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IBM Workload Automation Competitors and Alternatives

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RG
Batch Scheduling Administrator at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Feature-rich, easy to install and maintain, offers helpful videos and how-to guides

Pros and Cons

  • "The best part about this product is that it has a lot of features. Control-M doesn't limit us and we can use it for a lot of things."
  • "When it comes to supporting cloud services, Control-M is a bit slow. We are not advancing with the technology because we don't have the modules that can interact or use the new application services provided by the cloud technologies."

What is our primary use case?

We use Control-M to provide business services to our customers. The use cases involve Hadoop, a lot of file transfers, and SQL scripts. In our business, automation is used for many things and we use a lot of the Control-M modules. For example, we connect to SAP, with databases, Hadoop, MFT, Informatica, and other technologies.

What we do relates to many different business services in a retail environment.

We have hybrid deployment; over the past two years, we have had a mix of on-premises and cloud-based implementations. Ultimately, we are moving to the cloud. We are using AWS, GCP, and Azure.

How has it helped my organization?

The main benefit is that Control-M can work with almost all of the applications that are on the market right now. We work with technologies including Hadoop, Informatica, all kinds of databases, and file transfer with MFT tools. The real potential with Control-M is that it can be used for everything you want.

It is really important that our clients can manage their own application workflow with full autonomy. Our customers are using this capability a lot and it helps because we don't need to be present when they want to perform a simple task. It's better for them because they don't need to wait to ask or to have something changed. They can just do it themselves. Also, it's better for us because we have more time to do other things.

The expanded capabilities in version 2020 for planning and monitoring have had a positive effect on our clients' operations, as well as our own. It saves a lot of time when it comes to developing and implementing things. As a result of saving time, both us and our clients are saving money.

Control-M has definitely helped us to achieve faster issue resolution, although it is difficult for me to estimate how much by. We don't have metrics that are suitable for tracking this kind of thing.

What is most valuable?

The best part about this product is that it has a lot of features. Control-M doesn't limit us and we can use it for a lot of things.

Control-M is easy to install, use, and maintain. It is easier to work with than other products.

The web interface hosts a lot of videos and webinars and I really appreciate this because I find them very helpful. They have tutorials that explain how to approach the new technologies and explain how things can be done using Control-M. This is something that I use a lot.

The Application Integrator is helpful because not all applications have a module available in Control-M, and we can use this feature to create them.

What needs improvement?

When it comes to supporting cloud services, Control-M is a bit slow. We are not advancing with the technology because we don't have the modules that can interact or use the new application services provided by the cloud technologies. BMC has been telling me that they are working hard to be more aligned with these new technologies, but they are a bit slow. Consequently, we are having a few issues when it comes to implementing Control-M. Some services that are being offered, such as Databricks, have been a problem.

The documentation is something that needs to be improved. Years ago, the documentation was very good, and I don't understand why but the documentation is no longer as good as it should be. For example, if I need to install or upgrade Control-M Enterprise Manager or Control-M server, the only information that I have in the documentation are things like "Execute this and follow the instructions on the screen".  What it doesn't tell you is what will be needed for the process. For example, you may need to enter a password or select a source, but you won't know what these parameters are in advance.

Also, it is different to find what you are looking for in terms of documentation. For instance, if you visit the Control-M download page, you see several tabs. There is a tab where you can download software and another tab where you can download patches. This is perfect. However, there is another tab for the documentation but there is never anything there.

With any Control-M product, it is hard to find the documentation. The reason for this is that they are moving all of the documentation online, in an HTML format. The problem is that it is hard to download documentation in this format. In particular, if it is a specific part that you need or a certain module, then it would be much easier to have a PDF version like they used to have. Consequently, it is more difficult for us to pass the documentation to our internal teams.

For example, if we are trying to configure a module for Informatica or SAP, it's hard because we don't have PDF documentation. We need to go online but it is difficult because it is very hard to find what you are looking for.

Another area of improvement for Control-M is the version release lifecycle. Prior to 2018, we had the same, main version of Control-M for two or three years. Since 2018, they have been releasing a new version every year. There was a 2018, 2019, and 2020 version. It seems that these new versions are being released in an unfinished state because we are seeing a lot of bugs. Historically, it has been very stable, but from a point between two and three years ago, it has not been so much so. It seems that the problem is that the versions are changing too quickly.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Control-M for nine years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are some limits to scalability in terms of cloud integration. There is some integration with cloud services but it is very simple. It is called the Application Integrator Module. This is a very good feature but the problem is that if we have to interact with cloud services, we need to create all of these modules on our own. We are paying a lot of money for a product where we have to create our own modules, which is not perfect.

