Why IT Analytics Matter to Workload Automation
February 5, 2018 1:50 pm
In today’s real-time, instant gratification business world it might surprise some, that underlying many of the systems and applications that provide this real-time reality are job scheduling and workload automation systems. These systems manage the critical feeds and processing to ensure that real-time applications support the business and its customers with accurate and relevant information. These critical workload processes support everything from financial market transactions to the placement and shipment of customer orders. It’s mind boggling how complex and important these processes are, yet very few people are aware of the role these systems play until something fails, or doesn’t execute properly or on time.
Workload Automation products and solutions come in many flavors from many vendors. The predominant ones in the market come from large software vendors like IBM, BMC, and CA Technologies. However, there are a lot of smaller vendors in the market, open source solutions, and even homegrown ones. Larger enterprises predominantly run the “Big 3” vendors’ products. Surprisingly, they don’t run just one vendor’s solution, but multiple ones from different vendors as well as various specialty solutions from smaller vendors to meet the specific needs of certain applications. This adds to the complexity of these environments, and the costs associated with managing them.
The growth in size and complexity of workload environments today has surpassed the ability of these market leading workload products to manage this processing efficiently and effectively. The challenge is inherent in these products because of their legacy roots, the inability of vendors to make significant changes, and the need to satisfy many different customers’ needs. The larger vendors focus more on performance, reliability, and compatibility features, as opposed to management and usability. Add to this the fact that no workload vendor is interested in supporting a workload automation product from another vendor, in order to provide manageability across multiple schedulers. Finally, and to the point of this article, very few vendors, because it is not their focus, are taking an analytical approach to managing, monitoring, and optimizing their workload processes.
This is where workload analytics comes into play. While virtually every area of your business and most areas of IT are embracing analytics, the area of workload automation does not. Some use historical run data to develop trends using a spreadsheet approach, however, this is only an after-the-fact band-aid that can tell you that you have already failed or that you might somewhere eventually fail. It cannot point out specific future problem areas or provide you with accurate predictions for processing times and capacity utilization. With analytics, problem resolution for long running or failed processing is much easier; it can reduce meantime to repair by up to 99%, and limits the amount of human capital required to diagnose the problem. Workload Analytics can also help developers and engineers build better workload processes and redesign current processes for more efficiency and higher reliability. I’ve seen many customers avoid the needed re-engineering of their current workload processing because it is too complex, has no documentation, or the original developers have moved on. Analytics helps to dissect your workload, understand how it works, and target optimization efforts.
An analytical approach to workload automation solutions has been applied with great success in many customers through products provided by my company, Terma Software. For example, one of our customers, a large financial services company in North America, stated “We were able to reduce mean time to identify and repair workload processes that were under performing and failing. In fact, we were able to reallocate over half of our support staff due to our ability to efficiently identify and correct problems using Terma’s solution”. Workload analytics provides the foundation for our solution, which supports hundreds of customers, from small to large, with varying levels of complexity and mission criticality. In future posts, I plan on sharing some of the experiences I’ve seen through the many years I’ve been involved in the business. Our products provide capabilities including cross-platform workload automation monitoring and reporting, predictive monitoring and alerting, and advanced analysis capabilities to help build and optimize your processes. If you’d like to understand all that we do, please visit us a TermaSoftware.com. Our solutions can modernize your legacy batch systems; we can plug into any workload job scheduler whether it’s from one of the big providers, built in house, or an open source solution.
Jim Anderson is Vice President of Strategy at Terma Software. He’s been working in the software industry for many years including roles in engineering, product management, product marketing, and sales. He has experience on both sides of the table as customer and vendor. His primary areas of expertise include IT Operations, infrastructure, cloud, and analytics. Jim can be contacted at Jim@TermaLabs.com.