Recently in Workload Automation
Stonebranch and OpsWise Announce Strategic Alliance
Companies unite to offer the most modern workload automation solutions for large-scale enterprises
AMSTERDAM, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- At Innovation Europe 2010, the annual Stonebranch Executive Conference, Stonebranch and OpsWise formally announced a wide-ranging strategic alliance. Stonebranch, providers of managed file transfer and job scheduling technology, will market, sell, implement, and support OpsWise's widely acclaimed Automation Center - the industry's most modern and comprehensive workload automation solution for complex data centers. OpsWise will offer its customers Stonebranch's Indesca Independent Scheduling Agents for the i5 and SAP platforms. The companies also announced that there will be further collaboration to seamlessly integrate Stonebranch and OpsWise's technologies to provide significant added value for current and future users.
"Today is an important day in the growth of Stonebranch," noted Wolfgang Bothe, Stonebranch's President and CEO. "Our customers have been asking us for several years to expand the capabilities of our Indesca solution to include a modern workload automation engine. While we have considered partnering with other vendors, we found that most of their solutions are based on old and outdated technologies, difficult to configure, and expensive for our customers to acquire and maintain. OpsWise, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to take advantage of current technologies and to solve the complex needs of today's large-scale data centers. Also, in OpsWise, we found a team with a shared vision of the future of workload automation and a commitment to being valuable short and long term partners."
OpsWise Automation Center reduces the complexity of managing and automating enterprise-wide IT Workload by providing the most modern and comprehensive automation capabilities spanning z/OS, distributed systems, and cloud computing environments.
Jim Sievers, CEO of OpsWise, said "Our Automation Center technology is a great fit for Stonebranch's customers. Not only does it provide a viable alternative to existing legacy solutions, but our innovative pricing model provides significant cost savings to customers - a fraction of what they pay for solutions from typical legacy vendors in the marketplace. As Wolfgang noted, we find partnering with the Stonebranch team to be a great way to grow both of our businesses."
"Stonebranch will continue to be committed to the independent job scheduling marketplace," noted John Mecke, Stonebranch's COO. "The core mission of our Indesca and Infitran solutions will continue to be supporting all of the job scheduling solutions that our customers use. Our alliance with OpsWise enables us to offer our customers new options."
Stonebranch provides solutions which govern business processes and data exchange for businesses. In 2009, Stonebranch launched Scribbos™, a subsidiary of Stonebranch. Scribbos offers a secure business communications solution, which complements Stonebranch's Infitran™, its Intelligent File Transfer Solution, and Indesca™, its Independent Scheduling Agents solution. Used separately or as a suite, Stonebranch and Scribbos products and services interoperate with existing platforms/infrastructures and emerging technologies. Stonebranch clients include some of the world's largest financial, healthcare and technology institutions. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Stonebranch has offices throughout the world, including Germany, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Spain and Denmark. For more information on Stonebranch, please visit: www.stonebranch.com.
OpsWise Software is an innovative Data Center Automation company based in Los Altos, CA . OpsWise's flagship product, OpsWise Automation Center, a Workload Automation Broker, was released in September 2008.
Designed to accomplish the automation goals of any enterprise - From Linux and Windows servers, mid-range UNIX and the Mainframe, OpsWise solutions can be hosted on-premise, in the Cloud, or via Software-as-a-Service. For more information on OpsWise, please visit: www.opswise.com
From BSM Review www.bsmreview.com
Is your Workload Automation Broker an overlooked gold mine of BSM data?
A primary objective of Business Service Management is to give business stakeholders a window into how closely an enterprises application infrastructure and underlying data processing is mapped to the contracted service levels for a business service.
Much of what goes on in the enterprise these days is automated, and a high percentage of that information will be found within your Workload Automation environment. A modern workload automation broker is able to effectively manage real-time/near real-time workload as well as batch.
Nowadays, the Workload Automation Broker can do a lot more than just launch scheduled batch jobs. While often dismissed as simply another IT management tool, Workload Automation Brokers in fact drive over 70% of all business processes today, which are performed in batch.** It can identify and monitor the interdependencies of data and processes between the systems, applications, and business processes that comprise a business service - giving you an unprecedented view into your enterprise.
