IBM Workload Automation Review

Notifies us when a job does not complete successfully. It is complex to use.


What is most valuable?

  • Alerting on ABENDS: When a job abnormally ends (ABENDS), the solution notifies us when the job did not complete successfully. This is a nice feature for job streams that require successful completion of one job before it moves on to another. It’s still “reactionary” in nature, but allows us to run a job stream again. This occurs, in some cases, before the end users of our data services know there’s a problem.
  • When changing a cycling ID, we only have to change it once.
  • Moving jobs from Dev to Prod only takes a text file script, which is straightforward.

How has it helped my organization?

It has over complicated things.

What needs improvement?

  • It is complex to use
  • Lacks scalability
  • It is difficult to set up jobs to run
  • We need to be able to elevate privileges like Task Scheduler

With Windows Server 2012, there is a setting for User Access Control. UAC is a security feature that prompts the user, and even administrators, when running a job that requires a higher elevation because of its interaction with the Operating System.

When you’re trying to automate tasks and run them in the background, this prompt still comes up and asks if it’s OK to raise the privilege level. That hangs the job.

When running the solution, there’s no way to get around that prompt. Any job that requires that elevated privilege sits and waits for the user to answer it.

With Windows Task Scheduler, there is a check box in the Scheduled Task that says “Run with Highest Privilege”. If that’s checked, then it automatically bypasses the UAC prompt, and completes successfully.

The only other way to get around that is to lower the UAC restriction on the server, making it more vulnerable to malicious code.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution since November, 2010.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not have issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We had to write a scripted solution to be able to change jobs behind the scenes. The solution runs with a specific command fed into it. We fed it this script: “CSCRIPT /JobFamilyArg /JobSequenceArg.

We felt that this gives us the most flexibility without having to submit new paperwork when we change a job. We just change our configuration file on our end and the solution still makes the same call.

How is customer service and technical support?

Our company has our own internal support.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We used Windows Task Scheduler. We switched because the new SSIS servers were going to be managed servers.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very complex. Our environment is very large. Setting up Workload Automation on our set of servers required the following:

  • Setting up the agent
  • Setting up the notification lists
  • Filling out various forms for job stream scheduling. (It just goes on from there.)

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

This was the new corporate standard and we were not given a choice.

What other advice do I have?

Look into ALL options. Verify that you can run your application servers with UAC turned to "do not prompt when using an admin account".

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