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IBM Workload Automation OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

IBM Workload Automation is the #9 ranked solution in our list of top Workload Automation tools. It is most often compared to Control-M: IBM Workload Automation vs Control-M

What is IBM Workload Automation?
IBM Workload Automation is a complete solution for batch and real-time workload management, available for distributed mainframe or hosted in the cloud. Use it to drive business and IT workloads on hosted servers, with virtually no cost of ownership for your central server. Increase your productivity with powerful plan- and event-driven scheduling, and run and monitor your workloads wherever you are. This includes interfaces dedicated to application developers and operators, providing them both autonomy and precise governance.

IBM Workload Automation is also known as IBM Tivoli Workload Scheduler, IBM TWS.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Workload Automation Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

IBM Workload Automation Customers
Standard Life Group, Banca Popolare di Milano, A*STAR, ArcelorMittal Gent
IBM Workload Automation Video

Archived IBM Workload Automation Reviews (more than two years old)

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ITCS user
Enterprise Automation Engineer with 5,001-10,000 employees
Real User
Provides a robust, full spectrum enterprise-wide WLA platform

Pros and Cons

  • "Provides a robust, full spectrum enterprise-wide WLA platform."
  • "The DWC, when configured correctly, is a great GUI tool to provide Self-Service Scheduling capabilities to the user community."
  • "I have supported this product in literally 100s of different environments and its unmatched in its ability to scale to any size."
  • "Slow down on the releases a bit. I fully understand that IWA functionality is increasing at an amazing rate, but trying to keep up with the upgrades is rough."

What is our primary use case?

Product administration with minimal scheduling usage these days. Installing, configuring, and administering distributed agents and integration with multiple services and applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Provides a robust, full spectrum enterprise-wide WLA platform. I have practical experience with all of the major "Enterprise" WLA products (Control-M, CA-7, and Zeke). None of them have the functionality and ease of use of TWS.

What is most valuable?

The DWC, when configured correctly, is a great GUI tool to provide Self-Service Scheduling capabilities to the user community. The variety of agents available allows for an extremely flexible Enterprise WLA solution. The WAPL (formerly SOE) functionality is one of the major things that sets IWA apart from the other platforms. With its use, you can automate tasks that other platforms can only dream about.

What needs improvement?

This may not be the norm, but slow down on the releases a bit. I fully understand that IWA functionality is increasing at an amazing rate, but trying to keep up with the upgrades is rough. Figure out a way to speed up the DWC response a little.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None! It's indestructible, and if configured correctly, and easily recovered in a disaster scenario.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None! I have supported this product in literally 100s of different environments and its unmatched in its ability to scale to any size.

How are customer service and technical support?

Let us be honest: It is IBM. They may not have invented arrogant, but they perfected it. 

If you make it clear that you know what you are doing and you get support involved, it is as good as it gets. I have been given direct cell phone contacts to Product Development in Rome (when it was still there). They cared enough to help at that level.

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

I am currently supporting both IWA and CA-7 while my company decides on which direction to go forward.

How was the initial setup?

With any experience whatsoever, IWA is as simple to install and configure. You basically fill in some blanks and run the setup jobs. They create all of the STC, panels and skeletons that you require.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

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

If you are running an IBM Mainframe, why would you want any other product as your z/OS based WLA "hub" ? 

To my knowledge, IWA is the only WLA product that will provide "parallel tracking" capability to assist in upgrading from one platform to IWA.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Not applicable. I have used IWA, CA-7, Control-M, and Zeke in the past.

What other advice do I have?

Having used all of the major WLA platforms, I believe:

  1. IWA is the most user-friendly and feature-packed product on the market today. 
  2. Control-M is a close second (even though there are rumors that BMC is shopping it around). 
  3. As for CA, at this point it's hard to tell what CA's Strategic Vision is going forward. They have ESP, Dseries, and now Automic, yet they are keeping the old dinosaur CA-7 alive because they can't figure out how to get all of the old legacy clients off it without major heartburn.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
ITCS user
System Administrator, Data Center Operations Lead at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Event notification allows for prompt and immediate notification in relation to any errors occurring in the system.

What is most valuable?

The event notification feature is beneficial since it allows for prompt and immediate notification in relation to any errors occurring in the system.

How has it helped my organization?

The IBM scheduler allows for easy and seamless execution of the automated tasks in order to ensure data processing.

What needs improvement?

The integration and monitoring within the extended agents such as SAP, PeopleSoft mainframe etc needs to be improved.