While there is certainly a goldmine of information that your scheduler can provide you about your environment, significant advancements in workload automation are being introduced by new and existing vendors that may soon make you question how your existing solution is a barrier to or an enabler of you achieving compliance of business service levels.
Since the 1970's, Enterprise Job Schedulers have automated and managed increasingly complex data centers. Starting out on mainframes, they evolved into distributed systems and are now moving into the cloud.
In the past decade, these tools have evolved far beyond batch with added integrations to SOA, ERP systems, and other packaged applications to become workflow-centric, event-driven tools with significant SLA management capabilities The Job Schedulers became Workload Automation Brokers.
The emergence of virtual systems and cloud computing has created an explosion in the number of computing resources requiring management and has created another level of complexity in the enterprise. The role of automation in enabling business services to meet service levels has never been greater.
Today's Workload Automation Brokers continues to expand it's already significant role in the management of online workload as they are increasingly utilized to manage processes relying on technologies such as parallel processing, ETL, and GRID computing; and they are creating complex workflows that span operating systems, data sources, applications, and even physical data centers. This enables IT Operations Managers to present to the business a means of mapping IT resources to business processes.
Workload Automation's future as a protector of Service Levels
How can Workload Automation solutions be advanced to improve the overall performance of business services? What should you be looking for from your workload automation vendor?
In terms of BSM, here is a list of five things to expect out of Workload Automation today and in the near-term to enable you to achieve your automation and BSM goals. If this isn't offered by, or on your provider's near-term roadmap, it should raise some eyebrows.
1. Predictive Analytics
Solutions need to move beyond simple SLA Management or single workflow critical path analysis and into true Deadline Scheduling. Predictive analysis enables enterprises to visualize all interdependent tasks and analyze real-time results on the fly against historical records.
By doing so, the enterprise can identify key business processes and create a backward chain of events to identify processing bottlenecks.
2. Proactive Resource Optimization
Working in conjunction with Predictive Analytics, solutions need to automatically release bottlenecks using information about resources, business priorities, dependencies, and deadlines that prevent the completion of key business processes and create policies for reallocating enterprise resources to meet the necessary time windows to remain with service level.
The more portable and transparent workload is, the more it is able to fully leverage the different kinds of resource optimization opportunities that may be present in your enterprise.
Resource optimization may take many shapes:
- Prioritizing workload on a server, including delaying or cancelling less critical workload
- Allocating more physical resources such as CPU, Memory, or DB connections
- Provisioning new virtual servers from a pool of VM machines or in public and private clouds
- Re-engineering applications, especially data intensive applications, to take advantage of load balancing and GRID technologies.
3. Reviewing and Refining Job Definitions
The old adage, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" is a smart policy in most situation. In Workload Automation, it could end up costing you a bundle. Your old job definitions probably reflect hardware and software limitations that have long since been lifted. If you take a look, you'll likely discover that many processes that once had to run sequentially can now run in parallel.
It is important to challenge the assumptions as to why your workload is configured and defined the way it is, and to eliminate processing bottlenecks caused by obsolete limitations.
As important as it is to have a corporate-wide BSM dashboard, and valuable that the workload automation solution to provide meaningful data for that system, it is also important that within the Workload Automation solution that there is a business-centric view mapping to the status of each business service as a stand-alone entity as well as in relation to one another.
5. Reporting & Auditing
More critical than reporting on failures in the workload that could jeopardize meeting performance targets is getting to the heart of why workload fails to meet their service levels.
It's critical that from a central management point that you can identify failures and trends. You also need a comprehensive audit trail that can identify problems caused by human error and improper changes.
Your legacy job scheduling and modern workload automation solutions can provide you a rich set of relevant data as to the status of your mission-critical workload and how it maps to the business.
Leveraging this capability is a combination of understanding how your business services are mapped within your workload automation solution, leveraging a modern workload solution that will enable you to more effectively manage your service levels, and an intelligent review and challenge of the assumptions relating to how your workload has been historically scheduled and configured.
