What is most valuable?
The features most valuable differ from client to client. One of our clients used Control-M to execute multiple scripts in distributed systems and mainframe environments, which in turn ensured proper functioning of equipment, updating data, BI report, etc. over their multiple stores and distribution centre. Another client I worked with required mainly files to be transferred to third parties/vendors/internal businesses.
In all cases, Control-M was able to deliver it flawlessly, and also with add-on security features such as SSH connections and PGP encryption.
How has it helped my organization?
Control-M helped automate workloads, which would have taken hours and hours of effort and resources. The tool increased the quality and efficiency of work performed with as minimum manual effort as possible. It also reduced cost to the company by ensuring timely/effective/error-free delivery of tasks.
What needs improvement?
Control-M as a tool has provided a really stable and effective platform to automate workloads. However, sometimes we do have to use different job types to achieve one task. For this scenario a welcome addition would be an application integrator tool that is part of the Control-M product and can be used to combine multiple/variety of job types into one, allowing us to achieve the same result in one job.
Now, since this tool is something the users would have to define on their own, the pre-packaged or existing functionalities wouldn’t recognise the new template we would have designed, if you work on mass-updating a folder. So we end up having to individually pick out the AI jobs and update it. Understandably, as multiple users will have multiples ways of working with the tool, it would be difficult to pre-code something into the Control-M tool without knowing what will be developed by, say, a random coder in a different part of the world with a different business requirement.
Another aspect that always bothered me, as an administrator, was the Old bug out-New bug in conundrum regarding compatibility of the tool when a new version/FixPack was installed. We would have to then install patches to ensure compatibility. Some of the Control-M modules would need their own patches on EM side/server side, etc.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used it for over eight years now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I have not encountered any stability issues. Control-M, as a tool, has been pretty stable. We did come across some compatibility or connectivity issues at times, which usually were resolved really quickly, as BMC’s wonderful tech team would have released a patch beforehand.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We did initially face some confusion with the GUI servers. What happens is, when you log in to the tool, it automatically picks up the last used GUI server and most of the users, who aren't schedulers or administrators, wouldn't have bothered to check that field or change it. So with more users logging in at the same time, we would have a huge load on the servers and the tool would hang or disconnect or wouldn't connect. We were able to fix it when we created multiple GUI servers to share the load, and some education for the users. :)
I remember another instance during my initial experience with Control-M. There used to be a delay with the NDP (New Day Procedure) as the number of jobs were really high, and it took around 45 minutes to 1.5 hours some days. I haven't seen this issue again, though, and since I didn't get to work in-depth with Control-M back then, I am not sure if that was in fact the tool or our servers having hung processes.
Another instance was when we accidentally had more jobs running at the same time (around 200K Control-M jobs) than what our servers could handle; it all came crashing down. I think it could have been something our servers weren't built to handle, as I did hear of some stories where the company ran 500K jobs at the same time (can't vouch for that story, or how it went for them though).
But these were mostly situational issues, and we were able to learn from it and quickly resolve it, find workarounds/solutions or better server management. So, when we built any new environment, we took all of these into account.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support is excellent. They have a great support team. Also their AMIGO program is great, where you can engage BMC support for migration of your Control-M versions, if you need BMC expertise handy, and they do go through the complete process from start to finish, which is great.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I hadn't had a chance to work with any other solutions.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is pretty straightforward, with all the necessary details mentioned in their well-written guides. They have guides for utilities, parameters, installation, administration, etc., which makes it easier to adapt for anyone who is new to the tool (of course, prior understanding of OS/DBs/networks/etc. is expected for you to understand it. ;) )
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Control-M does come with a lot of features, but with those features comes the hefty price tag. :) It is reasonable comparatively to some tools that may only do, say, one type of the multiple tasks available in Control-M.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Most of the places I worked already had the solution in place, hence I cannot comment on this.
What other advice do I have?
It is a great product and it will be worth it, if you plan to utilize it to its full potential and on a larger scale.