Extended agents such as SAP, PeopleSoft, CA-7, etc do not have the ability to trace child jobs or dependencies within the extended tools. The ability to do so would be a great added-feature in the next iteration of the application.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for five years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

8.5.1 is not stable, we've since moved to 8.6 but the front-end GUI was very slow. We've since migrated to a 8.6 back-end with a 9.1 front-end.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system is remarkably stable on Unix/Linux/extended agents. There were some connection/configuration issues on the Windows machines.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

IBM TDWC makes scalability and functionality easy and fast.

One drawback would be the mail server IDs are maxed out at 6-7 servers per ID (IDs are classified as per the alpha-numeric characters A-Z and 0-9).

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

IBM customer service is great. Dedicated account managers make support and technical assistance very easy.

Technical Support:

The PRBs with IBM make support and troubleshooting easy and efficient.

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

We have not used any other solution. Although, we've upgraded 3 times.

How was the initial setup?

The application comes packaged from IBM. Once your Oracle db (or DB2 db) and network connections are configured, you are essentially set and running.

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

Research your needs versus the cost and scalability of the product.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at other solutions namely Skybot by HelpSystems, Tidal by Cisco, CA-7 from Computer Associates and Control-M by BMC.

What other advice do I have?

Research your needs versus the cost and scalability of the product

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Find out what your peers are saying about IBM, BMC, Broadcom and others in Workload Automation. Updated: October 2021.
542,029 professionals have used our research since 2012.
it_user545040
OPTUM Tivoli/TWS Technical Lead at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
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

How are customer service and technical support?

Our company has our own internal support.

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

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.
it_user453144
Tivoli Workload Scheduler Solution Architect at a non-tech company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Dynamic scheduling helped us schedule jobs on servers with restricted access. It doesn’t have in-built monitors to capture and report READY/INTRO state jobs.

What is most valuable?

Dynamic scheduling: This is one feature which helped us achieve some important business objectives without the need to install TWS on a server. Some of the servers in our organization have restricted access and dynamic scheduling helped us schedule jobs on these servers without the need to install TWS.

What needs improvement?

  • Monitoring
  • Reporting

TWS doesn’t have in-built monitors to capture and report READY/INTRO state jobs. In our environment, we use TWS to schedule jobs in SAP and without an in-built monitor to capture these, we use custom-built scripts to report jobs stuck in READY/INTRO state.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the product for seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were real stability issues. The WebSphere process gets hung on TWS masters running TWS 9.1. WebSphere is used heavily in our environment and a restart of WAS is really required at least once in a month.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support was not always the best. You need a little bit of patience until the PMR is routed to the right layer of support.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup using the GUI was straightforward. However installing/upgrading a TWS master using the silent approach is a little bit tricky, as the details and the steps have to be collected from many other documents. There was no single document to help us to install the TWS, WAS, and IBM Installation Manager using the silent approach.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend other users to definitely consider TWS, as it has proven to be a powerful tool in our environment so far.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user145518
Consultant at a tech consulting company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The new servers automatically get monitored with the alerts going to the server administrator or application developers.

What is most valuable?

The API is a valuable feature as it allowed us to integrate the inventory, change and ticketing systems to fully automate most of the monitoring processes for new devices, decommissioned devices and during approved changes.

How has it helped my organization?

The new servers automatically get monitored with the alerts going to the server administrator or application developers, without the need for someone to submit a request.

The alerts automatically go to a command center, when a server is classified as production in the inventory system. The alerts get automatically suppressed during an approved change.

What needs improvement?

A lot of the automation that we added to the product should come built into it, so that every customer doesn't have to reinvent the wheel. This will eliminate the need for us to modify our code, in order to make it compatible with each future release.

Below are examples of automation that we developed which should be built into the product:

  • Integration with the inventory system, so that alerts go to the proper teams. For example, alerts for servers classified as development would go to the apps support team or alerts for servers classified as production would go to the monitoring center. Also, alerts would stop when a server is marked as decommissioned.

  • Integration with the change management system so that alerts would be suppressed during the change window for approved changes. Thus, alerts would begin for approved changes adding new servers.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were some stability issues but we lit a fire under IBM's feet and they corrected them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues; we managed to deploy over 85,000 server with no issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The level of technical support is top notch. If the support team can't fix an issue, they don't hesitate to engage the product development team.

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

Initially, we were using a home-grown product that didn't scale as well and had no ability for cross-product automation.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very complex and required on-site support, mostly due to the cross-product automation that we implemented.

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

Talk to your IBM sales representative to see what they can offer you.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

Talk to other customers using this product, who are similar in size and configuration, so as to get feedback, ideas and what to watch out for.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user550128
Consultant at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The simplicity of the GUI is the most valuable feature for us.

What is most valuable?

The simplicity of the GUI is the most valuable feature for us.

How has it helped my organization?

My organization has automated a lot of tasks that were previously being done manually like processing of cheques from multiple banks. This was a three step process wherein a dedicated man resource used to scan the cheques individually, another person then updated a record in the database followed by sending out an email.