**Magic Quadrant for Job Scheduling, 2009 by Gartner Group
Workload Automation today is primarily focused on automating workload in mainframe and distributed environments that are of a batch or near real-time nature.
While this form of workload will continue to remain prevalent in the data center for years to come, there are new forms of workload, made possible by new shifts in enterprise architecture that are emerging in parallel and will necessitate the integration of both existing and new platforms.
To more greatly concentrate computing power to reduce overall run time, applications have taken to greater balancing of workload to shorting data processing windows.
Parallel processing emerged, and was later refined by Grid computing. Data centers now had greater capability of executing workload within their existing infrastructure, but could not optimize hardware resources. This led to large numbers of servers under utilized the vast majority of the time and on standby for peak operating periods.
The on-demand nature of virtualization technology and cloud computing changes that - though the vast majority of job scheduling and workload automation solutions deployed in the enterprise cannot leverage it.
||Consequence for Workload Automation
|Virtualization and Cloud-based technologies mean inexpensive, on-demand computing resources can be made available at any time to accelerate processing of workload
||Workload Automation solutions must be able to differentiate between the workload to the infrastructure, and be able to identify new resources on the fly as they become available. More importantly, solutions must be able to integrate and control provisioning tools of these environments.
|Key components of an Enterprise's workload may exist in disparate data stores including in-house as well as SaaS-hosted applications in the cloud.
||The Solution must simultaneously support corporate as well as the industry's standard security protocols. Must be able to easily extract and move large volumes of data between partners.
|These new workload systems, such as Grid Computing, are also closed systems with limited awareness in terms of other workload management systems - but may have data and process dependencies
||These systems need to be integrated with the rest of an enterprise's workload, which may span generations of technology. The WAB must be able to integrate with and create cross-platform, cross-application workflows to manage workload end-to-end and create an effective business process view
Today, OpsWise helps you move forward to Workload Nirvana by providing a set of core services that moves the bar in what is achievable by a Job Scheduler and Workload Automation Broker today by providing:
- A state of the art user experience that's 100% web-based that allows users to build business-level views of the workload that's running
- Integrate all of your platforms - from z/OS to virtualized Linux servers
- Dynamically place workload on servers - and auto-discovery of new machine images containing OpsWise agents
- Load-balancing of servers based on CPU
- Broadcasting workload across a set of servers
Our development team has done a fabulous job getting Winter 2010 out the door!
What's New Winter 2010
New Features include the much anticipated command-line interface, SNMP notifications on workload, and SNMP and Email Notifications on Agents, the Mid-Tier and Cluster nodes.
We're just getting started on our 2010 Roadmap, Spring release starting to take shape....
Latest EMA Radar Report™ examines 13 industry-leading Workload Automation (WLA) products for enterprises
BOULDER, Colo., Jan.12, 2010 - Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), a leading IT management research and consulting firm, today announced the release of its newest EMA Radar Report™ titled, Workload Automation Q1 2010 - An EMA Radar Report™. Created to assist IT professionals in selecting the right Workload Automation (WLA) products, EMA has identified the leading vendors in this space based on key criteria defined by EMA VP of Research, Systems & Storage Management, Andi Mann.
Results identify key strengths and weaknesses and highlight characteristics, summarized in a detailed market map and Radar Chart - which includes a composite score for each vendor - making it simple to see how vendors measure up in the market, as well as against other vendors.
The following criteria were the five major factors used to evaluate WLA solution maturity:
1. Cross-Platform Job Scheduling - creating workflows across multiple platforms and applications.
2. ITSM Integration - orchestrating ITIL-based process inputs and outputs
3. Resource Optimization - dynamic resource allocation and load balancing
4. Business Integration - linking IT services to business requirements, business impact analysis
5. Predictive Analytics - dynamic thresholding, impact analysis, heuristic monitoring, etc.
Some of the top honors awarded include BMC for "Best Overall ITSM Integration" and "Best Automated Resolution," CA for "Best Security Integration" and "Highest Rated Functionality," IBM for "Best Workload Management Integration," OpsWise for "Best Interface Design," ORSYP for "Most Scalable Architecture," The complete Workload Automation Radar Report showcases all products awarded and provides a detailed outline of strengths and weaknesses.
