Halcyon Bolsters IBM i Process Automation Solution
July 30, 2013 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that are tired of paying IT personnel to manually submit jobs on the system may be interested in the latest product news from Halcyon Software. The UK firm last week unveiled a new version of Record and Playback, a utility that automates routine tasks and processes in IBM i environments. With version 11, Halcyon has added a new screen capture capability that should enable even more automation of tasks, as well as better diagnoses of errors.
IBM i shops are notorious for having slim IT staffs, and for having IT personnel that wear multiple hats. This approach keeps costs down, and contributes to the IBM i platform’s renowned operational efficiency. But sometimes, this approach can be taken too far, and when it does, IT personnel get stretched thin, and the backlog of user requests starts grows to unacceptable levels.
IBM i gurus, of course, could program their way out of this situation using a combination of superior CL and RPG skills, and their expert knowledge of the system. But not every shop has somebody on the staff like this, and that’s where a product like Halcyon’s Record and Playback can come in handy.
Record and Playback was designed to help eliminate the need for a human operator to spend time manually submitting routine jobs on the IBM i server. The product works by recording the keystrokes involved with the work, and then executing a script (either interactively or as part of a bigger batch job) that replays the keystrokes.
Halcyon says the tool can either be used when jobs are run interactively, or when interactive screens would normally need input from the IT team before a job can be submitted to the job queue. Examples of tasks that are good candidates for this tool include interactive job submissions, systems saves, back ups, and repetitive program testing. The software can also be used to perform “check list” tasks automatically, the company says.
With version 11, Halcyon has added a new screen capture capability that allows the recording of all keystrokes that are necessary to submit a job and replays the sequence automatically at the appropriate time, including function keys and the enter key. The new screen capture facility also enables the IBM i user to re-examine the session, screen by screen, to pinpoint where an error is occurring during failed sessions.
The new version of Record and Playback is a product of the investment Halcyon has made to rewrite its complete suite of system monitoring and automation tools, says Halcyon’s sales and marketing director Carole Chandler.
“Record and Playback V11 is easy to use without requiring high levels of IBM i programming skills,” Chandler says in a press release. “Record and Playback automates essential system tasks, reduces service delivery costs and improves the productivity of IBM i server infrastructures.”
Record and Playback is often deployed alongside the Halcyon’s Advanced Job Scheduler. The duo enable IBM i shops to schedule and track complex job streams across different IBM i systems, or even across other server platforms, the company says.
In other news, Halcyon announced that it has hired Garrett Schut to become its new vice president of sales. Schut, who is based in Orange County, California, will lead the company’s sales and business partner efforts in North and South America. He will report to Halcyon’s international sales director Sean Gallagher, who is based in the UK.
Schut is a sales professional and former system engineer who has more than 20 years of experience in the IBM i market, including stints at high availability and disaster recovery solution providers Lakeview Technology and Vision Solutions; with Agilysys, the maker of software for the hospitality sector; and most recently with looksoftware, the developer of IBM i application modernization solutions. Schut is the vice president of the board of OCEAN, the Southern California IBM i user group.
Schut fills the role formerly occupied by John Dominic, who left Halcyon earlier this year to take a position at Maxava. “We are very excited to welcome Garrett to our team,” says Halcyon CEO Lorraine Cousins in a press release.