All these steps required a lot of time and money and any absence of human resources would result in severe lapses. With the help of Tivoli, all the three tasks were automated into a single jobstream that runs throughout the year without any manual intervention, even taking off days and holidays.

What needs improvement?

Out of the box reporting and provision for customization/integration with other products are the areas where this product can be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have not encountered any significant stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have not encountered any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support teams at IBM that work with Tivoli Workload Scheduler cases are comprised of people who have tremendous command on troubleshooting issues as well as people who are not that technically capable. So the experience can be good and bad depending on the engineer that you end up coordinating with. I would say overall, the support for this product is above average.

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

I have been consistently using Tivoli Workload Scheduler as a one stop solution for my various client's job scheduling and automation needs, so I am not aware of any previous solutions.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not very easy as IBM has multiple components integrated with the core product which are mandatory to setup and can be a bit tricky.

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

This would be one the expensive lines of product in IBM's portfolio, so initial costs can run high if someone is buying it for the first time. The licensing is IBM proprietary, and clients are not charged on the basis of underlying hardware configuration that hosts the installed application - CPU cores and manufacturer to be exact - which goes up as you add on to your processing capabilities.

Over a period, once you are a client, you may get better pricing quotes from your sales representative. Also, there are workload based flexible pricing options available for smaller setups which can always be considered and negotiated accordingly.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The alternatives in this category of products are not many. BMC Control-M and CA Autosys and another job scheduler from Tidal are the major ones. I have evaluated BMC and CA, both are equally capable and perform wonderfully well, the one advantage IBM has over its counterparts is its capabilities with mainframe scheduling for a very long time. Most old companies have had mainframes for 2-3 decades now and IBM integrates seamlessly across their legacy mainframe as well as the newer distributed setups.

What other advice do I have?

It's a very good scheduling product if you have a combination of mainframe and distributed environments that have batch operations and repetitive tasks running on them. The SAP plugin is outstanding and SAP process chains run a like a dream when scheduled using Tivoli.

If you have an environment like the one I've just mentioned, this would unarguably be your best bet. The initial costs are steep but it pays off in the longer run as the product itself is very stable if configured correctly.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user377730
Senior Analyst at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
The FTA agents resolve local dependencies on the workstation.

What is most valuable?

The FTA agents feature is most beneficial, as it easily resolves local dependencies on the workstation, even when there is a network disconnect between the MDM and FTA.

How has it helped my organization?

I belong to a part of the delivery module in our organization. We implement TWS in the customer’s environment. It has definitely improved many different processes in our organization.

What needs improvement?

There is need to add any type of utility which can convert workload definitions of other syntax to the TWS syntax, during workload migration and conversions. Currently, there is no utility as such with TWS.

For example, there could be one scenario, where the customer wants to switch from the existing scheduling tool to TWS. Every tool has its very own syntax for defining workload definitions.

During migration project activities, it gets very difficult for converting the existing workload syntax to TWS syntax. We need to create our own scripts or different methods, that helps us in achieving this task.

If I remember correctly, the BMC Control-M tool does have such utility of converting any workload definition syntax to Control-M based workload definition syntax, i.e., upto a certain extent. Hence, this is one area where TWS can be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for more than a year now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not had any stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

I’ve not had such a good experience with the technical support. At times, I have seen long delays in getting answers/responses.

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

I started out with implementing the TWS solution only.

How was the initial setup?

Initially, it was complex; during implementation, I faced many challenges.

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

For licensing, you should proceed with the monthly job executions. Earlier, it also used to have the PVU (Processor Value Unit) license model as well. I am not sure, if this is still there.

Get clarity from IBM and accordingly proceed, depending upon the requirement.

What other advice do I have?

TWS is very much stable on the Linux platform but this doesn’t mean that it can’t go well with Windows. Looking at the OS maintenance and other patching activities, it is better to go with Linux.

Scalability is not an issue with TWS. Make sure you have all the pre-requisites met before implementing it. It will work all fine.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
ITCS user
Project Manager at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Integration with different applications like Oracle, SAP, Hadoop, and JMS.

What is most valuable?

  • Seamless integration with different applications like Oracle, SAP, Hadoop, JMS etc.
  • Web console with single sign on feature.
  • TWS as a tool has features that integrate with different applications and backend technologies, as mentioned, to run the jobs more native to the platform. Say, for example, if I would like to trigger a SAP job from TWS scheduler, I can specify most of the parameters from the TWS forms. As an enterprise scheduler, I have more control over most of the enterprise applications to which it is connected to.

How has it helped my organization?

Improved migration/upgrade features helped us to reduce the time of upgrade.

What needs improvement?

