Customer Story

Automate Schedule Brings Real-Time Operations Reactivity to Energy Solutions

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Energy Solutions is a business on a mission. Based out of Oakland, CA, this innovative consulting firm uses online  education and incentive programs to evangelize energy efficiency  for the state of California.

“We work with utilities to develop incentive programs for the deployment of energy efficient equipment such as lighting, HVAC systems, or appliances,” explains Peter Borocz, Senior Software Engineer in the Infrastructure and Operations team. “We host these incentive programs on our websites to help distributors and contractors determine which equipment is eligible for rebates and to process their incentive applications.”

In addition to managing multiple websites with incentive programs, Energy Solutions also provides public portals with energy-use reporting for the CA utilities commission. They accomplish all this with less than ten servers, two transaction processing systems, and Automate Schedule, enterprise job scheduling and workload automation software.

“Automate Schedule is a critical piece because transactions with our utilities are done essentially on a real-time basis,” says Peter, “We have a tremendous amount of file transfers. We update data from one machine to the other, and we pre-calculate reports every night. We use Automate Schedule to control all of it.”

“We have a tremendous amount of file transfers. We update data from one machine to the other, and we pre-calculate reports every night. We use Automate Schedule to control all of it.”

Before Automate Schedule, Energy Solutions ran three or four independent schedulers, with often messy, complicated results. Explains Peter, “a lot of our cron jobs had a dozen sub-tasks with ugly PERL or nasty shell scripts.”

They replaced the “ugly scripts” with event monitors and reactivity. “The time it takes to set up jobs has gone down radically because developers don’t have to write extra code. Now we manage these jobs in a real and successful way.”

Peter’s team appreciates Automate Schedule's centralized job history, which provides job status information across their entire environment. “I don’t know how to quantify the lack of headache, but there is certainly a time savings in not having to check each execution agent to figure out what did and did not run. The ability to centralize that in one place has been really, really valuable.”

Peter’s team also used to rely on a time-based schedule that never quite worked, even with jobs that ran every five minutes. When new files needed processing, waiting five minutes was too long; when there weren’t new files, the job ran unnecessarily. “With Automate Schedule, jobs only run when a file has been created, and it runs immediately,” says Peter.

The original, time-based schedule also produced a lot of useless job logs. “Now our logs are much cleaner. It is easier to get meaningful, real information out of them.”

Why did Energy Solutions choose Automate Schedule? It came down to a value proposition: “Our current tool was a pea shooter, and some enterprise schedulers are machine guns. We needed a rifle,” says Peter. “We did a competitive search of three or four vendors, and Automate Schedule came in right at the sweet spot. You fit the price point and the price sensitivity of small to medium firms.”

Automate's technical support also influenced their decision. “It was very refreshing for us to reach somebody during business hours reasonably quickly,” says Peter. “The support has been professional, fast, and accurate. I see a steady stream of enhancements coming out.”

The Energy Solutions mission is about making a positive impact on the environment, the community, and the world. Automate Schedule helps them get there. Summarizes Peter, “It’s been time and money well spent.”

“I don’t know how to quantify the lack of headache, but there is certainly a time savings in not having to check each execution agent to figure out what did and did not run. The ability to centralize that in one place has been really, really valuable.”

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