SoftLanding Job Scheduler Goes with the Flow
August 19, 2015 Alex Woodie
When it comes to picking a job scheduler, IBM i shops shouldn’t feel as though they must buy software from incumbents, like IBM or others. In fact, you may be surprised at the number of job schedulers available from third-party suppliers. One of these, the AUTOMON for iSchedule job scheduler from SoftLanding Systems, recently received some notable improvements.
Job scheduling on the IBM i platform has largely been a green-screen affair. But as job scheduling gets more complex and job dependencies get more convoluted, prospective buyers are increasingly looking for job schedulers with graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to help cut through the clutter.
That’s the gist of the July announcement from UNICOM Global subsidiary SoftLanding. The company added a flowcharting capability to the iSchedule component of its AUTOMON suite that enables systems administrators to view a graphic representation of job schedules, which can make it easier to understand the flow of complex schedules.
The addition of a flowchart should give IBM i shops greater confidence to make changes to job schedules, and entail less risk when doing so, says SoftLanding operations manager Jim Fisher.
“It can be difficult to see exactly what is happening when you are just looking at a written schedule,” Fisher says. “When you view the schedule as a flowchart you can immediately spot dependencies between jobs. As a result, job scheduling becomes quicker and more error proof because you can see at a glance what the effects of any changes will be.”
The new flowchart function, which is implemented as an export to Microsoft Visio and is read-only, will also help to optimize the batch schedule and help to eliminate processing bottlenecks, Fisher adds.
“That’s vital for organizations seeking to pack more into the overnight processing window without impacting online system availability for customers or employees,” he says. “It also frees up more time in the schedule for upgrades and other essential maintenance.”
iSchedule allows customers to control jobs in a number of ways, including by setting jobs to run at specific intervals, according to calendars, or in response to the status of other jobs or other events, such as the status of communication lines or the existence of objects or records in a database file. The software supports more complex and multi-server IBM i environments through a “nested dependency scheduling” capability that responds to events.
Aside from the flowchart, iSchedule itself is still mostly a green-screen program, but SoftLanding expects to add a Web-based GUI to the product next year, Fisher tells IT Jungle.
UNICOM obtained iSchedule with its 2009 acquisition of Macro 4, which also netted it other software for IBM i, System z, and other platforms. The AUTOMON suite ships with four components, including iSchedule, iConsole, iMessage, and iSpool. Customers can purchase each product separately. For more information, see www.softlanding.com.