TWS is evolving from V 8.3 to V9.3 on the features and no major changes on the architecture. The user experience side of the console is being improved in all these versions, however, the console is not very fast as expected.

It would be good if the TWS consoles and front end reporting explores different users like business, technology and application teams and seamless and faster experience like mobile apps.

If these supported applications would be provided without additional licenses, it would be good.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes - UNIX installation, we encountered issues due to not having sudo root access.

In some windows installations, we faced issues with a gap in the path name, ex: "C:\Program Files\IBM".


What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No.

How are customer service and technical support?

3 out of 5 - in cases of high severity production issues, the SLA for PMRs (Problem Management Records) is 2 hours. However, from a business standpoint, I would not be happy to have my business down for 2-3 hours.

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

No

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup for TWS 9.2, I find it complex, since there are number of components needed to be installed with no clear understanding of why those components are used and what is a pre-req for what.

However, I did find the installation for TWS 8.6 to be pretty straightforward.

What about the implementation team?

In-house.

What was our ROI?

Seems very low and rate of realization is too slow for simple networks. However, good for high investment and complex scenarios.


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

There is a general perception that pricing and license costs are too high with the conventional model, like per CPU based prices.

However, IBM is trying to use the per job pricing in the cloud model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No

What other advice do I have?

Yes, IBM has to review the non-cloud low pricing models and invest in architecture based revolutions.


Additional integration to IBM Watson for analytics would be more helpful.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user499683
Sr. Tivoli WLA admin at a logistics company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
With ERP (SAP) connectivity, we were able to fully integrate SAP workloads with non-SAP workloads.

What is most valuable?

Workload automation (WLA) these days is no static business. It’s all about running the right workload sequence, at the right time, often triggered by a variety of possible (combination of) events. For instance, we use this principle for running a daily Oracle backup workload batch, which (per backup) involves different systems that in real time have to exchange certain real-time information to be able to successfully end and register the backup in RMAN. Therefore, we use complex event rules that monitor events during the backup process, take care of passing the desired info from one system to the other, and dynamically submit certain jobs that cannot not be defined in advance.

ERP (SAP) connectivity: Thanks to this technology, we were able to fully integrate SAP OS, ABAP and BI (proceschain) workloads with non-SAP workloads, so that a complete business process involving SAP and non-SAP systems could be modelled within one TWS batch. Example: a non-SAP MFT job delivering data @ SAP-PI; in-time PI channel trigger modifies the data for next job; SAP ABAP job works the data into the system involved.

Conditional Branching: WLA often is about critical paths that determine if a batch will be able to end just in time. For instance, C.B. makes it possible to dynamically decide if parts of a predefined batch can or should run in sequence or parallel, depending on the outcome of a certain measured condition, therefore able to meet end-time requirements, even when parts of the batch encounter delay.

HA-DR implementation: No system engineers are required to realize value from these resources @ the application level. TWS makes it possible to use resources, provided at the Application Management level, to meet business requirements for high availability and disaster recovery (HA-DR). We use these resources a lot, not only in case of disaster (e.g., scheduling plan breakdown on master manager; switch to backup-master manager management), but also when TWS management systems in one DC need technical maintenance. In that scenario, we simply switch all our TWS management activities to backup counterparts in another DC, that silently have received up-to-date data from message broadcasts within the TWS network.

How has it helped my organization?

The tool made it possible to automate the technical workflow within complex business process models, within a heterogeneous network hierarchy, consisting of fault-tolerant distributed agents, managed by (master-)management agents.

The tool made it possible to fully automate actual job-workflows that represent complex end-to-end business process models (BPM’s). Those workflows run on systems that reside in a distributed, heterogeneous, logical agent-network (fault-tolerant, ‘extended’, SAP R/3, SAP BI and even cloud/dynamic (e.g. Salesforce, Microsoft SQL) brooker agents).

This agent-network itself is managed by (master-)management fault-tolerant agents that periodically provide all the agents in the network with a static (predefined) scheduling plan for a certain future period of time, and also house a so called event-processor, that is able to have the master-management agent submit just-in-time defined workload into the actual running BPM, as a result from detected events within the network.

What needs improvement?

Today, TWS (TWA) has evolved into version 9.x and the product is now also available as a cloud-provided service (the management parts, from IBM SmartCloud).

I think that is a good and modern development, but the first v9.x releases (and maybe also the latest, I don’t know) lacked the event-driver WLA functionality that was already available for years in older on-prem versions of the product.

That doesn’t help IBM have customers migrate from older on-prem versions to these modern cloud-provided versions, when they would like to migrate.

