What is our primary use case?
Usually what we end up doing with Workload Automation is, we have a lot of different jobs: different batch scripts, PHP scripts, everything that we need to run at specific times in chains, with banner-related instances, which means different database connections. We need all the stuff to happen, we need to know that it's going to happen, and if it doesn't we need to make sure that we get logs as to why. That's usually the general work case that we have.
It's performed very well. I think right now the one issue that we're having is we have a lack of documentation on it and the different jobs that are inside of it. But the platform itself is working very well.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is probably just the robustness of the platform itself, where you can go in and put any code inside of it and, as long as the server that you have it running on has the legs to be able to execute all that, it's good to go.
How has it helped my organization?
We don't have to manually run things anymore. We can have the work that a team of 50 people would do, all inside of one platform.
What needs improvement?
Again, lack of documentation, that is an issue. When we do need to bring it down for maintenance, it is always a scary moment for us because we have never had it crash. When we don't have any documentation, we don't really know what to expect if we do have to bring it down but there haven't really been any issues with it.
I'm probably not the right one to ask about features for upcoming versions mostly because we are using an old version of this product. However, if I had to, I'd probably say that it would be really nice if it had the ability to see, on a more top-level scale, what's going on inside of the system. Right now it is very granular. You do have to get very deep into the system to see what jobs are happening, when they're happening, how they're happening, if anything's failed. If they could have a more high-level view of that, that would be really nice.
I gave it an eight out of 10 because we are using an older version right now. I'm sure the newer version that they have is really great.
The thing that's preventing us from upgrading to the latest version is personnel resources. We don't have enough staff. I think after this conference (CA World) we're probably going to be setting up new servers to go ahead and update. With that, we have a lot of financial related things on our version, so shifting everything over to the new version is going to take a lot of time. We don't know exactly how it's going to be different.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It is very stable. We haven't had it go down yet so that's very nice, that's always good. We've been using it about 10 years now and we've never had any crashes.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We haven't had any issues. If we need more space, we just throw more space on the servers. If we need to have it connect to more databases or more services, there really is no issue with it.
How is customer service and technical support?
We have used it before, however, we haven't really needed it too much. Usually, most of the issues that we would have, you can find documentation about them somewhere online. We also know that there are other universities in Georgia that use this product so we usually end up reaching out to them before we have any other issues.
What other advice do I have?
When choosing a vendor, since we're a university, what is important is the cost, and then who does it benefit. Is it going to benefit the student body? If it does, perfect. It does benefit the employees, perfect. Other than that, are there any other people, any other companies that offer something similar, and what do they do. Outside of that, how hard is it going to be for us to bring them on and what does a company do with the data that we give them. That is a very important piece. If we have to give student data to that system, does that student data go anywhere? If it does, that violates federal laws, things like that.
As far as advice, make sure that you document everything. As you're setting it up, work closely with other universities, figure out what best cases are going to be, best practices. Really just have a deep understanding of what you are wanting to do with it, what jobs that you want it to do, what processes are you wanting to map out.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Nov 29 2017