"The EMA Workload Automation Radar Report highlights EMA's choices for best products in this space and provides IT professionals with a starting point from which to evaluate available WLA solutions," said Andi Mann. "Furthermore, this report provides a maturity model that explains the progression from chaotic batch job scheduling to dynamic and adaptive WLA. Undoubtedly, it is a beneficial, independent guide for end-users and vendors alike."
The complete Workload Automation Q1 2010 - An EMA Radar Report™ is available online for $795 at http://www.enterprisemanagement.com/research/asset.php?id=1646
The summary is available for free online at http://www.enterprisemanagement.com/research/asset.php?id=1645
About the EMA Radar Report
The EMA Radar Report delivers an in-depth analysis of industry-leading vendors and vendor products, including their overall market position in comparison with other vendors. This information is laid out in an easy-to-decipher, detailed Radar Chart - which includes the composite score for each vendor - making it simple to see how vendors measure up in the market, as well as against other vendors. The EMA Radar report also provides a detailed discussion of methodology and criteria, a high-level market segment overview, a comprehensive analyst write-up on each vendor, as well as an evaluation of software products based on five key dimensions: Ease of Deployment and Administration, Cost Advantage, Architecture and Integration, Functionality, and Vendor Strength.
Founded in 1996, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst firm that specializes in going "beyond the surface" to provide deep insight across the full spectrum of IT management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solu¬tions to help its clients achieve their goals. Learn more about EMA research, analysis, and consult¬ing services for enterprise IT professionals and IT vendors at www.enterprisemanagement.com or follow EMA on Twitter http://twitter.com/ema_research.
A number of inquiries we get relating to OpsWise Automation Center, is from organizations who are growing, and as a result, it's simply time to replace cron.
For decades, administrators of UNIX and UNIX-like systems such as Linux have relied on cron, the built-in systems scheduler, in order to schedule and automate tasks. In this post, we will explore cron's strengths and weaknesses as well look at the challenges that this approach as opposed to an enterprise automation approach, such as OpsWise!
CRON the Good
There's a lot of good about cron, for instance:
- As an embedded tool, it's free
- The implementation of CRON is available across a large number of operating systems, and is consistently implemented
- Cron is immediately available as a service, no software to install
- From a security perspective, users can have their own individual crontab files and do their own scheduling
- From a scheduling perspective, it provides good flexibility in terms of scheduling capabilities and especially good at running cyclic jobs (e.g. runs every 20 minutes)
CRON the Bad
- Scheduling not sophisticated enough to understand holidays, so avoiding running workload on holidays or specific days (e.g. an inventory day) requires significant manual intervention
- Stuck to the time zone of the server you are running on
- Stuck to the server cron is running on
- No workflow logic, you cannot take different processing directions based on the success, failure, or error code recieved
- Stuck on time-only triggering. Much of the time, automation can be driven off of file-based activity or on RDBMS activity. With cron, you are stuck with just time
CRON the Ugly
- Maintenance headache as you add more and more servers. Want to run the same scheduled task on twenty different servers? That's twenty different servers you need to log into, create a cron tab entry, test, and debug
- No central point of control - users have to manually log in and look at the output of their workload in order to determine success or failure
- No notifications automatically if something goes wrong, which could be hours, or days. You are blind to processing errors.
- No audit trail for workload = compliance nightmare. If you have initiatives such as SOX, HIPPA, or PCI, a lack of evidence is problematic. The collection process, while possible, is very time consuming
OpsWise as a CRON replacement
OpsWise addresses the Bad and the Ugly of cron, providing you with:
- Definition of tasks and workflows across all of your severs, and centralized monitoring of job status from a single web-based enterprise console
- Notifications - get an email notification directly to your smartphone everytime something goes, wrong, including diagnostic output so you can pinpoint the error
- Manage cross-platform dependencies across servers and operating systems through a simple drag-and-drop workflow editor
- Automatically react to file activity instead of being dependent on time
- Full Audit Trail, Audit Reports, and Role-based security makes being compliant and tracking compliance data a breeze
- More sophisticated scheduling, including calendaring and time zone support. We even provide a unique cron-compatibility mode for those used to scheduling using cron's five positional parameters. This also makes migrating your data from cron far easier than with other solutions
And, of course, many, many more benefits.