IBM should have its cloud service deliver at least the same functionalities as their on-premise service has been delivering for years.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used it for more than 10 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

No, but it it has been a joint effort with IBM Tivoli L3 support, PostNL IT RHEL and Windows administrators and a dedicated WLA coördinator / TWS administartor.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not encountered any stability issues at all. No other IT infrastructure @ our company has proven to be as stable as our TWS v8.5.1/8.6 network and all its components.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not encountered any scalability issues at all.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Very high. Excellent support, dedicated to their customer

Technical Support:

I receive very good support from a real product specialist.

Over the past 10 years, I frequently contacted IBM to have a ‘PMR’ registered concerning bugs, problems during admin operations, advice on best-practice batch modelling and in one case, for detailed help during a complex scheduling-plan recovery procedure that did not lead to the desired result. I encountered my own knowledge limitations, but was not given the time to acquire that extra knowledge first.

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

We did not previously use a different solution. We started implementing a WLA infrastructure in 1996 and bought the Maestro 7 product from Unison. That product evolved into TWS 8.2 / 8.3 / 8.5.1 / 8.6.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was complex; it involved automating huge complex business process models for (nowadays legacy) order, contract and invoice management applications, although limited to mainly workloads for the HP-UX operation system. Later on, the models became less complex, but the agent landscape became more heterogeneous (Solaris, RedHat Linux, SUSE Linux, HP-UX, Win 2003, Win 2008, SAP R/3, SAP BI).

What about the implementation team?

Implementation has been a joint effort with IBM Tivoli L3 support, PostNL IT RHEL and Windows administrators and a dedicated WLA coördinator / TWS administartor

What was our ROI?

No idea how to calculate the ROI in Euro's or Dollar's, but for sure it was worth the investment.

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

Make your TWS infrastructure auditable by IBM (or to its partners) to be able to benefit from sub-capacity PVU licencing when your networks use a considerably amount of virtualization technology, but above all, when possible, move to cloud-provided TWS management services, to benefit from more modern ‘pay-per-use’ licensing models.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We considered starting with Redwood Cronacle for WLA on SAP, but decided to stay with TWS because of the better integration between SAP and non-SAP workloads, and the minimal amount of effort we had to put into education.

What other advice do I have?

Just contact IBM sales and make the first implementation of the product at your site a joint effort between IBM Tivoli L2 personnel from Rome and your WLA administrators.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user536097
Senior TWS Administrator & production support engineer at a maritime company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
Fault Tolerant Agents can run jobs without a network connection. POF is only one time a day.

What is most valuable?

With FTA (Fault Tolerant Agent) on remote servers, you have Agents to run jobs. An FTA does not need a network connection to do the job, except when the master sends the daily production plan to the FTA. This feature is very nice because POF is only one time a day. So FTA removing POF from the final schedule is very valuable.

What needs improvement?

Have a more simple GUI for end-users. This is simply because I am used to using the command line. The GUI is not easy for non-technical users.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used the solution for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We had stability issues when managed by not enough skilled people.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There were no scalability issues using DM.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support was excellent.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup was simple.

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

It is expensive.

What other advice do I have?

Spend time to define a robust architecture, and day-to-day operations with a specialist.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user426939
AVP, DevOps Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
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 are 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 solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.
it_user488745
Production Control Specialist at a local government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
The Long-Term Plan feature identifies what will be running during closures. It's dependable.

Valuable Features

Automation capabilities with dependencies, long-term plan and modifying current plan, and ease of use are the product's most valuable features to me.

Improvements to My Organization

When there is a holiday or emergency closing, we query the Long-Term Plan to identify what will or will not be running during the closure. Application owners review and sign off of the plan, making everyone aware of the scheduled jobs for that time frame.

Room for Improvement

We are using an outdated version. We had issues with the file dependencies. We are uncertain if it was due to application setup or the product itself.

Use of Solution

I have used this solution for 6.5 years.

Stability Issues

This has been a dependable product for us.

Scalability Issues

We did not encounter any scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We have not utilized technical support in six years.

Other Advice

As with any new application/utility, make sure you have good training; if possible, request a trial version to become familiar with product; and ensure it meets your needs.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user497079
Operation Lead and Tivoli Workload scheduler consultant at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Includes support for other applications via connector, such as Oracle, SAP and data warehousing software.

What is most valuable?

  • Event-based scheduling
  • Support for other applications via connector, such as Oracle, SAP and data warehousing software

If you want to run any Oracle, SAP or data warehousing job, you don't need to install a TWS client on the target server. You just have to install a connector on one of your TWS systems and provide the required parameters such as system credentials in an encrypted format.

How has it helped my organization?

It supports almost all of the different groups in the organisation for automating their tasks, such as finance and accounting, transport department, procurement department and several others as well.

What needs improvement?

Whenever we find any bug/vulnerability, we immediately inform IBM and they provide us a fix, so I can say it is being continuously improved.

