IBM Workload Automation Review

It's array of scheduling options includes run and exclusion calendars (holidays).


What is most valuable?

The features most valuable to us are the diverse array of scheduling options, including run and exclusion calendars (holidays). The dependency management system allows us to build just about any scheduled batch process imaginable. Tivoli consistently runs jobs as scheduled and precisely as defined. This is critical, as we need our scheduler to be dependable and consistent.

We can also export job and schedule definitions to a flat file and then import them into a higher environment. This is critical for treating jobs and schedules as code, checking the definitions into version control, and deploying them cleanly. We can manage jobs and schedules ourselves without needing to turn to a designer in production.

How has it helped my organization?

Tivoli Workflow Scheduler provides a centralized tool for all scheduled jobs, including design, monitoring, and support. With thousands of jobs running each day, this would be unmanageable using Windows scheduled tasks, cron jobs, or a home grown scheduler based on Quartz or similar framework.

What needs improvement?

One area of improvement is the user interface. While it is extremely functional, it’s not very user friendly and it’s difficult to visualize the flow of a complicated job schedule. A visual flow would be very useful to see how far a schedule has progressed, where it failed, and why.

For how long have I used the solution?

We’ve been using Tivoli Workload Scheduler for 4.5 years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have had no issues with scalability. However, we have less than 100 batch servers across all environments, so our environment is not very large.

How is customer service and technical support?

I can’t rate technical support. I have never worked with IBM technical support on an issue with TWS. However, our number of support requests has been low due to the reliability of the product.

Which solutions did we use previously?

I have not used a previous solution. TWS was already in use when I started working here.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is somewhat complex when taking into account the following factors:

  • the supported\recommended database types are Oracle or DB2 for Windows shops
  • deployment of agents across all batch processing servers
  • security configuration
  • load balancing and redundancy on the MASTER

Upgrades are also complex as all existing jobs, schedules, and other entities must be ported over and tested.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I have not dealt with pricing or licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other products as TWS was already in use when I started working here.

What other advice do I have?

Before purchasing Tivoli Workflow Scheduler, check out Automic One Scheduler. It’s much more expensive, but it does a lot more than just scheduling. If you are using TWS, make sure you provide training to your batch developers. Design a model for promoting jobs and schedules between environments. Utilize “composer” extracts and check your jobs and schedule definitions into a version control repository.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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