Linux on Power Systems and Automate Schedule: Why They Work Together

Windows, UNIX, Linux, AIX
March 31, 2017


Since 2001, Linux has become increasingly important to the computing world. In recent years, a growing concept is running Linux on Power Systems. Because more and more companies are adding Linux to their IT environments, IBM continues to invest heavily in improving the way Linux servers run on Power 7 or 8 technologies. Power 8, in particular, is very scalable, which gives customers the added benefit of maintaining less hardware.

IBM’s direction for Power servers running Linux is for customers to begin hosting their big data initiatives from Linux. The latest Power 8 server has been optimized for handling input/output (IO) to make it better able to handle lots of data coming across the network. IBM i can handle big data, business intelligence, and data warehousing; however, IBM’s applications for handling this big data are Linux-based applications, which makes Linux running on Power the ideal place from which to handle big data initiatives.

Because of the unique nature and position of Linux in the computing world, especially at the present moment, it’s important that new software can run on Linux as well as other operating systems to support the increasing complexity of organizations.

The Purpose of Platform-Independent Job Schedulers

HelpSystems has always had a strong partnership with IBM, and the Robot enterprise scheduling solution has been prominent in the IBM community and many industries for more than 30 years. With Robot as the foundation, HelpSystems built a platform-independent job scheduling solution—Automate Schedule—which means that it was built to run natively either on Linux, UNIX, or Windows. In fact, Automate Schedule was tested primarily on Linux, so it was a natural fit when IBM started promoting the idea of running Linux workloads on the Power server (the same environment in which you can run both IBM i and AIX).

What’s more, Automate Schedule was developed in Java, which is also platform-independent and works nicely on Linux servers. Automate Schedule runs from a central console with agents that run on Windows, UNIX, Linux, and IBM i, which gives you an enterprise scheduling solution that you can control from one spot. Therefore, for the customers within the IBM marketplace that are running Linux alongside their IBM i, Automate Schedule enables them to manage their systems and enterprise schedule from a Linux server running on Power 7 or 8 technology. This gives IBM customers the option to choose from where they want to run their enterprise schedule. Robot is the best solution for those customers who want to run their enterprise schedule from IBM i, whereas Automate Schedule is the best option for those customers who want to run their enterprise schedule from Linux running on Power Systems.

The Limitations of Linux Job Scheduling

Automate Schedule provides many advantages to the native Linux job scheduling options provided by cron. Crontab scheduling is a very basic way to handle job scheduling and it provides only date- and time-oriented job scheduling options. Cron scheduling is abbreviated and cryptic, which means that usually only system administrators can schedule the necessary production jobs. Finally, cron scheduling on Linux is system by system, which means that the administrator has to run scripts or code to take advantage of cron and run jobs across the network.

In order to meet current needs and scale to meet future scheduling needs, Automate Schedule provides event-driven scheduling options to build complex but flexible enterprise schedules across platforms, which brings customers beyond the basics of cron job scheduling that’s limited to Linux servers.

Job Scheduling and Regulatory Requirements

Not only does Automate Schedule help Linux-based shops to better automate and control multiple cron job schedules, but this central control from an enterprise job scheduler also helps firms better meet increasingly strict regulatory requirements, which can often be more important than even security. Most IT shops, no matter their size, are being audited for SOX and PCI compliance. Auditors want to know things like: who can run the critical batch? Who’s monitoring the production stream?  An enterprise scheduler—especially one with built-in audit history reporting and role-based security, like Automate—helps you to meet these changing regulatory requirements by giving you visibility into production job streams across your enterprise. Learn more about how an enterprise job scheduler helps you meet compliance regulations.

What’s more, organizations running Linux on Power Systems will have applications that require many jobs to run on a daily basis in the background. For example, both SAP and Oracle are Linux-based applications upon which many organizations rely to run important processes. Automate Schedule provides application integrations to ensure that your important application functions seamlessly become part of the production job stream.

Choosing Enterprise Job Scheduling

Linux job scheduling on Power Systems with Skybot
As organizations increasingly run their operations across multiple systems and applications, it becomes more difficult to maintain visibility into the daily operations of the entire organization. Automate Schedule enables you to meet those challenges—and manage your enterprise schedule from Linux—by allowing you to:

  • Incorporate multiple workflows into a single comprehensive schedule

  • Monitor job statuses from a central console

  • Maximize efficiency with reactivity and event-driven scheduling

  • Satisfy auditors with audit history reports

  • Maintain high availability with automatic agent switchover

Whether you’re running Linux on multiple partitions, running multiple operating systems on your Power Systems, or running production job streams across those partitions, Automate Schedule can help you manage your workflows on Power servers running Linux.

In the above video, watch Pat Cameron, Director of Automation Technology at HelpSystems, describe how Automate Schedule provides central management and monitoring for your cross-platform enterprise jobs. In the video, Pat navigates through Automate Schedule's interface and discusses what Automate Schedule brings to a shop running Linux on Power Systems:

  • The ability to schedule time-based or event-driven tasks across applications running on Power servers running Linux

  • Load balancing by putting your Linux partitions into a group and telling Automate on which partition to run a group of jobs—or to run a job on every partition

  • Monitoring for different occurrences, such as late starts, overruns, underruns, and notifying the team accordingly of these scheduling events—an option not available with basic Linux job scheduling

Ultimately, IBM’s increased support of Linux for Power Systems makes it clear that providing the customer with more options for how to manage their systems and network is the key goal of endorsing and supplying this new wave of technology. A robust enterprise job scheduler only continues to enhance the scale and strength of running Linux on Power.

Are you ready to try Automate Schedule on your Power servers running Linux? Start a free trial today to improve your enterprise job scheduling capabilities.

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