Stonebranch Universal Automation Center Review

Agent resiliency helps us process a lot of workload, reducing the latency between jobs


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is automating the workload for the company. It's used quite extensively. We run over 500,000 jobs a week with it.

How has it helped my organization?

The resiliency of the agents helps us to process a lot of workload through them, reducing the latency between jobs.

The solution has saved us money over other potential vendors.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reliability of the agents, because we need them accessible and we need to run stuff. The agent technology and compatibility are top-notch. The agents are wonderful. I've spoken at several of their conferences and always give them high marks. I would put the agents' resiliency at number one in the industry.

We have used the Universal Task a little bit and it seems to be fully functional. It's good.

The Stonebranch Marketplace is decent as well.

What needs improvement?

The Universal Controller is decent for the money it costs. We host it on-promise - some local virtual servers. It still doesn't have all the features and functionality of our mainframe scheduler, but hopefully it will get there. It needs some work to have full features, compared to other products that are out there, specifically IBM's Workload Scheduler.

Also, regarding the Controller, there should be a much cleaner method of looking at dependencies between workflows. 

I would also like to see, when there is a workflow that's going to kick in at a certain date, the option to pick the time for those dates.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for eleven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the agents is wonderful; the Controller, again, needs a little beef.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not experienced any limits, so it should be scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would give tech support 9.827 out of ten. There's always room for improvement.

If you previously used a different solution, which one did you use and why did you switch?

We are still also using the IBM scheduler. But we completely switched off of the IBM agents to Stonebranch agents. So Stonebranch replaced the existing legacy system as far as the agents go. That went great. It was a very affordable solution, works like a champ, so it's good.

We're still using the mainframe scheduler, but we're looking at phasing that out over this next year.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. We did a proof of concept. Stonebranch came in and we had questions. Then, of course, you can always tweak things. But we didn't have any trouble.

It took us two years to migrate all of our stuff from our old agents to our new agents. And we're working on migrating work in the Controller. We got the agents first, because Stonebranch did not have a Controller until several years ago. So when we bought the agents we needed to migrate workload from the old agents to the new and that took two years. So we were done in 2010.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use a third-party.

What was our ROI?

ROI is tricky because it's really more of an expense item than it is an investment. We all like to say "return on investment," but we are not a profit center. It all works itself out.

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

There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We price-lined options including Computer Associates, BMC, IBM's product, etc.

What other advice do I have?

If you're looking at this or a similar solution, get with a company that's done it before. We have consulted with other companies and helped out a number of them to go to this solution.

We've already done digital transformation, so Stonebranch is part of our continuous improvement. I'm not going to say it's transformational, it's just continuous improvement, using our tools to exploit them for the betterment of supporting company goals.

In terms of the solution's users, we have people who build things in order to use it. We have a core of about five people who set up workloads to use them. They perform somewhat traditional scheduling roles. For deployment and maintenance, we do it all with those five.

The agents are a ten out of ten, the Controller is a nine. The agents are top-notch, Controller has some room to grow.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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