A few things are missing but I can manage without them, such as a cross-reference report. For example, if you want to find particular job script, it is very difficult to do so from the TWS command line or from the TDWC (Tivoli Dynamic Workload Scheduler) tool. On the other hand, there is a Germany-based company Horizont, which has a very nice tool, TWS/WebAdmin, which provides such a facility.

The second thing is that there is no built-in facility to run SFTP/FTP file transfer jobs. You have to create your own SFTP/FTP scripts to run these types of jobs.

An internal change management tool is also not available in IBM TWS, but other scheduling software do offer one.

These are a few flaws in TWS, but operation-wise and handling-wise, it is a superb tool as compared to other batch job scheduling tools.

One thing is true: You will not get all of the facilities in one tool, so I recommend you go with TWS for smooth automation delivery.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for the last seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We never encountered any stability issues. If your TWS administrator is very good with TWS, then he/she should always keep your TWS landscape stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We never encountered any issues with scalability.

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

We used BMC Control-M first, but later we changed to TWS due to its efficiency, accuracy and scalability.

How was the initial setup?

If you have strong knowledge in TWS, then initial setup is just like bread and butter for you.

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

I heard it is very expensive compared to other job scheduling tools.

What other advice do I have?

Go ahead and use the TWS solution. It is really a very good product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user502185
Architect (Tech Lead BSM Infra Business Service Management-L4.2) at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
Consultant
Its Dynamic Workload Console prevents additional code installs for the JSC.

Valuable Features

The introduction of the TDWC (Tivoli Dynamic Workload Console) was nice to have, preventing additional code installs for the JSC.

Improvements to My Organization

It gives end users the ability to monitor their jobs/workflows in real time, which helps with MTR when they experience issues.

Room for Improvement

When deleting jobs from the database that have interdependencies within other job streams, there is no warning about those dependencies, which could cause other job streams to have issues later on.

Use of Solution

We starting using it back when it was named Maestro 5.X.

Stability Issues

I did not encounter any stability issues. It’s been a very stable and reliable product.

Scalability Issues

We have not had any scalability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I rate technical support 9.5/10. I have not opened any cases over the past 1.5 years. They have always been very supportive and helpful in the past.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was fairly straightforward. However, configuring and setting up the TDWC was somewhat of a challenge; we had to consult with Level 3 support several times to get things working properly.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Consult with a third-party vendor to assist with price discounts.

Other Solutions Considered

I did not evaluate other products before choosing this one. However, they are asking us to look at other solutions, due to cost for licensing the TWS product.

Other Advice

I would have to recommend installing the TWS Master/Backup Masters on a Linux platform, not Windows.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user498408
System Engineer, Infrastructure at a media company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It has two CLIs to help manage items in the active plan & database. This is useful for custom scripts automating certain tasks.

Valuable Features

TWS has two command line interfaces to help manage items in the active plan and database. This allows you to create custom scripts to make mass updates to job definitions in the plan\database. You can even schedule these custom scripts to make the updates at a later time (e.g., holding a set of jobs prior to a planned outage and releasing after). It also has an event processor that lets you define custom rules based on certain events (e.g., when a job fails, when a job hasn’t finished within a certain time or within 30 minutes of its predecessor, when a file is available, when a job is stuck, etc.).

Improvements to My Organization

Aside from basic scheduling features and Windows/Unix job types, this product gives us a lot of options to integrate with other systems:

  • Custom plug-ins (SAP, DataStage, PeopleSoft, Cognos)
  • Database & integration job types (Oracle, MS SQL, Web Services, J2EE)
  • File transfer and remote command job types

It is a great way to centralize your enterprise workload to provide better visibility to support groups and better cohesion between applications. Mobile app features are also available to empower users to monitor\manage their workload on the go.

Room for Improvement

The web UI is a bit cumbersome in terms of navigation, although it seems some improvements were made on the most recent release, v9.3. Also, scheduling is driven based off of a Symphony file, which is a flat file that outlines scheduled work for the day and its progress. This file is prone to corruption during networking/hardware issues. TWS also has a daily refresh process that refreshes the Symphony file each day. Any permanent changes to the TWS network are dependent on this process.

Time zone management can also use some improvements. We have to schedule creatively to account for the hard-coded plan start/end times with other time zones. Ideally, it would be a seamless effort.

Use of Solution

I have used it for four years.

Stability Issues

None; overall the product is very stable, but can give you odd results if the environment is unstable (hardware\network issues). Once the environment issues are resolved and job scheduling has resumed, you might still experience strange behavior with dependency resolution and cyclic job functionality, which typically clears up with the next daily refresh.

Scalability Issues

None; we’ve had no issues with scalability other than time zone management, which requires some creative scheduling scenarios to account for the hard-coded plan start/end time and time differences between master server and remote agents.

