The 5 Key Metrics to Improve Your Data Center Workflows

IBM i, Windows, UNIX, Linux, Mac OSX
March 20, 2017

Skybot Scheduler provides job scheduling metrics

You’re already managing thousands of workflows, batch jobs, and other background processes using the same staff and tools you’ve had for years, but business demands keep adding more to your plate. You know you need to optimize, improve visibility, and start justifying the cost of new resources before it’s too late.

Job Scheduling Metrics

The phrase "what gets measured gets managed" is one of the oldest business maxims around, yet companies often do a better job applying it to people than processes. While employees are held to strict sales quotas and quality control standards, the tools purchased to improve operational efficiency, such as job schedulers, are typically trusted to quietly deliver results behind the scenes.

Now that organizations are starting to regard IT infrastructure as a strategic asset, this type of "set and forget" attitude is no longer sufficient. Instead, companies must design and enforce metrics that provide the granular visibility required to assess baseline data center performance levels and gauge the impact of upgrades and corrections in real time.

Know Where You Stand

Performance issues have to be identified before they can be resolved. The speed and reliability of data integration, ETL, and other batch processes is directly tied to the degree of visibility administrators maintain over the environment. With the right array of reporting tools and processes in place, IT teams can eliminate guesswork and confirm or deny their diagnoses with objective, actionable data.

As operators and administrators will both attest, scheduling background processes for each application on each server is not only tedious, but lacks the visibility and control needed to understand and measure operational performance.

Without a centralized perspective on how workflows, tasks, and other IT and business processes are performing against historical standards, companies may misdiagnose problems and authorize wasteful, ineffectual upgrades as a result. Conversely, managers can establish accurate, informative baselines by using an enterprise job scheduler and diligently tracking the following metrics:

Background Processing Metric

What it Means

Why it’s Important

Total Jobs/Time Period

Shows you how many jobs are running within the time period you specify. Standard = 24 Hours

More jobs require more resources from the servers the job are running on. This metric helps you see trends that justify hardware upgrades.

Average Failure Rate

Shows you how many jobs on average fail over a specific time period/on a specific server/during a specific process.

A high average failure rate on a particular process may affect your Service Level Agreements.

Failures at specific times of the day or days of the week/month help with root-cause analysis.

Frequency/Duration of Delays

Measures how often jobs are delayed and when.

Service Level Agreements often require that jobs complete on time. Frequent delays may indicate that prerequisite jobs/files/server events aren’t completing in time.

You may need to look outside of your job scheduler to resolve the problem.

Job Run Time

Measures how long a job takes to run.

Run time may affect resource provisioning on the server.

If run times are trending upward, this may indicate a problem with the job or it may affect the running of dependent jobs.

Worst case scenario: Affects SLAs.

Server Uptime/Downtime Ratio

Provides a quick snapshot into the outages occurring on your production servers.

Downtime is one of the most important metrics for background processing.

Reducing downtime is the easiest way to increase efficiency.


Identify Areas for Improvement

If central monitoring reveals a consistent record of underwhelming performance in certain areas; administrators should have the objective justification they need to make upgrades. While business executives are all for investments that could empower employees with a faster and stronger IT infrastructure, the reality is they cannot simply take the intuition of one systems administrator as evidence.

By deploying best-in-class reporting tools and a centralized job scheduler, tech teams have a foolproof solution for not only spotting opportunities, but also clearly outlining the associated ROI path executives can expect.

Verify Progress

Once the requested fixes in place, the cycle begins anew. As processes change and new ones are added, relying on these metrics ensures your IT has the right tools to keep up with the demands of the business.

Choosing the Right Tool

Automate Schedule offers a fresh, simplified approach to modern job scheduling across multiple systems and applications. You can quickly build advanced schedules that integrate application-based processes such as Informatica PowerCenter workflows with other IT and business processes. With full auditing, reporting, and a dashboard, you’ll gain the measurable control and visibility you need to run your data loads, transfers, and reports as efficiently as possible. Download a free trial of Automate Schedule today.

Audit-proof Your Job Scheduler

Automate Schedule includes out-of-the-box reports to simplify audit requirements.

Preparing for an audit is never easy. The last thing you want to worry about is whether your job scheduler is tracking the right information for compliance, such as who created a new job or who:

  • Changed a job setup or commands
  • Forced a job to run outside its scheduled time
  • Added a new user
  • Increased user privileges

Even if you know what information your auditors need, gathering that data from multiple sources and presenting it in an acceptable format takes time and resources.

Most of the automated reports from your job scheduler help you optimize resources by providing insights into workflows—trouble spots or unnecessary lag time. But when the auditors arrive, audit reports get you home on time.

Enterprise Job Scheduling Software

Automate Schedule includes a built-in audit history and security report so that you can get information to your auditors quickly (and automatically) without having to gather it from multiple sources and then manipulate it into an acceptable format. Automate Schedule includes:

  • Security Reports list each of the users enrolled in your Automate Schedule and their role. It also lists the detailed access that each user has to all of the secured objects within Automate Schedule. This report can be scheduled periodically and emailed directly to your auditors or stored on one of your file servers for archiving.
  • Audit History records every change to the database, including time changes on a scheduled job or changing a parameter on the command line. Each time a job is created or deleted from the system, it is tracked so that you can have up-to-date information and quick access. Automate Schedule audits down to the field level, including all changes made to any of the Scheduling Objects within the product. You can even distribute these reports directly to the auditors with automated emails.
  • Job History gives you every detail about jobs, including the process date, if the job is set to be reactive to a specific event, if a user executed the job or if it was scheduled, and the job’s completion status.

If a job fails, the reason for the failure is listed in the detail record. This information helps you troubleshoot at the time of the occurrence and for reporting after the fact.

Job Scheduling and Regulatory Compliance

Automate Schedule collects information from all the servers in your enterprise, so you don’t have to go to each server or virtual machine and gather data. We wrote Automate Schedule knowing the audit requirements for regulations including SOX, PCI and HIPAA, to make sure that our customers could easily demonstrate their compliance with enterprise scheduling requirements.

All of the audit and history data is in our database and can be viewed online, as well as in report form. All of our reports also include commands with options such as:

  • Date ranges
  • Storage options for the spooled file
  • Email options

This makes it easy to schedule the audit reports that you need daily, weekly, or monthly and archive them so that they are available at audit time.

Check out Automate Schedule and its Audit Reports

Log into the live demo environment of Automate Schedule and see first-hand how security reports help you stay prepared for any audit. Let Automate Schedule handle the details, you’ve got more important things to do.

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