Robot/SCHEDULE Gets New File Transfer Capabilities
February 9, 2010 Alex Woodie
In enterprise computing environments, batch jobs and file transfers often go hand in hand. Before a batch job can run, the latest data must be loaded, or jobs are setup to automatically execute when data arrives in a specific folder. Job scheduling software developer Help/Systems realized this affinity with the latest release of its cross-platform job scheduler Robot/SCHEUDLE Enterprise, which gains the capability to automate file transfers among i/OS, Unix, Linux, and Windows servers via FTP or FTPS.
Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise is a relatively new product that Help/Systems rolled out less than a year ago. The software, which is technically an add-on to the core i/OS-based Robot/SCHEDULE product, uses Java-based agents and scripts to coordinate the execution of jobs on Windows, Unix, and Linux servers with jobs running on the user’s core System i server. Users interact with the software using the same management interfaces and consoles used with the original i/OS job scheduler.
With last week’s release of Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise version 1.05, Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise now has the capability to automatically distribute data via FTP and FTPS (SSL-based FTP). The new features work by adding FTP and FTPS commands into the scripts that are distributed among the Unix, Linux, Windows, and System i servers, according to Help/Systems vice president of technical services Tom Huntington.
“Get” and “put” file transfer functions can be executed against any authorized IP address, from any computer that has the Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise Java-based agent installed on it. “The result is an automated script that becomes part of your normal batch processes that you run on a Unix, Windows, or Linux server,” Huntington says via e-mail.
The FTP and FTPS functions are configured using the same Java-based GUI that administrators use to configure other aspects of the job scheduler, Huntington says. The software automatically adds the scripts to the batch jobs, and no OPAL (or operator assistance language, Help/Systems’ proprietary programming language for automating business processes) is required.
The new FTP and FTPS functions will make job scheduling more event driven, Huntington says. “Data movement from server to server is often a time oriented event in our networks, and by adding [FTP capabilities] to Robot/SCEHDULE Enterprise, we can make the entire process event-driven,” he says.
For example, the software could be used to streamline event processing across Windows and i/OS servers. Once a file has been transferred from the i/OS server to the Windows server, the script will automatically kick off a batch job on the Windows server, providing tighter event-based job scheduling.
File transfers become one more event that can kick off jobs. Other events already supported in the software include the creation, deletion, or modification of a file or directory; whether a file is growing; and when services start or end. Users can also create their own monitored events.
Help/Systems added the FTP and FTPS functions to its job scheduler as it’s seeing more competition from managed file transfer (MFT) software vendors. Many MFT tools have rudimentary job scheduling capabilities, so bolstering one of the System i community’s most popular third-party job schedulers with FTP and FTPS capabilities just made sense, according to Huntington.
“For customers that have iSeries as the hub or a big part of the data center, we can integrate backups, FTP, business processes, systems management, daemon monitoring, service monitoring, and more into the operation job stream,” he says. “This gives the operations team one place to go for trouble shooting and provides the audit the IT auditors want to see too.”
Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise version 1.05 is available now. For more information, visit www.helpsystems.com.