AppWorx Brings Job Scheduler to OS/400
May 24, 2005 Alex Woodie
iSeries shops looking for a new cross-platform job scheduler gained a new option this month when AppWorx introduced an OS/400 agent with AppWorx version 6.1. The Java-based job scheduler has long been used in Oracle ERP environments, and now iSeries shops can utilize the AppWorx functions, including job launching, status tracking, and even capturing output.
AppWorks is a Bellevue, Washington, company that started life as ISA Corp. in 1990. The company expanded from its initial focus on Oracle applications running on Windows and Unix platforms to include other operating systems and applications, including J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne, Lawson‘s ERP software, PeopleSoft Enterprise, Retek Retail, SAP‘s R/3 and mySAP, Siebel‘s CRM software, and SunGard‘s SCT software for governments. Today the company supports Windows, Unix, Linux, OpenVMS, and OS/400.
“We developed the OS/400 agent in response to requests by customers and potential customers, mostly in the J.D. Edwards, Retek Retail, and European markets,” writes Tim Kramer, the company’s marketing director. “We wanted to round out our offering and the OS/400 agent is a significant step towards accomplishing that.”
AppWorx separates itself from other batch job schedulers on the market by eschewing the traditional script-based control in favor of an object-oriented design that sits above the applications, which makes it “application aware” and capable of reacting to error codes, the company claims. Using an object-based architecture also enables changes to be more easily cascaded down to all the systems, which saves time and reduces errors, the company says.
AppWorx says it can automate any batch environment, no matter how complex the workflow or interdependencies of various enterprise systems. The software handles the task of passing any dynamic or static parameters to each job, and enables users to set up processes to execute using “before,” “during,” and “after” conditional logic. Jobs can be linked to run as soon as the output is available from a previous job, or jobs can be scheduled to execute at a certain time. Queuing enables jobs with the highest priority to be run first, while the ad-hoc setting lets power users run reports as needed.
In addition to being a batch job scheduler, AppWorx also provides output management that routes the results of certain jobs to the appropriate file or output device. This feature is handy for automatically kicking off reports, and with its CPU throttling capability, users can be assured that large reports won’t bog a server down.
Users interact with AppWorx through a graphical interface that enables them to set up batch scheduling by dragging and dropping elements on a screen. Users can also choose from various graphical analytical packages to view things like expected run times of a job chain or a job stream, the current job backlog, historical data, and a 24-hour preview of the schedule. Apparently, it’s similar to using Excel to control your business process flow, as the company claims that “AppWorx is the spreadsheet for your application batch processing environment.”
The company is allowed to boast–a little. In Gartner‘s last Magic Quadrant on job schedulers, AppWorx was featured as the “most visionary.” The company has 500 customers, a drop in the bucket compared to the big boys of systems management–IBM Tivoli, BMC Patrol, Hewlett-Packard‘s OpenView, and Computer Associates‘ Unicenter.
The vendor has developed extensions to enable AppWorx to work with various enterprise applications. The software will also work with native job schedulers provided by several ERP vendors, such as SAP.
In addition to OS/400 support, AppWorx 6.1 offers improved SAP integration through a new Java interface that’s certified by SAP for its eXternal Interface for Job Background Processing (XBP2.0). This release also brings support for JDBC drivers, enabling AppWorx to take account of things like dynamic parameters and database triggers in setting up its schedule.
AppWorx 6.1 with the OS/400 agent is available now. Pricing is tier-based and starts at $18,000. For more information, visit www.appworx.