Customer Service and Technical Support

7/10; technical support is virtually impossible to get via direct phone call. You have to rely on trouble tickets and wait for a return phone call, which can take several hours depending on what time of day you are calling. You will need to keep constant follow-up on your ticket, as well, because it can slip through the cracks and go unnoticed for days. However, once engaged, especially on a conference call, the team is knowledgeable, courteous and very helpful.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was somewhat complex, although it might be because we installed on Linux. Windows might have been a bit easier using the installation wizards.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It can get costly, as expected; IBM uses a Processor Value Unit (PVU) licensing model, which can be cumbersome to maintain.

Other Solutions Considered

I’ve used BMC Control-M in the past, at another company.

Other Advice

This product is a great product overall, but can behave strangely if any environmental issues occur (hardware/network). A lot of the issues we face, however, are supposed to be resolved with the later version. I’ve seen some demos of the latest release and it seems like large improvements have been made in terms of functionality and user experience.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user496044
Head of Batch Scheduling, Senior Vice President at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
It enables consolidation of disparate workloads in a single database, removing the need for engineered interfaces between platforms. Service-level management is a challenge using its native facilities

What is most valuable?

  • Support for multiplatform workload automation in a single solution
  • Versatility of plan-based and event-triggered scheduling in a single solution

How has it helped my organization?

Our firm supports batch processing across many platforms from mainframe to iSeries and open systems. TWS enables consolidation of disparate workloads in a single database, removing the need for engineered interfaces between platforms and enabling simpler job to job dependencies and end to end management and monitoring of workloads.

What needs improvement?

Service-level management is a challenge using native TWS facilities. TWS lacks sophisticated predictive analytics capability. The limited analytics it does offer is predicated on user-defined variables such as job run duration estimates, which if miscalculated render outputs unreliable.

Another area of improvement is in job schedule design lifecycle management. TWS lacks robust automation for promoting job schedules up through testing cycles on to production deployment, requiring substantial manual operator intervention to prep schedules for deployment from one environment to another.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for over two decades.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability of TWS is relatively good. Notably, most issues I’ve experienced personally have stemmed from distributed schedules, i.e., z-centric.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability also is relatively good. Our firm also supports TWS/d schedules, which by comparison are significantly less scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

IBM’s technical support is good. We have a good relationship with their L3 Lab in Rome, and there’s frequent engagement through user group events throughout the United States, for example, ASAP. Unfortunately, ASAP does not operate outside the US.

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

We’ve supported numerous solutions at our firm, such as CA7, Control-M, Zeke. We chose to standardize on TWS for a number of reasons, including the fact that TWS hosted the majority of our workloads relative to other solutions, we possessed ample resources who specialized in TWS over others, and TWS best met the needs of our business.

How was the initial setup?

Setup can be quite complex, especially when on-boarding workload that’s migrating from another solution. In those cases, extensive testing is required to ensure that all logical dependencies are properly defined, particularly where the legacy solution’s constructs do not have a like-for-like construct in TWS. JCLs and scripts also very likely require modification to meet TWS syntax requirements.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Compared with the other primary workload automation solution we use at our firm, CA’s Autosys, which is a purely event-triggered scheduler, the limitation with a purely event triggered scheduler is you must have round-the-clock expert analysts to support 24x7 operations For example, if a new deployment must be installed on a weekend at an odd hour, someone must be available at that specific time to support the activity, load JIL files to the database, etc. There are ways around this limitation, but it requires additional engineering or add-on products, which can be costly. Autosys does feature some advantages over TWS in other areas, which is why it remains a staple solution at our firm.

However, to continue the point, with a plan-based scheduler such as TWS, the scheduler is composed of two unique elements, a Long Term Plan (LTP) and a Current Plan (CP). The LTP is essentially a long-range forecast of future schedules, and the CP contains the present day’s schedule. That configuration enables schedule changes to be staged well in advance and stored in the LTP where they take effect in the CP for the specified implementation date, while the CPs leading up to the change remain unaffected. In a large organization like the one I work at, where we employ a full-scale global command center to support BAU operations, TWS allows us to scale back on expert scheduling resources and have them work a traditional 9-to-5 work day because virtually all deployments can be supported during normal business hours. And our command center employees, who are generally paid less than expert schedulers, look after day-to-day, 24x7 operations.

What other advice do I have?

All workload automation solutions deliver on the basic idea of automating your batch processing. The right choice depends on your unique business requirements, such as the size of operations, mix and complexity of workloads, etc.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user496038
Operations Technician at a tech vendor with 201-500 employees
MSP
Real-time database updating is less time consuming. The layout almost functions like an Excel sheet.

