Job scheduling software gets a facelift

ActiveBatch upgrade puts greater focus on audit compliance.

Advanced Systems Concepts has developed a new version of its ActiveBatch job scheduling software that lets enterprises limit access to data and adds audit capabilities aimed at giving enterprises greater control over process automation tasks.

ActiveBatch Job Scheduler Version 6 includes a virtual root capability that, for example, ensures employees in a company’s sales department can view only those jobs related to sales. This prevents inadvertent changes to objects, jobs and plans related to automated computer tasks, according to the vendor.

New audit compliance capabilities in Version 6 allow companies to require approval ID codes whenever a change is made, and also to record data related to every change, such as a description of the change and the name of the person who approved it.

“Some organizations want full controls, some want some controls, other people want no controls. We’ve allowed organizations to establish their own process,” says Jim Manias, vice president of marketing and sales for Advanced Systems Concepts in Parsippany, N.J.

Job scheduling, also known as batch processing, is the execution of a series of computer jobs without human interaction.

Every time a business employee tries to perform a task on a computer, there are dozens of jobs happening within the IT infrastructure that, because of job scheduling, are invisible and irrelevant to the user, says analyst Michael Dortch, director of IT infrastructure management strategies at the Robert Frances Group.

Job scheduling hands computer jobs off across multiple servers and applications so that when an employee pushes a button to call up the profile of a customer, it appears without the user having to deal with “all that juggling, cat herding and platform shuffling that goes on behind the scenes,” he says.

Major players in job scheduling software include IBM, Computer Associates, and an open source software system known as Quartz, Dortch says.

Job scheduling is becoming more important because of service-oriented architecture, according to Dortch, because a SOA pulls together many applications and makes them look like one service. “All of a sudden, you are multiplying, sometimes by orders of magnitude, the numbers of tasks and subtasks and handoffs, things computers refer to historically as jobs that need to be scheduled,” he says.

Advanced Systems Concepts is one of the first companies to position job scheduling as a strategic concern, in addition to being a technical component of the IT infrastructure, Dortch says.

In addition to virtual root and audit compliance enhancements, ActiveBatch’s Version 6 release has built-in job libraries that eliminate scripting requirements, making it easier to create automated jobs and tasks.

The company says it has about 1,200 customers, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Cypress Semiconductor, and Whataburger Restaurants.

ActiveBatch Job Scheduler Version 6, which is designed for Microsoft Windows, Unix, Linux and HP OpenVMS systems, is scheduled to be released next month. Pricing starts at $8,000.

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