I just got flipped this link
to EMA Analyst Andi Mann's personal blog. As one of the principle use cases of Cloud Computing is provisioning capacity for running workload, it's great to see the Analyst community starting to talk about this. I know we have been for a while.
It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since a band of propeller-head IT Automation gurus first released OpsWise Automation Center. Weeks before the worst recession since the great depression is certainly most interesting timing for launching a new solution, but ahead we went, much to the chagrin of our competition and the naysayers that the industry does not want another job scheduler/workload automation broker.
One year, and three additional seasonal releases later, here we are - continuing to sign new customers and build great new features that we deliver to customers, sometimes monthly. We won't be done until we're the best Workload Automation Platform on the planet.
Well, it took a little longer than we wanted, but we've come out with a great new release!
Congrats to the team for pulling this together. It was certainly a team effort. This release has a very interesting quality - we've provided serious innovation in terms of integrating with Legacy Systems and Cloud Computing all in one release! This also marks our 3rd release since the launch of Automation Center in September 2008. Let's review the highlights...
Dynamic Allocation of workload in elastic cloud and virtualized environments
This is our favourite new job scheduling feature in a long time! We hinted at this last July with our press release where we announced our plans for workload automation and enterprise job scheduling in cloud computing environments.
So how does this work? Well, it's pretty simple. Say, for instance, you're running an application where you're using lots of load balancing, say for instance, based on CPU utilization - and you are distributing your data for processing across a number of servers. If you know you're back is up against the wall in terms of CPU utilization, or meeting your SLA's, simply provision new images of servers in either a VM environment or in the cloud - and watch as these new images start up - perhaps for the first time - and presto! Automatically join work queues and start running workload. That easy. Oh yeah, the OpsWise EC2 image is also here.
Full re-run/restart for z/OS
We've been working for months with a mainframe customer craving new workload features and getting none. They are in the process of shifting off of CA-7 and onto OpsWise. Besides unparalleled ease of use, a more modern architecture, a tool that they can use to also automate their distributed environment - they're actually also getting BETTER MAINFRAME functionality than they were getting before. Including a better rerun/restart manager than what's provided by CA-11. Tired of your mainframe scheduler? We've got the answer.
To top it off, we've added lots and lots of small features, most requested by our users. We've bumped up our file monitoring with new built in variables, scheduling of reports to be delivered by email, and due to a number of Mac geeks on the team, full support for OSX - the first enterprise job scheduler with 100% support for OSX with both Server and Agents.
Time to relax is over - onwards to our Winter 2009 release - lots of API and integration work to be done. More on that later...
About a month ago now, we announced that OpsWise Automation Center is, in fact, the first Workload Automation broker to be fully enabled for cloud deployment.
With our new Summer release (coming soon!) Automation Center can be centrally deployed in the cloud and control resources in the cloud and also back in your data center. Alternatively, you can keep Automation Center deployed on-premise, and connect to resources in the cloud.
We also took it one step further - dynamic registry of newly provisioned servers into Automation Center - and newly registered agents are automatically assigned to work queues for immediate allocation of workload.
It's a significant step forward from what is considered possible. Why was it so easy for us to achieve?
- As a solution designed and architected within the past 12 months, we follow the web and architecuture standards of today
- 100% Web-based. No thick client, no socket to reconfigure, no ODBC driver to fiddle with. Just pop up your browser, and presto, instant access
- Our agents were designed to auto-register to begin with. Extending smart agents is much easier than dumb ones
- Adherence to modern security standards - fully support for SSL end-to-end ensured our message security played nice on the web, and now, in the cloud!
- A desire to innovate & consistent communication with our clients, many of which, are cutting edge, rapidly growing 21st century data centers
The result? OpsWise in the cloud. While the cloud may not be for everyone today - we are seeing more and more examples of how enterprises can leverage workload in the cloud. And we're there - today.