ActiveBatch Review

Our business users are able to set up and maintain their own jobs

What is our primary use case?

Most of the jobs are for the automation of processes, but we also use it for IT operations, including monitoring. We execute over 20,000 jobs daily.

It's moving data files and doing a lot of calculations in hydrology and the like. The business users are maintaining their own jobs, setting them up, configuring, and maintaining them. They only contact us, in IT,  if there are any problems. 

ActiveBatch is completely on-prem but the rest of our organization has many different kinds of infrastructure and locations, both in the cloud and in 16 countries. We have about 4,000 employees.

How has it helped my organization?

The automation has saved us many hours although I can't say exactly how many.

We're able to create workflows without coding.

I would imagine it has also resulted in an improvement in workflow completion times as well.

Our IT organization is using it for monitoring. We get information by running checks using ActiveBatch to obtain information to provide to the monitoring systems. It helps us keep systems up and to receive early warning about problems.

What is most valuable?

We use the main job-scheduling feature. It's the only thing we use in the tool. That's the reason we are using the tool: to reduce costs by replacing manual tasks with automated tasks and to perform regular, repetitive tasks in a more reliable way.

It's quite customizable because it supports many different platforms and technologies, and it covers almost everything we need to set up different jobs in our environment. We are using it mostly for our Windows and Unix servers and we are using different triggers, for example, Apache ActiveMQ. It is used by many different applications and systems. We use various databases, including Oracle, SQL Server, Microsoft, as well as Active Directory.

We are at the beginning of implementing agents in our Azure cloud. We haven't used that part very much yet but it will be used. We are moving more and more systems from on-prem to the cloud, so it will increase gradually.

What needs improvement?

It could be easier to provide dashboards on how many jobs are running at the same time; more monitoring.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using ActiveBatch for at least 10 years. We're on version 11 but we are planning to upgrade to version 12 in a couple of months. 

I'm not an end-user, I'm just responsible for making sure it's working. I troubleshoot if something is wrong and I do upgrading and installing.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's pretty reliable. If it's organized and configured in an optimal way it works pretty well, but it requires a lot of planning. For example, you have to make sure that end-users don't have too many privileges because they can mess things up. It's very important to plan carefully before implementing.

We have had some issues in one of our installations in Germany, but they are still on version 10, which is quite an old implementation. They will replace that with the new version 12 in the near future.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. You can add more agents. We haven't had any performance problems or issues with it.

The number of jobs and the number of applications that take advantage of ActiveBatch are growing constantly within our company. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Other than scheduling in Windows, I don't think our company had a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

ActiveBatch was already implemented when I came to this company, but I have been here for a couple of upgrades.

Some parts of the setup are straightforward and some parts are more complex. The main features are pretty straightforward to set up but when it comes to the features that require an internet information server, it's a bit more tricky to set the secure connections and certificates, etc. We struggled a bit with that but we had good support from the vendor. They were able to make it work.

The implementation itself doesn't take a long time, but it takes a lot of planning: Security, execution agents, and the like. 

There are two of us who work with ActiveBatch maintenance, but it's not a full-time responsibility. We have between 100 and 200 people who transact with it. Some of them have read-only access so that they can view the jobs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I also have experience with CA Workload Automation. It has been some years since I worked with it but it's the same concept and the same features but doing things in slightly different ways. 

What other advice do I have?

Start with a simple, small version and try some simple tasks to see how effective it is.

Using  ActiveBatch I have learned that the potential for reducing costs using an automation tool is huge, and that when the business becomes aware of it they really embrace the product.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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