Valuable Features

Real-time database updating: With other schedulers, you have to upload and download changes. Updating in real-time is less time consuming. You do not have to turn the job on; you can simply leave it off the schedule if it is not needed until a certain date, and you can give it a first-run date. In Control-M, there are a lot of extra steps (uploading or downloading to the database). You have to repeat those steps for turning the job off or on.

I like the layout of Tivoli, it almost functions like an Excel sheet. I like the "tree" to the side and also you can set up different views. If I only have to monitor certain applications, it makes that easier. I also like the filters and views within the scheduling console.

Setting an alternate plan is a good tool when you would like to go to a previous day to see how long a job took to process. I use that a lot.

I wish I had more training. I'm kind of on my own, we are one person per shift right now. I have the user guides that came with the product and wish I had more time to read through. Right now, I use them if I have issues. Because I "get it" when it comes to scheduling (I've been doing it since 1999), I didn't need too much training to pick it up.

Right-clicking options such as reruns and also dependencies come in handy. (I do wish it had the "why" option as I mention below.) But it isn't difficult to find why a job is not running.

Room for Improvement

Maybe a better way to see what a job is waiting on. (Control-M has a "why" function that would be good here). With Tivoli, you have to investigate for what the job is waiting for, i.e., files, prompts, predecessors.

Use of Solution

I have been using it for 1.5 years.

Stability Issues

I have not encountered any stability issues.

Scalability Issues

I have not encountered any stability issues.

Customer Service and Technical Support

I have not used technical support.

Other Advice

It is very good scheduling software.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user496458
Tivoli Workload Scheduler (TWS) Admin Leader at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Even more automation is possible using the CLI than by using the standard features.

Valuable Features

  • Valuable Features:
  • Time zones: As we are a global company, scheduling jobs in different time zone is mandatory (especially due to DST changes).
  • Web interface: Easy access for end users.- CLI: Even more automation is possible than by using the standard features.
  • User/group-based roles for access segregation
  • AD integration: To use the same user repository

Improvements to My Organization

This product has increased the level of automation with no / minimum downtime and predictable scheduling.

Room for Improvement

The web interface (TDWC) is a bit slow.

Use of Solution

I personally got in touch with it in 2003 (as soon as I was employed).

Stability Issues

There were some stability issues with older versions we used. There have not been any on the current one (8.6.02) since we started using it, for ~3+ years.

Scalability Issues

We encountered scalability issues. There are some parameters that need to be tuned once you reach a certain level, and it is not clearly stated / explained in the product documentation.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is 4/10.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was a bit complex, as we did it without any consultant and the coding is not perfect or the same for different platforms (i.e. Windows, different Linux flavors, Solaris, AIX, etc.).

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It is expensive, but reliable (in short, you GET what you pay for).

Other Advice

If cost is not an issue, I definitely recommend it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
it_user489873
Graduate Research Assistant at a university with 10,001+ employees
Vendor
Job monitoring and scheduling​ using the front end was easy.

Valuable Features

The TWS GUI was an excellent feature. Job monitoring and scheduling using the front end was extremely easy.

Improvements to My Organization

Job scheduling is an integral part of deploying data warehousing jobs. I was a part of the developer team and while coordinating with the support team who did the actual job scheduling, it was easy for them to coordinate with us on what job to release first, what to cancel, what to release dependencies, etc.

Room for Improvement

If there was a way to monitor SLA breaches from within TWS, it would have been great. The only way to monitor job failures on TWS was to check the GUI for any failed streams. This said, there are ticketing systems associated with batch and real-time jobs that triggered an alert whenever something failed and that works well with TWS.

The one scenario that I encountered (and found a solution to by implementing a script from outside of TWS) was when a critical job does not start running even after the scheduled time, say due to an unexpected outage on one of the dependencies listed on TWS, there was no way to alert the owners of the application. And no ticketing system would alert anyone because technically, there is no failure. Or there was no way to trigger an alert from within TWS for a long running job, that is running way past it’s ETA.

Use of Solution

I used the solution for two years.

Deployment Issues

None that I encountered during my two-year tenure at Chase.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Deployments and issues with the TWS server were handled by a different team. Other than periodic maintenance outages, there was no other major downtime that I encountered.

Initial Setup

Individual access setup was relatively easy. But I think I would attribute this to the setup teams, to the on-boarding team at Chase. We had a specialized request procedure and an access team handled the request.

Other Solutions Considered

Things shifted after I joined. They evaluated Control-M and decided to pursue Control-M and discontinue use of TWS. Control-M had a far superior user interface and also had a notification system which TWS lacked.

Other Advice

There are multiple factors that would influence my preference to this product. In purely ease of use, functionality etc, I would rate it 8/10. I am not considering the cost of license etc.

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