running in production. Hoping that by the time the sun comes up behind us again we will have that magic spell (competitive edge) that will help us win our customer's affection and budgets.
In an effort to speed up development plans, we sometimes make shortcuts, forget to take into consideration, or simply are not aware of important factors that are prerequisites to any new application that is promoted to production. These factors are the ones that allow the Production Control team to effectively monitor the application activity by automating common scenarios and reducing manual effort.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town,
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way…
By using a Workload Automation tool that can provide out-of-the-box support for all these requirements, you can eliminate the need to develop these in-house, and instead focus on building the best application for your business.
Here are a couple of examples of services you should expect your Workload Automation solution to provide. By using these you can eliminate a substantial amount of development that is often performed by expensive resources, cut down costs, reduce the number of “hands-off” cycles to Production Control, and eventually - dramatically decrease the time it takes to promote the new application to production, without compromising your specific site's IT standards
- Dependencies between workloads: This should be done in the easiest way possible, preferably with a drag-and-drop graphical interface, and should allow creating dependencies between workloads of new applications, and workloads of various other business applications that are already part of your IT infrastructure (ERPs, business intelligence and data integration tools, database queries, system backups, file transfers, etc.)
- Analysis of task outputs: Automatic detection of exit codes and common application error messages. Analysis of the workloads outcome to determine if the workloads completed successfully or if automatic recovery actions need to be taken.
- Perform manual corrective actions: Modify workloads to correct errors, rerun workloads that failed, cancel workloads while they are running, etc.
- Proactive notification of potential missed SLAs: Identify if a workload is running for too long or completed much sooner than expected based on historical statistics. Understand the impact of a problematic workload on the overall batch business service.
- Alerting Capabilities: In case of workload failures or missed SLAs, send emails to the relevant recipients, open helpdesk tickets, and escalate alerts to monitoring frameworks or service impact managers via SNMP or native APIs.
- Forecasting: Allow planning future changes, identify optimal maintenance time windows and changes to capacity volumes without affecting production activity.
- Balancing resources: Dynamically adjust the number of workloads that can run simultaneously – in general or for a specific application. Ensure application servers are not running in under or over capacity, and redirect workloads to alternate application servers in case of an outage.
- Applying site-standard policies: Ensuring the use of proper naming conventions that can allow Production Control to easily categorize workloads and identify their owners.
A Workload Automation tool that can provide the above capabilities and facilitate effective communication and collaboration between Application Developers and Production Control can help elevate the relationship between these two teams for the long run, allowing each team to focus on what they do best.
A Self-Service offering that allows Application Developers to submit requests for new workloads, changes to existing workloads and monitoring of active workloads would be the next stage in such collaboration. I promise to elaborate on this topic in another blog post. But now the time is gone, the song is over, thought I'd leave you with one of David Gilmor’s best guitar solos ever. Enjoy!
To learn more on BMC Workload Automation offering: http://www.bmc.com/solutions/workload-automation/workload-automation.html#.Uq8KKJHmzuo