Control-M Review

An intuitive, stable, and easy-to-use solution that provides insights and has a single window for defining workflows

What is our primary use case?

My client is one of the largest banks in Pakistan. They are using it for their international branches as well as for branches all over Pakistan. They have around 16 or 17 international branches in Gulf, North America, South Africa, Seychelles, and Singapore.

How has it helped my organization?

The operation window of our client is 24 hours. At different locations, they have to perform different activities. If you are working in a banking environment, the main activity is at the close of business, which is monitored by Control-M for all of their branches. Instead of having 20 people, now they have three to four people who are monitoring the tasks. Control-M is taking care of the close-of-business monitoring tasks, such as backups, etc.

What is most valuable?

It has multiple features. You can plan your execution in Control-M. It provides one single window where you can define workflows regardless of geographic boundaries and platforms. A batch process can be executed from this single window.

It provides insights into your processes. Your business people will know what process they are running and what is the state of the process. Instead of knowing that they're not going to meet the SLA the next morning, the business people immediately know the changes in their process.

Control-M is very easy. I can tell a non-technical person that this is how it works, and he would be able to easily understand it. Business people can understand the methodology of Control-M and the intuitive features that it has. It has a fantastic graphical user interface and is easy to understand. You just have to drag and drop but in a very intuitive way.

Monitoring features are also good. It has different color coding schemes, which can help you to understand the status of your workflow. An operator who is not that technical and is just monitoring the status of the application can see by color-coding the status of a process. If anything goes wrong or a process is stuck, it gives you a hint. You can just right-click and see the logs and the output. Even if the system is not right there in the data center and is located somewhere else, you can monitor it right from there and see the workflows.

What needs improvement?

A Control-M on-prem license is based on the number of jobs, which is the number of tasks a particular customer wants to have. These tasks have to be run within 24 hours window. For example, if you have a license for 100 jobs, you can run a maximum of 100 jobs in a 24-hour window. If your operations could not run 10 jobs, and they ran only 90 jobs, they just carry over to the next day, but the next day, they will have 110 jobs. Control-M asks you to buy those 10 more licenses because you were out of compliance in terms of the number of licenses. This is something that needs to be indicated in Control-M GUI so that customers know the number of licenses they're going to use in this time window. 

Their support and documentation should be improved. I am not that satisfied with their customer support. Sometimes, they don't have the answers. Their documentation is very poor. It is not well written, and it is not in a very logical manner.

You can use it on Unix, Linux, Windows, and AIX, but it needs some improvement on iSeries. It needs a built-in mechanism inside the system to give you an option to restore from the last point of failure. If a process crashes, the Control-M needs to have a mechanism in iSeries where the process can be restored from the last point of failure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Its licensing is not based on the number of users. Its licensing is based on the number of tasks that you're using. You can have as many as 100 users, but in the environments that I have seen, there were between 10 to 20 users. You have administrators who can design the workflows, and you have operators who just monitor the results.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am not that satisfied with their customer support. I would give them a 4 or 3.8 out of 5. Sometimes, they don't have the answers. 

Their documentation is not that clear. It is not well written, and it is not in a very logical manner. They just put information in the documentation, and you have to find things. It is not easy. If you are new to this product, you have to spend some time to understand what is it, and when you go to the documentation, most of the pages have a few lines, and then they ask, "Did it help?" It actually doesn't help. There is not much documentation, and it is not that clear. IBM products have very clear-cut, systematic, and guided activity sort of things on the website, whereas BMC's documentation is very poor. It is not that eloquent and clear.

How was the initial setup?

It has some complexities because it is a complex environment. It has a three-tier environment on-prem, and one has to establish a secure connection between these entities, which is not easy. The first one is the master server console. The second one is the main engine that determines the scheduling process, and the third one is the agent. Agents have to be deployed on different client machines.

What other advice do I have?

I would highly recommend this product. Its setup is complex, but once the setup is done, it hides away all the complexity. The end-user will have a very clear and intuitive interface to define the workflows. It is very easy to use.

I would rate Control-M an eight out of ten.

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: distributor
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