It is very good that we have the Application Integrator available but for services that are being used by a lot of companies, we need official support from BMC.

How are customer service and technical support?

I would rate the technical support an eight out of ten.

We have been dealing with BMC for several years and when you consider the support from a few years ago, the response that we received was more technical and more accurate regarding the problem that we were having.

As it is now, more and more we are seeing that the customer support has to rely on the product development team to resolve the issue. This is because there are a lot of bugs in the product and customer support cannot provide a solution for these. Instead, the problem has to be fixed by development, and then a patch is released to solve the problem.

For this reason, I am rating the support an eight instead of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have had cases where our clients migrated to Control-M from a competing solution. In fact, we did a migration last year from TWS, the Tivoli Workload Scheduler from IBM, to Control-M using the conversion tool. The tool was very important because it reduced a lot of work.

The problem is that the conversion was not as good as it should be. I estimate that we had to modify 90% of the jobs because the conversion was not good enough. It was still important because it would have taken a lot longer to create all of the jobs from scratch. That said, it was not perfect, at least that was our experience with migrating from TWS.

We were using TWS and another one that is called Visual TOM. It is another product that is similar to Control-M. These are both scheduling products, but Control-M has tons of features that the other ones don't have. They don't have the modules, the plug-ins, or the Automation API. They are stable and they are good, but we can't use them like you use Control-M because Control-M permits us to perform many more things. Unfortunately, with the many more things that you can do, it does introduce more opportunities for failure. However, this is true of any feature-rich solution. The more complex it is, the more prone to error it is.

How was the initial setup?

Control-M is easy to install and maintain. There are not a lot of steps required to upgrade or downgrade from one version to another. With other products that I've been using, it is difficult and complicated to upgrade because there are a lot of confusing steps. But with control-M, you need only follow the onscreen instructions.

The length of time required to deploy depends on the customer. The scope and complexity of the client's requirements dictate the amount of time it will take to complete. For example, we can deploy for a smaller customer in one week. However, for a large retail customer, it could take a month to complete.

We have one client right now, where we are upgrading from Control-M 2018 to 2019, and it is going to take us almost three months to complete. Part of the reason it takes this long is that when you try to upgrade a production environment, it's really difficult to get a window to perform the upgrade or the installation or the modification. That said, it's still easier than many other products.

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

Pricing varies depending on which components and modules you are using.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering Control-M is that I recommend it. Although it's not perfect, it is relatively easy to use and maintain.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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Harby MAranan
Workload Automation SME at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 10
It is scalable and stable, but it is expensive and needs a better dashboard

Pros and Cons

  • "The Zero Upgrade feature is the most valuable."
  • "Its dashboard can be improved. In version 12, they have already moved to a web-based interface from a UI. We are looking into this feature now. We are also looking for available APIs that we can use to interface the engine into our other systems. There should be a subservice facility that we can use to interface with Microsoft Teams and send out authorization on job executions. We have seen a feature like this in other products that we are looking into."

What is most valuable?

The Zero Upgrade feature is the most valuable. 

What needs improvement?

Its dashboard can be improved. In version 12, they have already moved to a web-based interface from a UI. We are looking into this feature now. We are also looking for available APIs that we can use to interface the engine into our other systems.

There should be a subservice facility that we can use to interface with Microsoft Teams and send out authorization on job executions. We have seen a feature like this in other products that we are looking into.

For how long have I used the solution?

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

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. We are not experiencing any major issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is scalable. Around 30 people are using it in our organization. 

How are customer service and technical support?

We previously had platinum support, and we were very happy with their technical support. After we moved away from platinum support, their technical support is just not that good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We only had MSTs previously. We shifted to Automic Workload Automation because we wanted to integrate SAP and other business requirements. 

We are now looking into other products outside Automic because of its cost. We have shortlisted BMC Control-M, Stonebranch, ActiveBatch, and IBM.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex because we have multiple endings running in every country that we manage. We also have an active-active setup and two instances running on one machine. We use it to widen our range so that we can have two engines running on the same machine. 

It is currently deployed on a private cloud and on-premises. We have around ten people to maintain this solution.

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

It costs too much. That's why we are now looking at other products.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Automic Workload Automation a six out of ten.

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